Redesigning a website doesn’t have to be a daunting task, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly either, as it could hurt the marketing efforts that go around the website.
So so that this does not happen, in this content I will give you a couple of key points that you must take care of to avoid damaging the positions that your website has in search engines and why not? until you improve the ones you have
Then let’s get started.
1. Take inventory of the current website
An inventory of the current website will help to size the web redesign project. Regardless of which team runs the site on a day-to-day basis, you should be aware of every part that currently exists on the website.
Once you know everything that exists, such as website pages, blog posts, landing pages, pillar pages, and more, you need to prioritize them.
Here is an example you can use.
- Product or service pages are considered high priority.
- About and Contact pages are considered low priority.
- Blog posts and pillar pages can be high or medium priority.
The fact that you prioritize them will help focus both design and content efforts on medium and high content pages. Typically, low priority pages should be there, but they don’t require much effort or strategy.
Since you have prioritized all the content, either in an Excel file or some tool that you can share with the entire team, both those involved in the web redesign and the marketing and sales areas, who are the ones who need the web redesign to help them improve. your metrics and not the other way around, it’s time to add an extra value to each page:
- The SEO ranking they have is essential and an ideal tool that you can use is Google Search Console or Google Analytics to cross-reference the data.
- After this, what you need is to get the following meta tags: Title, Description and Slug (URL), which should be the same or better. The tools that you can use is Ahrefs Webmaster Tools , which allows you to do an audit and know this data for each page. Additional to those tools, you can use Screaming Frog.
- Another item to review is the Robots.txt file, which may include pages that someone on the team decided should be blocked from displaying. This point is important if you are going to make a CMS change or if you are going to work on a new installation of WordPress.
Now that you know the real dimension of the website, you know which pages have the most traffic and which words they rank for, it’s time to talk about the content.
2. Improve or match the content as much as possible
This point depends a lot on the objective for which you decided that the redesign of the website was necessary. If the reason is because of missing content, then each important page will receive new content.
Regardless of whether you are going to modify all the content or if you are going to move it, you must be very careful on pages that have high traffic and position.
On those pages you want to keep some of the content, which is what got you those positions. Therefore, in this type of pages, you should avoid reducing the content; it is not good to put the design above the content.
Another point that you must consider and take care of is the structure of the content, that is, determine which pieces are main and which are subsequent. In a website with a good structure, H1, H2, H3 tags are used, which should remain the same in the web redesign and, as far as possible, have hierarchies, with H1 being the main title.
These H1 – H6 are the ones that impact the most, since when the search crawlers access the website, they are the elements that they give the most importance to classify a site; I mean, plus 200 other factors.
Now let’s move on to the next point.
3. Keep most of the site architecture the same
It’s rare for the architecture in a web redesign to be affected, but let’s see what we’re talking about.
With architecture, we mean the way navigation is organized and the order in which some assets are found.
Let’s see an example:
- Home (website.com)
- Services (website.com/services)
- Services > Service A (website.com/services/service-a)
- Services > Service B ( siteweb.com/services/service-b )
- Blog > Tickets ( sitioweb.com/blog/entradas.. )
- Pillar Pages ( website.com/pillar-page )
Search engines already know this structure and it is likely that, depending on the positions you have and the traffic you currently drive, in addition to the structure, there is a lot of data that helped you to have those positions.
That is why the recommendation is that you maintain, as far as possible, the architecture. Keep in mind that, apart from search engines, users might be a bit surprised if they see everything differently.
4. Implement 301 redirects
In the web redesign process, after carrying out the audit, you may detect that some pages should not exist or that they do not generate any traffic. In case you decide to remove them, remember to set up a 301 redirect for all the pages you removed.
In certain cases, it may be necessary to modify the URL of some pages. If you are going to make this type of change, you should not forget to note in your list of pages that a redirection must be created from the old URL to the new one.
It is very important not to make so many changes to the URLs, especially those that generate a lot of traffic. The reason is that while you can fix all of these changes with 301 redirects, over time it can lead to a problem with links that you most likely place in blog posts or other content.
