Redesigning your outdated website likely tops your priority list. A fresh new design can work wonders for connecting with today’s users and boosting conversions. But in the rush to re-launch, it’s easy to overlook critical details that dramatically impact user experience and search engine optimization (SEO). Even the best-looking redesign can fall flat if core best practices aren’t followed.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most common mistakes companies make during website redesigns and how to avoid them. By sidestepping key pitfalls, you can ensure your new website successfully engages visitors and enhances your search rankings at the same time. Let’s dive in!
Mistake #1: Neglecting Mobile Responsiveness
Let’s start with one of the biggest and most common missteps – failing to optimize for mobile users. With more than 60% of web traffic now on mobile devices, leaving mobile as an afterthought during a redesign spells disaster.
Trust me, releasing a shiny new desktop website that frustrates mobile visitors with tiny text, clumsy navigation, and snail-paced load times is a quick way to ruin the user experience. All your time and money invested in the redesign goes down the drain if the site isn’t seamless on smartphones.
On top of frustrating visitors, a lack of mobile optimization also directly hurts your search rankings. Google actively boosts mobile-friendly sites in results. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot on both user experience and SEO fronts.
The solution? Mobile responsiveness should be a top priority, not nice-to-have. Use flexible layouts, test on mobile devices in real usage scenarios, and speed up page load times. By treating mobile as equal to desktop, your redesigned site will satisfy users and search bots alike.
Mistake #2: Overlooking User Experience (UX)
Now let’s look at another common yet critical error – neglecting user experience (UX) in a website redesign.
UX encompasses how visitors interact with and perceive your website. It includes factors like navigation, page layouts, calls-to-action, speed, and more. Seamless UX keeps visitors engaged rather than frustrated.
Many companies focus overly on how the redesigned site looks rather than how it functions. But aesthetics mean nothing if the content is hard to find, buttons are confusing, or pages load slowly. Bad UX is a quick path to high bounce rates.
Avoid this pitfall by meticulously user-testing every element of the new site and optimizing pain points. Seek input from real users early and often during the redesign process. Prioritize simplicity, clarity, and ease of use at all costs. These UX best practices ensure your spiffed-up site actually gets used.
Mistake #3: Ignoring SEO Considerations
Search engine optimization (SEO) also can’t be an afterthought. A redesigned site provides a prime opportunity to improve technical SEO factors and content for better rankings. However, neglecting SEO in a redesign could seriously hurt your visibility.
Common SEO pitfalls include failing to optimize page copy, broken internal links, bulky image files, and not mapping old URLs to new ones properly. Prevent these snafus with comprehensive SEO planning before launch.
Make SEO a priority by optimizing URLs, metadata, page speed, content, and site architecture. Set up tracking and redirects. Leveraging the redesign process for search visibility lifts should be a top goal. SEO and design can and should complement each other.
Mistake #4: Rushing the Redesign Process
Securing buy-in and budget for a website redesign is a big first step. But don’t let enthusiasm lead to a rushed, half-baked execution.
Trying to quickly push through a major redesign often backfires. A lack of comprehensive planning means critical components get overlooked. Technical issues creep up post-launch. You only get one shot for a flawless rollout.
Avoid headaches down the road by investing sufficient time upfront in strategy, planning, and testing. Build in time for aligning stakeholders, creating prototypes, resolving technical considerations, migrating content, and establishing success metrics.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither should your redesigned website. Patience and diligence pre-launch prevent major snafus when it goes live. Do it right, not quick.
Mistake #5: Inadequate Content Strategy
Managing website content during a redesign also causes headaches if not handled methodically. Migrating old content to a new site takes forethought.
Many companies simply copy all content over verbatim without evaluating what’s worth keeping. This bloats the site with duplicative or irrelevant pages. Plus, it misses the chance to optimize and add new content.
Avoid these missteps by auditing existing content, creating an optimization plan, generating fresh assets, and establishing a governance process. Treat the redesign as a content blank slate, not just a lift-and-shift exercise.
Mistake #6: Failing to Set Up Proper Redirects
With any website redesign, URLs will change, often significantly. Without proper redirect planning, those changes shatter the user experience through broken links and error messages.
Redirects are what allow visitors clicking old URLs to be seamlessly forwarded to relevant new pages. They also preserve SEO equity by passing link authority to new destination pages.
But botched or missing redirects result in frustrating dead ends for visitors. They also tank search rankings as equity flows into the void. Setting up comprehensive 301 redirects is mandatory before launch.
Take the time to map old and new URLs thoroughly and implement 301s pointing from old to relevant new pages. Test rigorously pre-launch. Don’t let link rot undermine your shiny redesign.
Mistake #7: Disregarding Security
Security may not seem an obvious redesign consideration. However, the process opens new vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and software flaws.
Strengthen security by auditing code, patching software, securing forms, implementing firewalls, and establishing SSL. Also, test for vulnerabilities like phishing and DDoS attacks.
Don’t allow an insecure site to undermine your organization and visitor trust. Make security a priority, not an afterthought.
Mistake #8: Skipping Post-Launch Testing and Optimization
So, your website redesign is live—what’s next? The crucial mistake to avoid is overlooking post-launch evaluation and ongoing optimization.
- The Need for Post-Launch Evaluation
After the redesign, it’s essential to assess real-world performance. User behavior, conversion rates, and website functionality should be closely monitored for issues.
- Common Post-Launch Issues
Neglecting post-launch evaluation can lead to problems like bugs, performance issues, SEO ranking drops, decreased conversion rates, and security vulnerabilities.
- Strategies for Ongoing Testing and Optimization
To avoid this mistake, implement regular testing, gather user feedback, monitor SEO, optimize conversion rates, and conduct security audits. Continual improvement is key to maintaining a successful website redesign.
As discussed, website redesigns present immense potential but also many pitfalls. Neglecting key factors like mobile responsiveness, UX, SEO, redirects, and security can sink your relaunch.
By avoiding common mistakes and following best practices, you can ensure a successful website redesign that delights users and boosts visibility. A meticulous, thoughtful approach is required over rushing to the finish line.
Keep these common missteps in mind as you embark on your next redesign journey. With careful planning and execution, you can smoothly transition to an improved website positioned for long-term success. Your organization and visitors will thank you.