The Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Redesigning Your Website
If you're like most people there will come a time when you want to redesign your site.
Maybe you just threw up a basic site in the beginning and it's now time to deliver something special to your readers. There could be thousands of reasons why you would want to change your site and none of them are important.
The only thing that matters is that you do everything the right way, especially if your website is making good money because you don't want to throw it all away.
Some people try to make big changes and they don't like the outcome, but you don't want to let that happen to you. It's crucial that your redesign goes as smoothly as possible because it will make everything so much easier.
We can look at some of the things you need to keep in mind. If you get them right your website will be an even bigger success than it is at the moment.
1. Don't kill your money makers
Think very carefully about how you make money.
- If some people find your product on a certain page and you move it you might lose some income.
- If everything you make comes from your email list and your redesign means 50% less people sign up, you've literally just threw away half your income.
Be smart when you touch anything that is bringing in money, careful planning will help you out more than anything else.
2. Losing all your SEO link juice
A lot of people decide to move everything over to a new domain name when they decide to rebrand the site.
Your new design might look super, but you have just lost every single one of your backlinks.
You will obviously have to use a 301 redirect to make sure your old domain points to the new one. If you decide to take away any specific pages on your current domain you also have to be careful that you don't throw away good link juice.
3. Scaring away your loyal readers
Do you know your readers inside out? If you don't, then ask yourself why you want to make any changes at the moment. Do you think it would be better waiting until you know what they want your site to look like? You might revamp the design and within a few days your traffic will drop because you've successfully scared your loyal readers away.
It's always a good idea to survey people before you make any big changes.
4. Not double checking everything
Once you've successfully designed the new site you want to test everything to make sure there are no obvious mistakes.
If you're not a competent designer you are probably using WordPress, so build the entire site on a new domain or a sub domain and hide it from the search engines. Once you know it's perfect you can always transfer it over. Because your new website is still running alongside your old one, you can ask a few friends to play on the new site so they can look for faults.
5. Ignoring your mobile users
You might not have a mobile site at the moment, but one look at your analytics will tell you how many people are looking at your site from a mobile device.
When you redesign the site you should seriously consider making it responsive because it could actually earn you money. If someone on an iPad can't buy your product it's a wasted sale.
You're lucky because most decent WordPress themes will be responsive anyway, but you can check to make sure.
Ralf Skirr's comment: While this article is written for web site owners, it's also interesting for web agencies and consultants.
I have seen more than one failed web site relaunch by so-called 'experts' who messed up Google rankings.
If you're doing agency work and site relaunches for your clients, it will help you a lot to create a basic checklist for all important steps of a redesign project. It's a time saver and helps you delivering your best work to your clients. The 5 points mentioned by Todd definetely belong on this list!