If you haven’t yet redesigned your site, the information above may have you second-guessing whether it’s really worth it. But if your site is outdated, a redesign can certainly have a positive impact – you just need to be sure to take the following steps:
1. Make SEO part of the process
Make sure that your redesign team regularly consults an SEO strategist throughout the process. Although your design agency may have experts in design and development, the perspective of an experienced SEO will help you avoid serious issues that result in traffic loss.
They may also be able to advise changes that will help your traffic levels improve after the redesign, and make the process even more worthwhile for your business.
2. Crawl your existing site and plan your new site architecture
Before making any changes, you should first take an inventory of every page currently on your site. There are many free tools online that will help you do this and provide your results in a downloadable spreadsheet.
This will help you make sure that all of the valuable information currently on your site has a place on the redesigned version, and you can also use it to build out a new site architecture, if necessary.
In some cases, your URLs and general structure can remain the same. But if your current URLs aren’t set up in a logical way (ex. With relevant subfolders and appropriate page titles), a redesign is the perfect opportunity to fix this issue.
3. Set up 301 redirects
As we mentioned above, not having proper redirects in place is the most common cause for traffic loss. If your URLs have changed at all, you’ll need to set them up before launching your new site.
You should also make sure that each one is set up as a 301 (permanent) redirect, as this tells search engine crawlers that the page has permanently moved. Using 302 (temporary) redirects is a common error, but one that can harm your rankings.
4. Create a new sitemap
Before launching your site, you should also create a new sitemap that includes all of the most important pages on your site. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t include more than 100 pages – so if your site is huge, your sitemap may be more of a general overview than a comprehensive listing.
5. Make sure your analytics tracking code is in place
Finally, before your launch, double check that your analytics tracking code is in place on your new site. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s a common oversight – and one that can lead you to believe that you’ve lost all of your traffic.
Simply making sure that the code is implemented in your header or footer can save you that stress, and will also allow you to monitor your traffic during every step of the way.
Did your site lose traffic after a redesign?
Traffic drops after a redesign are a stressful, but unfortunately common issue. If your business experienced this – either as a result of one of the issues above, or something entirely different – let us know in the comments below!