We can all see that digital marketing is evolving at an ever increasing pace – a website that looked fresh just a couple of years ago, now looks old and outdated.
A redesign can be the answer but here is where you must balance form and function. A gorgeous looking new site can also wipe out all your hard earned site traffic.
Here are 10 top tips from searchenginewatch.com together with some of my suggestions, if you are considering a design update of your website;
- Don’t just use designers. Get a team together that includes a search specialist, a customer specialist, a developer and someone who can bring the whole project together and keep it on track. A fresh look and functionality with SEO in mind is always the best solution.
- Google loves speed. Use the redesign as an opportunity to re-code and condense. As well as upsetting Google, a slow site annoys users.
- Don’t delete or duplicate. Build your new site away from the eyes of the search engines and employ permanent redirects (called 301’s) for your old pages/URLs
- Don’t let Google see what it shouldn’t. Identify which pages shouldn’t be checked by the search engines e.g. login pages
- Tracking. Ensure your Google Analytics code is in your new site before it goes live
- Check the flow. Is the content hierarchy still relevant? If not simplify through a good folder structure
- Page URL’s. Relevant, keyword-rich text in page names without the filename extensions is the way forward. Don’t forget the 301’s from your old URL though!
- W3C/Section 508/Code Validation. Safe to say you should ensure your new site adheres to these compliance requirements. Raise the question during the early planning stages.
- Usability. Aim to shorten the number of clicks/steps a visitors needs to make to reach a goal or purchase
- Benchmark your old site. It might look better but without some comparative measures and statistics versus your old site you won’t be able to make improvements or indeed prove it was all worthwhile.
Avoid the mistakes and make the best of the opportunities a redesign presents and you should end up with a better looking site that also performs better!