This does not imply a high risk, but it can cause a small impact. That being said, make sure that the change you’re making to the URL is actually worth it.
5. Prepare the environment to create and test the new site
Once we have reached this point, we already have a list of things that we should not lose sight of, so it is time to execute the plan.
In our case, we carry out the design-content stage with Adobe XD, which allows us to visualize and test interactions if necessary.
But since you have the design phase complete, regardless of the process you use, it is necessary to prepare and test each of the pages. I speak live and in full color.
Here is something you should always consider. In no case should you take down your new site and put up some sign that it will be online soon. If they suggest that to you, it is better to run.
There are ways you can test the website. We will see the correct way with the two most used CMS: CMS Hub and WordPress.
Use Staging from WordPress Hosting Provider
With WordPress, there are two ways. One is by using the Stage functionality, which most providers that offer Managed WordPress have, such as Kinsta .
In this case, you go into the panel and if the function exists, you can create an exact copy of your current website at a different URL, which usually has tags that tell search engines not to index it; Otherwise, it will be recommended that you add that option from WordPress.
When you finish the tests and the necessary adjustments, with a simple click you can move your website from Stage to Live, which replaces the previous one.
Now, assuming you have a hosting where you manually uploaded or configured the WordPress installation, I suggest something similar, but in this case, you would have to do it manually. When the process is complete, you can use Migrate Guru to move your new site to the existing one.
Using Content Staging or Content Preparation in the CMS Hub
For the CMS Hub case, if your website is going to be redesigned and switch to HubSpot’s CMS, you can create all the pages in Website as normal.
The reason is that your domain will still be on the old server and in the meantime, you will have a temporary domain, which you can use to review and test your new site.
In case your site is in the HubSpot CMS, it is recommended to use the Content Staging or Content Preparation functionality, from where you can prepare each of the pages.
One advantage of staging page by page from Staging is that the metatitle, description and url will stay the same, so you don’t need to worry about this step. Also, it will not affect the live site. When everything is in order, with two simple clicks you can launch your new site.
HubSpot will archive the old pages and they will be replaced by the new ones. All key data and content will be in order and ready to be visited.
6. Check that everything is in order before pressing the launch button
An advantage of using a test environment is that, as with the current website, the teams involved can give their views and send a list of suggestions in case they exist, to take care and review the quality of each page. .
Similarly, you can run speed tests in PageSpeed Insights (note that in some cases if you don’t have tracking scripts set up yet, the speed may be higher).
The tool that I also recommend running is Screaming Flog, so you can check at a glance the structure such as H1, H2 and the number of words per page, make a comparison and if there is something strange, adjust.
When the content, usability and quality tests are ready, make sure to put the codes of Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, among others. To have better control, I recommend that you use Google Tag Manager to manage all the code and control on which pages it is shown and on which it is not necessary.
Don’t forget to set up redirects for pages you’ve removed or changed their URL.
In the case of WordPress, do not forget to remove the option that prevents search engines from indexing your website.
Now yes, there is no reason not to press the button and start celebrating the launch of the new site.
After pressing the button and seeing that your new website is online, in some cases, it will help to ask for a reindexing of the pages, for this you can use Google Search Console.
Done, is there anything else you need to do?
First, the whole team needs to toast this great first success, but it doesn’t all end with the launch. One key to making a website a crucial part of growing a business is reviewing user data and, based on that information, making improvements.
For this step, it is necessary to receive new data, so in the following days your team should review and keep an eye on Google Search Console , where you can receive reports of any problems in case they exist.
Depending on the behavior you observe in Google Search Console, you will need to move so that, in the event of a downtime, you are able to react quickly and recover traffic.
Web redesign is an action that, if it is carried out with a process focused on improving sales, can be very satisfactory, contrary to what happens if we focus on only visual aspects or that pertain solely to marketing.
A website should help increase sales and can be your best seller, but web redesign is the first step to reach this phrase that every company convinced of Inbound Marketing hopes to achieve: “May your website be your main seller ” . Who wouldn’t? Works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you want to learn more about how we do this at Media Source, you can schedule a meeting or read about our web redesign process .