First, a disclaimer.
I’m NOT a political junkie. I don’t watch CNN or any of the other news channels.
I’m registered as an Independent and vote for the candidate I like the best – regardless of the party. Period. If I had to some it up, I’m socially Liberal and fiscally Conservative.
With that being said… the US Government rolled out their HealthCare.gov site a few weeks ago – and they are giving you a blueprint of what NOT to do during a launch.
The site is slow. It’s frequently down. And times-out before most people can even register.
And the cost… only about $174 MILLION!!! (no, that’s not a typing error – it’s at least that much).
You would think with all of the bragging rights that come along with designing a site for the US Government, they would have had the best firms on the planet competing for the job… and some would have probably done it for free!
Again, I have come to expect this type of nonsense from the Government, but this one hit so close to home because it’s the sandbox where I play. And this disaster has gotten me really agitated.
**Disclaimer. Yes, I know it is a very complex site tapping into massive databases like Social Security, but…..
I could have sworn I saw a $7 WSO plug-in that can fix the errors (and for just $9 more – you could install this plugin on any site!!!). I believe it was called the Super-Stealth Ninja, Profit-Crushing, Rockstar, HealthCare.Gov Mega Database-Fixing Killer Plug-In.
In fact, the 23-year old guy who created the plugin had a picture of himself in front of a shiny new red car – so he must know his stuff, right?
HOW TO LAUNCH A NEW SITE (*NOT* LIKE THE GOVT)
If you plan on launching a new web site – there are some lessons you can learn from the disaster that is HealthCare.gov:
#1. Never spend $174 million dollars on one web site (I don’t care how complex the databases are). Even if you get a big influx of cash from a VC – be smart with your money. If I was going to invest my $174 million in a new venture, I’d put maybe $100K on a kick-ass site and the rest of the $173,900,000 on marketing!
#2. If you are doing a big launch – then don’t be surprised if you get a lot of traffic. President Obama said “we expect millions to signup” and then they were surprised when millions of people went to their web site. Last I checked.. Google and Facebook can handle millions of visitors a day. In other words, be ready.
#3. Test your site. Re-test. And re-test again.
#4. If it’s NOT ready, then don’t launch it. (read rule #5 to see why)
#5. If there is one bug (even a small one) and you roll it out on a launch – that small bug is multiplied by a factor of 1,000. I should know, I made this mistake a few years ago and it nearly ruined the good reputation I’ve been building for over 10 years.
#6. If you screw up, immediately take 100% responsibility. And find a way to make it up to your disappointed customers.
#7. Always follow the first rule of web design and make it EASY for people to signup. Remove bells and whistles and create a path of zero resistance.
#8. And finally, NEVER, EVER spend $174 million on a web site! (did I repeat myself?). I know a guy on odesk that could have done it for about $5k.
There you go… eight simple lessons for launching a new site the right way. In other words – the opposite of the Government.
DO YOU AGREE? DISAGREE?
ARE YOU REALLY ANGRY TOO?