In the past, SEO and web design were two separate elements of an online business. As the market evolved, however, both aspects have overlapped, leading business owners to conduct a website redesign to align themselves with today’s standard.
If you’re one of those people who wish to rebuild their site, then you should consider several factors before you even start the transformation. Website redesign, at its core, is the elimination of pain points that were present in the previous version of the site.
A user’s experience should be one of the main foundations of this approach as it will determine whether or not your new site will bomb or skyrocket. So how do you make sure that your website redesign is following all the necessary steps that the big players are using?
SEO Checklist for Your Website Redesign Project
Here are seven elements that you should remember when implementing a site transformation.
1. Plan It Out
Always have a clear objective when you are going to try your website redesign. What is your overall goal for this transformation? Are you trying to find leads for your sales team?
If yes, then one of your focus should be creating high-quality content in your niche. Always consider what your audiences are searching for, the words they’re using, and the phrases that they type in the search bar.
You can use HubSpot’s Content Strategy tool to analyze which topics to pursue. Moreover, familiarize yourself with Google’s BERT or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers if you haven’t already.
2. Conduct In-Depth Interviews
Since one of your goals is to make sure that your visitors will return to your site, take the time to conduct interviews on your target audience. Customer insights are valuable data for any web redesign as it helps marketers see the world through their audience’s perspective.
If your website redesign is geared towards increasing your sales, ask your customers how they navigate through a site to complete a transaction, which starts with entering the site and ends when a purchase has been made.
Watch out for pain points that the customer might bring up and other obstacles that contributed to why they didn’t complete a purchase. You can then tailor your site based on the information acquired and the navigation needed to make the transaction as smooth as possible. Sites like Adorama Rentals, for example, have clear categories for customers to choose from, along with images of the products and the company’s contact details. It also has straightforward rental service processes, making it easy for customers to complete a transaction from the site.
3. Choosing the Right CMS
Choosing the right content managing system is a crucial part of any SEO strategy. Unfortunately, the web is saturated with hundreds of suggestions about which is the best CMS out there.
To narrow your search, you only need to consider specific factors about a CMS. Page templates, H1 tags, page titles, meta descriptions, add-ons, and few others are just some of the aspects that should be deeply considered when choosing the right CMS.
A great CMS is one that can deliver a fluid experience regardless of what device the customer is using. It should also boost the load speed of your site. Nothing is more frustrating to visitors when they click your content and your site isn’t loading fast enough. As a rule, your site should display content less than one second after a visitor clicks your page to decrease your bounce rate.
4. Site Loading Page
While the CMS can indeed contribute to a site loading faster, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. The largest piece, however, falls on the shoulder of images. Images contribute heavily to how fast a page loads. That’s why successful websites use tools like Picturefill or Adaptive Images to save bandwidth. Using other image formats like JPeg XR and WebP will also decrease an image’s weight by up to 50% without its quality taking a hit.
5. 404 Page
404 page simply means that the visitor reached a dead end on your site due to a broken link, or the page no longer exists. In a perfect virtual world, there should be no 404 pages on a site.
But given that visitors themselves can cause a 404 page – inputting the incorrect URL, for instance – you have to plan what sort of design visitors will see on your site when they encounter a dead end.
Creativity will play a huge part in this. Image-sharing site Imgur has a great 404 page as it’s creative, informs the user they’ve reached a cul-de-sac, and is interactive to boot.
Placing a search bar in the middle of your 404 pages will also let visitors find what they’re looking for instead of leaving the site. What’s more, placing relevant links on the 404 page will allow visitors to jump from a dead-end to a page that has relevant content.
6. Ease of Social Sharing
People are consuming content more and more as the smartphone market continues to spread across the globe. And if you’re producing great content for your audience, chances are they want to share that with their friends and acquaintances.
As such, your content should be easily shared on multiple social media platforms and messaging apps. This will increase the chances of your piece going viral as a result of having massive organic traffic, which Google absolutely loves.
7. Spy on the Competition
Looking at what your competition is doing, especially the leader in your niche, is a great way to plan your website redesign. Take inspiration from their site navigation and the type of content they’re producing to see which of those can be applicable on your end. Using a competitive analysis tool like SEMRush is a great way to start.
Looking at their ads is also another avenue you can explore. Use MixRank for this approach.
Moreover, you can opt to follow your competition on their social media platform and observe how they’re engaging their audience. Learn what their customer likes and dislikes, then build on that information.
This isn’t to say that you should copy what your competition is doing. What it simply means is that you should be aware of what new campaigns they’re launching to ensure that you’re not being left behind.
Always make sure that you have accurate data on the original site as well as the testing site throughout all the process. Also keep looking the possibilities which can create issues and what is essential to be avoided throughout the website redesign. Always Keep track of which issues have been fixed and which are still remain open.
Keep in your mind that this checklist is just a guide which will help you to avoid some of the most common pitfalls brands face during the website redesign.