Website Redesign:  Unique Considerations

Website Redesign:  Unique Considerations

Posted by: Mark Fuqua

Website Redesign:  Unique Considerations

Planning for a Successful Website Redesign

When you're planning a new website or website redesign, there are many common considerations and a logical progression of steps which should be followed (for a quick preview, see items 3-10 in the image above). However, there are some considerations which are unique to the website redesign.

On the face of it, it may seem a redesign would be easier and simpler than starting from scratch, but it's actually just the opposite. You want your new site to generate more business, so this introduces two wrinkles: first, you need to determine what is and what is not, currently working and additionally, you need to create a plan to preserve any positive search related results (good page rankings) you currently have. Additionally, if anyone has old page addresses (URL’s) we don’t want them getting an error message when they click on a link in an old email or blog article.

Redesign Unique Consideration #1: Current Site Analytics

It is estimated, less than 10% of active websites (and less than 2% of all domains) are using Google Analytics, which is by far the most popular analytics program. If you are in the 90% who don’t use analytics for your website, this is the first thing you need to do…before you start on a redesign. Not only will this provide you with a baseline for judging the effectiveness of the new design, but will also allow you to create a plan to keep any good results your current site has.

Redesign Unique Consideration #2: 301 Redirects

After you map out your current strengths (incoming links, page rankings, landing pages and the like) it is important to incorporate these findings into your website redesign plan. Start with a simple spreadsheet listing all the current pages whose attributes you wish to preserve. Let’s title the spreadsheet ‘Pages To Redirect’.

As your new website starts to take shape, determine which of the new pages would best serve as substitutes for all the pages in your ‘Pages to Redirect’ spreadsheet. These old pages will remain on the server, but we will add some code to the header of these pages which will act as a permanent redirect.

301 Redirect

We will use 301 Redirects in the headers of the old pages to permanently redirect your visitors to the new page…this preserves all the rankings the old page had and passes them along to the new page.

This is what Google about 301 Redirects:

If you need to change the URL of a page as it is shown in search engine results, we recommended that you use a server-side 301 redirect. This is the best way to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page. The 301 status code means that a page has permanently moved to a new location.

No website visitors will ever see these old pages, but will be redirected to the new pages and all the attributes we were wishing to preserve (incoming links, positive page rankings and old visitors using old page URL’s) will be now attributed to the new page.

These are the two steps unique to website redesigns. All the other steps necessary to ensure success of your website redesign are the same as with a brand new site. These can be seen in the image at the top of this article.