How MVP website development can hurt new blogs

Some successful marketing gurus advocate using a MVP website development approach to web development and blogging.

I understand the reasoning but here today I will explain why I believe Minimum Value Product (MVP) can actually hurt you more than help you when you are building a new website.

In this article I will briefly touch on the MVP concept. I will also list some of the often listed  key benefits of MVP and agile development.

And then, when you understand the concept, I will explain why I do not believe it is a good and workable approach when starting an informational blog or website.

What is MVP Website development?

MVP website development is built around the concept of Start-ups using a Minimum Viable Product to get to market fast. Launching fast has the advantage of involving customers early on in the product development cycle.

An example would be a startup that markets a version of the finished product that is functional but lacks many of the planned features. As feedback is received on the MVP version of the product, valuable information that will shape the next version of the product is collected.

For you as a website owner it would mean publishing articles and posts that are “good enough”.

Customers and search engines would then interact with your article. And based on this interaction you would further develop and improve the article. Or maybe even choose a new direction for future articles.

The process is referred to as Iteration and is used in agile software development but also for product development where different versions can be launched simultaneously to learn what the market responds to.

And it makes sense. No need to guess or collect and analyse historical data. Instead you can launch and improve your website and articles as you move along.

Sounds great, right? 

Unfortunately it is not always quite that simple.

the Advantages with the MVP approach

First, let’s look closer at 3 often cited advantages with MVP website development 

After all, the process of MVP website development makes a lot of sense when you look at it in theory.

The advantages seem obvious. 

1. MVP can save you time 

Running an informational website you are most likely trying to rank your articles in the search engines. You are not planning to – at least initially – spend money on advertising. 

Whereas you may not be able to save money, MVP could save you time.

No need to spend hours or even days writing content that nobody will read. Instead you write a “good enough” article and then wait for direct and indirect feedback from search engines and visitors.

  • Do the search engines index your article?
  • Will the article rank when indexed?
  • Are visitors engaging with your article?

And as the feedback comes in you can adapt and improve.

2. Visitor centric development using MVP 

When you operate an informational website or blog you are writing and publishing for two different audiences.

You need to cater to the needs of your visitors as well as the search engines. And these are two completely different audiences. But one is more important than the other.

The most important audience is of course your visitors. 

If you fail to engage your visitors you will never rank well in the search engines for any period of time.

You can find articles that rank well in the search engines that offer little to no value. 

Why? Because sometimes search engines get it wrong. An example would be an authoritative website that will rank for a keyword due to the strength and authority of the overall domain – not the article.

This type of mismatch is always an opportunity for you. You can outrank an authority website with a much higher domain strength than you if their article is weak.

But search engines learn from user behaviour and the system will self correct.

And this is why visitors are your most important audience. You must always provide value in line with user intent.

The search engines are also important. But here you only need to make sure that you clearly communicate the value of your website. If you do, the search engines can index you correctly.

MVP can give you feedback from visitors early and this would be extremely helpful in improving your articles and website in general.

3. MVP website development supports scalability 

When you know what your audiences want you can more easily satisfy their needs.

MVP website development allows you to see what works and what doesn’t.

And this process will allow you to focus your energy on the types of content that work and then scale your content production to meet those needs.

Very efficient and in theory guaranteed to keep you focused on doing the right things.

Why MVP website development does not work for new websites

MVP website development sounds great in theory. But it is when you try to put it into practice that it becomes obvious that it is counter productive for informational websites.

I will list 3 reasons why I firmly believe that MVP website development can in fact hurt your chances to be successful if you are starting an informational website or blog.

1. You only get one chance to make a first impression

When you launch your blog or website you are completely unknown. You have no visitors and search engines are yet to index and rank your posts and articles.

The MVP approach suggests publishing materials that are not in their final version but “good enough”.

Do you really want to miss the opportunity to put your best foot forward when visitors and search engines first get to know about your website?

As the headline suggests you only get one chance to make a first impression and why not publish posts, articles and materials that are representative of your best work.

Surely you want both visitors and search engines to recognise that you are an expert in your niche from day 1. 

I am not suggesting that you should spend days procrastinating over every single word and sentence. But surely you should aim to provide the best value possible from day 1.

You will still be able to improve your content as your website grows. You will of course grow as a writer and expert in your niche as you become more experienced.  

This new knowledge needs to be shared to make your published work even stronger. But not because you did not try to be useful from day 1.

2. MVP requires Visitor data to be useful

It is possible to see visitors on your website from day 1 if you are prepared to spend money on advertising. 

But if you are relying on search engines to deliver visitors you will need to be patient. Launching your website does not mean you will automatically have visitors from day 1.

In fact, most website owners need to wait 6 – 9 months to see traffic from the search engines. Some have to wait even longer whereas others claim to see success faster.

But for most of us it takes time to build an audience and get the trust of the search engines. 

So what data will you look at when you first start if you plan to apply the MVP process to your website development?

And do you really want “good enough” content to be published if you have to wait for a minimum of 6 months to see results? And what level is “good enough”? 

Publish the best content you can produce and then publish and move on. Revisit your articles every 2-3 months and improve your content where possible.

But do not settle for publishing “good enough”.

3. Keyword and niche research replaces MVP 

MVP is meant to show us what our customers want from us and where we are actually able to compete.

If you think about it. Have you not heard those words before? Of course you have.

When you built your website you spent time finding your niche and performing keyword research to find keyword phrases where you can compete.

When you plan and build your website you perform keyword and niche research to find a suitable place in the market. In many ways this research serves as a competitor SWOT analysis to make sure you are entering a niche where you will be able to compete.

And even with a new website you have access to a lot of data to research and analyse. And there are even free tools that will provide the data you need. 

Why would you spend money on advertising to be able to use MVP website development when a similar process can be performed before launch for free?

Summary and conclusion:

MVP website development is not a practical approach for new websites.

As new website owners we do not have the funds to buy advertising and with no visitors and no search engine rankings it is hard to learn “what works”. 

It makes more sense to do your research before you launch your website. Thorough niche selection and keyword research will help you find a segment where you can compete.

And when you have found that niche that ticks all the boxes it is all about publishing great and unique content.

Do not miss the opportunity to make a great first impression to your first visitors and search engines alike.

Meet the author: Serial entrepreneur and travel industry expert with more than 20 years working experience from web development, Wordpress and the travel industry. Mattias is a big fan of Open Source and will show you how to build and manage a website using Wordpress and a bit of optional PHP for the true enthusiast. Mattias identifies with self-starters and entrepreneurs and also shares ideas on how to monetize a website.