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Alex Wade

Pitfalls and Opportunities of Any New Site Design

13th Apr 2020 Marketing Strategy, SEO Blog 5 minutes to read

It’s not uncommon for businesses to redesign their website once in a while for one reason or another. But I have noticed that businesses rarely take into account just how important their new website design is going to be in fulfilling their overall digital marketing strategy.

A new website presents a significant opportunity for a business to grow their visibility or improve their brand awareness, however, if all critical factors have not been considered, more often than not your site will end up in a position worse than it started.

In this blog post, I will be looking at key factors you should consider in your digital marketing approach (both back-end and front-end) to successfully launch a new website and grow your business.

SEO is critical

Arguably SEO reaps the biggest reward for any new site development or migration, as long as this is done correctly. When designing/planning your new site it’s therefore critical to consider its build…

Perhaps the new site launch presents the perfect opportunity to fix that site speed that you may have not had the time and resources to fix for months. Or perhaps the new site may present an opportunity to overcome issues of content rendering.

In the examples highlighted above, we often see that sites have been held back due to the deployment of un-friendly JavaScript frameworks. Therefore now is the time to decide on the correct website build (for example deploying an HTML structure only or revisiting the Javascript framework on your existing site) as this will impact the total look, feel and crawl rate of any new site.

Also, consider if your new site will be used to consolidate additional sub-domains. Migrating domains is a great way to increase your visibility although how would this impact the new site? Does your top navigation or footer navigation now need to promote another one of your subdomains? Have you seen deep pages on your existing site underperforming? If so, maybe they may need to be re-surfaced higher in the top navigation? All of which impacts the design for your new site.

Perhaps you haven’t created a site yet? If that’s the case then you would still need navigation and site structure recommendations from a qualified SEO agency to inform where pages should be placed in the site structure and linked to in the navigation.

It’s also important to not complicate the navigation and remember that the key goal of your website is to satisfy your user. Without satisfying your user – They will not stay, let alone return, to your site.

Something else to consider is the back-end design of a website and the capability to update necessary on-page elements effectively. It is surprising how often I have come across a website that simply doesn’t have the functionality to input custom Meta descriptions, Alt tags and the like. These are some of the more simple elements of SEO; therefore it is essential at your CMS is also designed in a way to manage the SEO of your website effectively.

All sites must now rank effectively on mobile devices or else they will be penalised in search results, so ensure responsive design is built effectively to scale your content across all devices. With this in mind, its also important to ensure you have a range of page templates in place that when populated with copy, maintain the correct look and feel ensuring UX is never compromised.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and UX testing

CRO and UX also play a critical role in your new website design as this can be the difference in keeping customers on your website or sending them away to never return again.

If you already have an existing site now is the time to take those critical learnings and transfer these across. For example, make sure you have deployed heatmaps or have carried out A/B testing on the current site so you understand what design elements work well and should be carried across to the new site design.

If you don’t have this luxury use the same methods, but deploy a staging site to a focus group that can provide feedback. Or alternatively, ensure your site has the capability to be redesigned easily after receiving initial insights from CRO and UX testing in its first few months of launch.

Also consider your brand values and make sure these are reflected within every aspect of your website to ensure your online brand image is not damaged. Make sure your website is designed in such a way to evoke the perception you desire. A user will view your site and, even subconsciously; develop perceptions about it so make sure your site reflects your brand. Imagine going to the Apple site – A brand focused on simplicity and beautiful aesthetics – and finding a site with confusing navigation and ugly typography. It wouldn’t exactly give you the best impression of their brand would it!?

Why is this also important for PPC?

PPC might not immediately come to mind as a core consideration in a redesign, however a well designed website, that is technically optimised, and has good UX, can reap PPC rewards by receiving higher quality scores leading to lower CPC’s.

For pages you target through PPC, it’s important that they convert so designing a the page with CRO in mind can play a key part in determining the success of your PPC campaign.

Consider how you will track analytics

Page builds can be done a number of different ways, for example these can take the form of one-page websites, or websites with various pages rolled into one. For example, on the homepage of a site you may click categories and be presented with information about each of the category (while the URL does not change), then you click on a category and the various products in that category appear (still the URL does not change).

It is therefore important to consider how this may affect the Analytics data you are able to collect. The design of your site may require various levels of customisation to your tracking. Advanced tracking will allow you to set up goals and funnels so that you can monitor the checkout process and optimise it where necessary. If you are unable to record this data because of the infrastructure of your website, then you are losing out on this valuable data.

Having the capability to implement advanced Analytics methods means less limitations on the designs available to you; however, be sensible if those capabilities cannot be achieved and consider this in your site structure.

Summary

So as you can see your approach to designing and structuring a new website should consider many factors if you are to retain or grow brand visibility.

It all starts with a website so when you’re in the design stage, make sure you get it right considering all points listed above and any other learnings you may have taken about previous site performance along the way.

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Alex Wade

Football fan Alex is something of a globetrotter, having lived all over the UK, as well as a 2.5-year stint in Australia. Despite claiming that New Zealand is hands-down the best place he’s ever visited, he’s back in the UK now… probably because our football is better (sorry Australia).

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