Designing a new website is a fantastic idea and you could sit in front of your computer marvelling at what a fine job the design team and you have done to get everything looking so shiny and new. It could be brim-full of spectacularly simple but effective calls to action, as smooth and readable as possible and overflowing with user-friendly content and the answers to all of your customers’ problems. And yet a month down the line instead of revelling in the boosted number of hits on your site and benefitting from all the new leads, you could be sat in front of the same screen scratching your head as to why traffic has dramatically fallen, there have been scant new leads and business has taken a hit. But why?
It is worth noting that immediately after a redesign a temporary and minor drop-off in traffic is nothing to be alarmed about, as it is necessary for Google to crawl and index your new pages to ensure visitors are treated to the updated versions. But longer than a few days should ring alarm bells.
The three worst culprits for traffic drops post-redesign
- The structure of the new site
The structure of your website is incredibly important in determining how well Google and other search engines can index your site. In addition it will also play a substantial role in how easy it is for users to navigate and how positive their experience will be. Assuming it’s attractively and sensibly structured the main problem here will be indexing. A new sitemap is mandatory as it will, when submitted to Search Console, speed up the indexing rate for your new website. You should also double and triple check internal links and make sure that there are no links pointing to outdated URLs.
- Redirect issues
Failure to implement the right redirects to pass on information to search engines and browsers as to where new pages can be found will probably cause a worrying decrease in traffic to your website. The only case in which redirects are unnecessary is when all your URLs have remained exactly the same. In all other cases 301 redirects should be implemented for each and every old page to ensure no loss of traffic.
- Failure to update copy
Updating copy is nearly always a vital part of revamping a website. In many cases it is not at all enough just to give minor tweaks to your copy as original target keywords may now be irrelevant, old news and things may have progressed to such an extent that new copy is far more appropriate. Should you take the time and effort to revamp your copy with up-to-date and more relevant keywords and subjects then you will very likely gain a strong competitive advantage over rivals yet to do so. Keeping keyword optimization relevant in a rapidly changing and evolving world is a challenge that needs to be met head on and yet should never compromise readability and user experience.
If you have seen your website visits drop due to a new design and need help please give us a call on 01226 236449 to see if we can help.