The Challenges of a Product Rollout
Normally our first task is to decide which hosting platform to use for a new site. This ended up being the easiest part of the process. We'd be using our new product to host and build the site. There is no better way to sell our solution than to be a client ourselves! (On a side and for full disclosure, this site is built using Drupal as we also specialize in Drupal development as well.)
A lot of time and research went into the overall design and content structure of our site even before we began building the site. We also had this great CMS, but we had up until this point never named it. After some time of brain storming, we settled on the name WEBPAD which is an acronym for 6 of the major components of the CMS (Web hosting, Email marketing, Building, Payments, Analytics, and Database.) A logo was designed that features a pencil and a pad of paper featuring a sketched out layout of a website. We felt this represented the ease of which sites could be laid out and designed with WEBPAD.
Once the branding was established, we began the process for laying out the website. After pinning down the copy we wanted to use on the site, we started the process of "gray boxing" to arrange the layout. A rough layout was constructed with HTML and CSS so that site building could commence within WEBPAD itself. For the most part, during the course of development, we were able to stick with our original concept and layout, however, we did revise some of the finishing copy and graphical touches in the header in particular. We can be our own worst critic when it comes to the details so if there one criticism I have about the development of this product launch is not knowing when to say "let's move on".
After years of using Drupal, one of the many advantages I found developing our product site with WEBPAD is that more work could be accomplished in less time with less team members. This allowed key team members to work on important client work while we were able to continue to develop our product site.
Another large hurdle that at first seemed like a small just was that of our department website, vnetlabs.com. I needed to be updated to reflect our new offerings as well as a number of other details that needed tended to that were pushed aside as we ramped up development and training on WEBPAD. We felt that this was an important part of the launch of WEBPAD as we wanted our traffic coming into vnetlabs.com to be made aware of WEPAD as well as some of our other services. Unfortunately this added a few weeks to our launch window but ultimately it was time well spent. We'll be doing more for this site as the weeks push on.
Finally, as we are kicking off WEBPAD to the masses, we needed to build a few advertisements to place on our Residential and Business Internet Services site, Velocity.net. A Flash banner describing the basic features of of WEBPAD was designed along with a call to action to get people there to try it out.
We are excited to see how our customers and future customers respond to WEBPAD and we look forward to rolling out our next product or service soon!