For some, the decision to redesign a current website is based on functional limitations and/or failure to perform. For others, it could simply be a spontaneous decision; the colors are boring, or the lack of that “special something” extra …bells, whistles, cool gadgets! Yeah! That’s what I need… a redesign!
And so it goes; we jump head over heals (and budget) into a redesign without evaluating first, what’s really working: what could use a simple facelift, and what could be tossed altogether. In doing so, we also lose track of how deleting pages could produce a negative outcome in the form of search engine errors.
First things first:
- Take inventory of every webpage Google has indexed for your website. Go to Google.com and enter the following into the search box: “site: www.YourWebsite.com”.
- List them all in an Excel spreadsheet with documented traffic (or lack thereof) found in your analytics program to help you determine what stays and what goes.
- In a third column, construct redirects (new URLs) for those that will no longer exist on your new website. Without redirects, visitors who have bookmarked pages to your old website, or tripped over old links (articles?) will land on an error page (Not Found). You can list your homepage for now and come back later and change them if a more suitable new one is created.
- Then gather up all the content files that you want to repurpose on your new site for ease of linking and uploading, and create a new file to hold them, including:
- Your logo formed in a vector format (i.e., .eps, .ai, or .cdr).
- Guidelines, such as Privacy and Return policy documents
- Images, graphics and downloadable files (whitepapers, eBooks, etc)
Now you’re ready to dig in. Your next step should be defining the purpose of your website redesign; what do you hope to gain or make better? More traffic and leads? Ease of conversions from prospect to customer? And more importantly, what new features and elements will you include in your website to help you accomplish your goals.
Got a favorite website redesign tip to share? Share your comments with us.