Website Redesign Mistakes That Can Cripple Your SEO Strategy
Why Redesign a Website?
My clients often ask – “When’s the right time to redesign a website?”
To which I always respond – “When there’s clear room for improvement.”
Contrary to popular belief, basing your website modifications and improvements on simple timeframes really isn’t the way to go. Just as one website that’s been running for five years could still be performing like a dream, another site launched just a month ago could be crashing and burning.
As a result, it’s up to you to determine when, where, and to what extent your site needs to be improved. Nevertheless, there are certain common motivations for redesigning a website, which includes the following:
- You want to create a better user experience for your visitors
- Your website simply isn’t working well in its current form
- You’re not providing an adequate experience for mobile visitors
- Your website isn’t aligned with your current branding strategy
- You’ve noted significant performance or security issues
- You’re falling behind the competition in SEO stakes
- Your website looks and feels outdated
- You’re unhappy with your current conversion rates
- You’ve decided to take your business in a different direction
Realistically, your own justification for redesigning your website can incorporate some, all, or none of the above. Irrespective of motivation, a website redesign could breathe new life into your business and deliver long-term gains.
The Website Redesign Process
Of course, there’s a difference between committing yourself to a redesign project and actually going about it. The latter typically being a somewhat daunting prospect. If you lack the experience and expertise necessary to conduct the update yourself, you’ll need to enlist professional support.
As for the process itself, the typical website redesign process takes place over a series of component stages as follows:
Current Website Review
Taking a detailed look at your current website is important, in order to identify what you like, what you dislike, what’s working, and what could stand to be improved.
Detailed Competitor Analysis
It’s then a case of considering how your competitors are performing, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and any opportunities you could be capitalizing on.
Define Your Audience
Put yourself in the position of a fiction writer – how would you describe your perfect customer? The more detail you go into, the better the position you’ll be in to target them effectively.
Consider New Resources, Features, User Experience
Along with revamping your website’s current features and functionalities, what additional features and resources could be added to improve its appeal and performance? What can you do to make your site more accessible?
Study Analytical Data
In conjunction with your own thoughts and opinions, studying analytical data will help you determine what’s worked well with your existing website and what could be hindering its performance.
Establish Clear Objectives
At the earliest possible stage, you’ll need to establish exactly what you expect to get out of your new website. Are you looking to generate more leads? Pull in more traffic? Boost conversion rates?
Set a Budget and Timeline
You’ll also need to think carefully about how much you can afford to spend, along with how quickly or otherwise the project needs to be completed. Don’t underestimate the potential costs and consequences of lengthy downtime.
Factor in Your Marketing Strategy
From start to finish, your website redesign project needs to be orchestrated in a manner that fulfills the objectives of your marketing strategy. SEO being a particularly important point of focus.
The Approximate Cost of Redesigning a Website
Typical costs associated with redesigning a website simply don’t exist. It’s another question I encounter on a near-daily basis, but also a question I’m unable to answer. If you want to modify just a few basic elements of your website, you can do so for USD 200 – USD 500. If you want to transform your current site into the most spectacular and complicated website on earth, you could easily spend more than USD 50,000.
In any case, cutting corners on the single most important marketing tool you have really isn’t the way to go. Hence, the importance of setting a budget at the earliest possible stage and determining how much you can afford to spend.
Website Redesign SEO Errors to Avoid
In theory, porting your existing website and its content to a new home shouldn’t have a negative impact on its SEO clout in the long run. If anything, it should take your SEO strategy to the next level. Nevertheless, there are various common errors made along the way that can have a detrimental effect on a website’s SERP performance.
So whether planning a redesign or in the midst of redesigning your website, be mindful of the following mistakes you’ll want to avoid:
Not optimizing on-page elements
Always remember that most of the fabulously fancy visuals you add to your shiny-new website will technically be invisible to Google’s crawlers. In the wise words of Google’s official webmaster guidelines: “Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained within images.” It’s one thing to make your new site look the part, but you also need to ensure its pages can be crawled and indexed accordingly.
Not transferring your SEO content
Even if you’ve decided to go for a fresh start, you’ll still want to ensure you port your SEO content over to the new site…all of it. Blog posts, articles, general informative resources, and so on – every last word of content that could support your SEO profile. Feel free to leave anything you’re not happy with out of the equation, but be sure to transfer the rest.
Forgetting about mobile visitors
Or if not forgetting, not showing them sufficient priority. Don’t let it slip your mind that the average consumer now spends approximately 70% of their time online at the helm of a mobile device. Something Google knows and acknowledges, demonstrating a preference to websites that do the business for mobile audiences. If your new website isn’t consummately mobile-friendly, your SEO performance will suffer.
Compromising page loading times
The more complex and feature-rich the website, the more difficult it becomes to guarantee the fastest possible loading times. Hence, you need to balance visual prowess with functionality and performance. Intensive optimization of your website’s coding and general key texture can ensure it delivers a smooth and seamless experience, irrespective of how ‘heavy’ it may be. Nevertheless, this will almost certainly call for expert developer support.
Going OTT with pop-up ads
Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that Google is one of the many leading names to take an active stance against the use of pop-ups. It, therefore, stands to reason that the more pop-ups you throw at your visitors, the less likely you are to appear prominently in the SERP rankings. In any case, Pop-ups have little to no effect on 21st-century audiences – unless your goal is to drive them the way of your competitors.
Author: Giulia, UX/UI Designer, Sondora Marketing