Choosing to redesign your website is a major decision, and it’s not one to be made lightly. A redesign can help your growing business, improve your search engine rankings, and relaunch your branding successfully. But without proper planning and expertise, a number of common mistakes can be made during the process.
These common website redesign mistakes can make your site’s user experience disorienting and unhelpful, which in turn will hurt your SEO. Avoid them at all costs!
Deleting, Not Redirecting
It’s necessary that during a redesign, some pages will be moved, renamed, or no longer necessary. The instinct would be to delete them or change the URLs and move on with the work, but this is a big mistake. If the SEO on those pages is strong and they rank really well, you’ll lose all the value they’re bringing to your site. If there are inbound links going to those pages, your visitor will only see a 404 page, creating a negative user experience.
These will severely hurt your website’s Google ranking, so it’s important to be careful about your rearrangements. This is where the 301 or permanent redirect comes in. If you’re redirecting an old page or an old URL, the 301 redirect tells search engines that the old page has been permanently moved to a new location.
When using redirects, you have to make sure that the 301 redirect is going to the right place, or that you haven’t used temporary or 302 redirects. Again, these are important to the overall experience of your website, because the more helpful you are, the higher Google will rank you!
Forgetting The Benchmarks
A website redesign has to come from a knowledgeable position, and the metrics that make up your position are based on the performance of your older website. These numbers will help you set benchmarks for the analytics of your new site, allowing you to gauge the success or failure of the different parts of your redesign.
So before you take on the redesign, record the metrics you want to weigh against the new site. Some good benchmarks include conversion rates, total traffic, the average time spent on your site, banner click-through rates, pages getting organic traffic, and inbound links from other sites. These types of statistics will help you retain the value you’ve accrued on your current site.
Not Having A Plan
If you’ve forgotten to keep benchmark statistics, there’s a good chance you’re redesigning without a plan. This is one of the biggest mistakes in a redesign, and it can hurt your new presence. You’re clearly redesigning the site for a reason – what is it? Do you want to generate more conversions or sales? Do you want to increase your leads and web traffic? Articulate the meaning of your benchmarks, know the goals and objectives of your “new” site and do all the work with these in mind.
There’s another reason moving, changing, and redirecting all require a plan. If you don’t have one, you can easily forget what you’ve renamed or deemed unnecessary, which will confuse your inbound links and wreck your SEO. A content map for your current site will help you avoid these problems, so make one before you change anything and follow it closely through the redesign! Contact us if you have any questions about these common mistakes.