All websites need to be redesigned eventually merely to keep up with the mercurial digital landscape. Redesigns often bring with them a loss of traffic and revenue, but thankfully, that is easily preventable with some know-how. When done correctly, a website overhaul can not only prevent dips in traffic but also bring more views to your site. The following five tips will help you successfully redesign your website.
1. Think Ahead
Like many significant undertakings, the key to success is preparation. Before starting on your new design, look at your old one. Review the analytics and customer feedback and take note of what worked and what didn’t work regarding achieving your aims. Create a plan that you can refer back to keep the redesign focused and consistent.
Start thinking about SEO at an early stage so that you can incorporate it into the core plan of the website. The efficacy of a website’s SEO increases when it’s thoroughly thought out and implemented in the embryonic stages of redesign.
Your site’s structure is more integral to its search engine rankings than you may realize. Websites like Google and Bing will find it difficult to list your site if the sitemap differs from the one previously known to them so make sure you submit a new one to all the relevant search consoles.
Ensure the number of internal links your website has is equal to, or more than, before the redesign as Google uses that number to calculate where in their listings you feature. Small considerations regarding your sitemap and structure take minimal effort to do when redesigning a whole website but are much harder to implement after the fact.
One of the leading causes of traffic drops in newly redesigned websites is an improperly redirected URL. Check and double check all of your redirects to ensure they go to the right place. The user experience is negatively affected by incorrect redirects and users will be quickly turned off your site if they don’t work as they should.
More specifically, use permanent 301 redirects rather than 302s to preserve your website’s search engine ranking. With proper redirects in place, you massively improve your chances of avoiding any long lasting drops in traffic post-redesign.
Your website’s copy is its smiling face to the world. Great material can hugely enhance the user’s experience, encourage them to visit specific pages, and leave them with their overall impression of your company or enterprise. Good copy is important.
If possible, hire a professional with plenty of experience and talent. Show the copywriter the plan you made earlier and brief them thoroughly on your aims and intentions for the new design. Tell the copywriter the keywords you wish to target and trust their opinions. The right copywriter can save a poorly designed website and boost traffic massively.
5. Knowledge is Power
To know what impact your redesign has had on your traffic levels, you must ensure you have access to as much information as possible. The most basic way to ensure you can analyze your traffic levels is to remember to put the analytics coding into the footer or header. Many panic attacks have been induced merely by forgetting to write in the analytics code so save yourself the bother and make a note of it.
If the information you’ve gathered from a search engine seems off, read up on how they’ve measured their data. The big search engines are liable to change their calculations subtly; unless you’re aware of the change, it may give the impression of a significant change in your traffic levels when it’s something entirely more innocent.
The vast majority of websites experience some drop in traffic after a major redesign so there’s no need to be alarmed. Keep a close eye on your analytics and act swiftly if the drop is larger than expected or lasts for longer than a few days. By taking a measured and forward-thinking approach, your website will be more lucrative and prosperous than ever.