It’s easy to put a project like a website redesign off for many reasons. But you shouldn’t — because your company’s site is often the first time a potential customer will gain exposure to your business. When redesigning your website, you must avoid the hazards that can affect SEO so you don’t lose search engine rankings and squander away years of your prior digital marketing investment. To ensure you do that, follow these best practices.
Benefits of a Website Redesign
Done right, a website redesign can offer significant benefits, including:
- improving brand perception
- improving the user experience
- improving search engine optimization (SEO) and site performance
- improving functionality and content management
- improving security with up-to-date features
Best Practices for Redesigning a Website Without Losing SEO
1. Complete a thorough content audit.
Take a look at all the pages on your site to determine if the pages are still relevant to your key services, what pages need more detail, and what should be removed or consolidated for the best representation of your service or product offerings. (*TIP: Use a free online tool, like ScreamingFrog, to compile your entire sitemap for you!
2. Analyze your menu navigation.
Can people intuitively navigate around your website? Are there important pages that are difficult to find? Some web experts claim that over 60 percent of users report leaving a site because they can’t easily find their way around — so make sure your page navigation is intuitive and well-organized.
3. Find and fix broken links.
Use a free tool like Moz’s Link Explorer to compile a complete list of website crawl errors, including broken links on your site. Fix the links or redirect them to an active page.
4. Optimize your highest priority pages.
Planning a website redesign is a content-first process. Not all pages and posts are winners, so identify and focus on optimizing your highest priority pages. If needed, make minor adjustments, such as updating outdated copy or tweaking some keyword placements or meta descriptions to see if that helps move the needle in search engines. Don’t waste too much time trying to get every page and post on your site to rank on page one in search. Trust us — there’s not enough time in the day.
5. Optimize page speed.
Business owners often overlook website speed, which is a costly oversight. If your site takes a long time to load, you risk visitors becoming impatient and looking elsewhere for what they need. Whether you choose to work with a professional or update your website yourself, optimizing your website speed is essential. To uncover performance insights to make your site as fast as possible, use a tool like GTMetrix to complete a site speed audit.
6. Test your site after the redesign is complete.
After a redesign, be sure to examine the content on your site for accuracy, grammar, spelling, and SEO. Review forms and pop-ups, look for broken links, and test your website on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. (*TIP: Use a free online tool like Responsinator to check for mobile responsiveness.) Compare your site engagement before and after your new website is launched to determine where to focus efforts on additional tweaks. For example, did a keyword you ranked for previously tank? You may want to consider restoring that related page or post how it was written or designed before.
If you prefer to work with a professional rather than redesign your website yourself, please feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to answer specific website questions that address your unique needs.