AintItCool.com Shows How NOT to Launch a Website Redesign

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If you’re a movie nerd like me, chances are you’ve visited Ain’t It Cool News on at least one occasion (or in my case, a few thousand occasions). It’s the leading source for entertainment news targeted at the “geek” crowd. It gets thousands of daily hits and has an Alexa Traffic Rank of 5,082.

In short, it’s a popular site.

And that’s why I was so surprised to see the site fail so miserably at launching a new design. Just this past week, AintItCool.com rolled out a new look for its website, and the results have been nothing short of disastrous.

Their homepage which displays news in a few different categories is all miscategorized and out of whack. The comments section is screwed up. There are all sorts of server issues. Content seems to disappear and reappear at random times.

To sum it up in internet geek terms: It’s a FAIL on every level. An EPIC FAIL, if you will.

So how could such a popular brand do such a terrible job at launching a new version of its site?

Apparently, they didn’t do a whole lot of testing before putting the new site up. In the site owner’s own words, it was a “hurried launch.” While I don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes at AintItCool.com, I can’t imagine why they’d hurry to launch their new website without taking the time to make sure it works the way it should.

Look, it’s understandable for there to be a few kinks here and there whenever you put up a new website. These things happen. But you can minimize the kinks by testing the site as much as possible before you put it live. And once it goes live and you notice the problems, you have to fix them as quickly as possible. You can’t expect visitors to idly sit by for days, waiting for it to be fixed.

There are lessons all of us can learn from AintItCool.com’s relaunch failures. It all boils down to paying attention to details, doing as much testing as possible, and correcting issues in a timely manner.

What tips would you offer to someone thinking about launching a website redesign?

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