At NovoVision, we know that redesigning your website can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. After all, you’ve worked hard to build up your site’s traffic – so the idea of losing those hard-won visitors during a redesign can keep you up at night.
But here’s the good news: a website redesign doesn’t have to mean a traffic drop-off. With careful planning and strategic execution, you can give your site a whole new look without negatively impacting your traffic flow. In fact, done right, a redesign can actually help you attract new visitors while retaining your existing audience.
In this article, we’ll walk you through our proven process for redesigning your website in a way that seamlessly transitions visitors to the new site. Follow our tips, and you’ll be able to revamp the look and feel of your web presence without losing the traffic you’ve worked so diligently to gain. Let’s get started!
Causes of Losing Traffic During a Redesign
One of the biggest risks of a redesign is changing your URLs, which can break existing links and make it harder for visitors to find your pages. If other sites are linking to your content, those links will be broken when the URLs change. Similarly, drastically altering your internal navigation and information architecture can make it difficult for regular visitors to find what they are looking for on your new site.
Another potential traffic-killer is switching web platforms or frameworks, which essentially replaces your entire foundation. Visitors reaching dead pages on your old site could bounce. Overhauling the design in a way that feels foreign or disorienting visitors is another path to losing traffic during a transition. If the new layout is confusing, visitors may not dig in to find your great content.
The key is making thoughtful design choices that feel fresh yet familiar. With strategic planning across information architecture, user experience, and visual design, you can transition visitors seamlessly to the reimagined site. This will allow you to maintain traffic flow during the relaunch process.
Tips to Retain Traffic Through a Redesign
1. Use 301 redirects to preserve your URLs and prevent broken links. This allows external sites linking to you to maintain access through the same URLs.
2. Keep your core navigation and information architecture similar, just enhanced. This allows regular visitors to still find what they need easily. Make iterative IA improvements vs. drastic changes.
3. Roll out design changes incrementally vs. all at once. This gives visitors time to get accustomed to new elements over a transition period.
4. Maintain brand continuity through visuals like color schemes, logos, and images. This provides a thread for visitors to connect old and new.
5. Set up Google Analytics tracking across both old and new sites. This allows you to monitor traffic during the transition.
6. Use tools like ScreamingFrog to identify any issues with redirects or broken links. Fix these right away to prevent losing visitors.
7. Create an XML sitemap for search engines to index all the new pages. This facilitates quick indexing of the rebranded site.
8. Develop a detailed transition plan and timeline. Communicate changes to visitors to set expectations.
Following this strategic process will allow you to transform the look and feel of your website while still delivering a seamless experience for visitors. This will enable you to overhaul your web presence without seeing a drop in hard-won traffic.
Testing and Monitoring After Launch
Here are some key steps we recommend for testing and monitoring your site after a redesign launch:
- Use tools like Google Search Console to monitor how quickly pages from the new site are getting indexed. Watch for potential issues with crawl errors.
- Continuously check analytics metrics, especially around traffic sources and landing pages. Catch any drops quickly and investigate the cause.
- Run user tests on the new site to identify any navigation or usability issues. Are testers able to easily complete key tasks?
- Be ready to quickly fix identified problems post-launch and roll back changes if needed. Have a crisis management plan in place.
- Monitor social traffic and engagement. Track reactions and feedback on the redesign.
- Set up reports and alerts to notify you of changes in site performance. Be proactive about optimizing the new site.
- Check in with your team regularly about any technical issues or roadblocks they are finding.
Staying vigilant in the initial launch period will help you ensure visitors are having a smooth transition to the redesigned website experience.
Redesigning your website is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to put your hard-earned traffic at risk. Maintaining your existing audience throughout the process is crucial to ensuring the success of the relaunch. By following strategic best practices around redirects, incremental changes, analytics tracking, and post-launch monitoring, you can retain visitors while unveiling your refreshed site.
The key is planning ahead and being meticulous in how you execute the transition. Use 301 redirects, keep navigation familiar, maintain brand continuity, and watch metrics closely. Test with users, fix problems quickly, and optimize the new site. With this approach, you can minimize disruption during the redesign and avoid losing the traffic you’ve worked so hard to gain.
Yes, a redesign takes strategic planning and effort. But the long-term benefits for your brand visibility and audience engagement make it well worth it. With a thoughtful and phased approach, you can refresh your web presence without the risk of a traffic decline. Follow our tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful website relaunch that retains your hard-won visitors.
If you’re planning a website redesign for your business, the experienced team at NovoVision Agency can help. Our customized website redesign services will guide you through the process from start to finish, using proven strategies to transition your audience seamlessly to the new experience.
Don’t leave the success of your redesign up to chance. Contact us today to learn more about our website redesign services. With the right plan and process, you can launch an amazing new website without losing the traffic you’ve worked so hard to gain.