July 08, 2016
Ensure your new site and its content and functionality are aligned with business goals.
By Maureen McCabe
A website redesign is an extensive process, with more steps than you might imagine. With so many decisions to make, from the overall layout and design to the content, it can be easy to overlook many variables.
Even when all the technical specifications are worked out, the user interface is incredibly important. No matter how professional your website looks, if it is not user friendly you won’t be seeing the page views and potential leads you need. When working on a website redesign, ensure you consider the following:
One of the most important things for a website to be is responsive, meaning it is easy to read, sized correctly and responds properly to users regardless of which type of device they’re using to access it. The overwhelming majority of North Americans own either a smartphone, tablet or both and may come across your website on one of these devices, so it’s important that the website is mobile friendly. This is especially important in business-to-consumer industries where customers are searching locally and want to access your products or services immediately.
2. Monitor Traffic
One of the key goals of a website redesign will of course be to attract more viewers, it’s important to monitor your traffic to ensure this happens. Traffic should be on a constant increase as the website begins to be indexed and linked to, and you will be able to recognize if something is wrong.
3. 301 Redirects
Make sure you use 301 redirects on any pages on your old site to their new equivalent, otherwise your rankings will be adversely impacted because Google has indexed pages on your old site. Sending viewers to 404 Not Found pages over and over again will signal to Google that something is considerably wrong, and this can hurt your rankings.
4. Update Analytics
It is incredibly important that you update Google Analytics to reflect the new website, not your former one, otherwise you won’t be able to monitor incoming traffic. If the option is available, simply moving the GA code from the old website to the new one will be a quick solution, otherwise you will have to connect analytics all over again. Without doing so, you will be left without important information that reflects the state of your website.
5. Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and URLs
Title tags, meta descriptions and URLs are all key elements of search engine optimization and overall user experience. You need to ensure that title tags and meta descriptions include the you want Google to rank you for.
Similarly, URL structures should be straightforward, and include the keywords that you want visitors to see. It’s far more beneficial for SEO and user clarity to have your URL read such as .ca/how-to-get-your-website-on-google instead of a combination of randomized numbers and letters.
SSL, known as a Secure Sockets Layer, is an industry standard security technology that is used to establish an encrypted link between a user and the website. This protects all of the data exchanged between the user and the site, which is especially important if you are an ecommerce site protecting sensitive customer information. In all cases, it’s a must-have – don’t go live on your new site without one!
7. Webmaster Tools (Google Console)
If you don’t have it, set it up now. Google Search Console is essential for getting the tools, data and diagnostics you need to ensure your website is Google-friendly. When you’ve added your website, you can analyze click data, be alerted about critical errors and test whether Google can read the content on your pages.
When undergoing a website redesign, it’s important to look at all angles of the process. It’s not enough to be just technically flawless if it means a lack of user-friendliness and vice-versa. If you’re looking into a website redesign and want it done right the first time, contact us today and let us help you!
Learn how to improve your website’s ranking, check out these posts.
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