The 5 Biggest Website Redesign Mistakes We See -- And How to Correct Them

The 5 Biggest Website Redesign Mistakes We See -- And How to Correct ThemYour company website redesign is about more than style -- it’s an investment that should provide a significant ROI.

Unfortunately, we’ve talked with marketers that went through some painful and ineffective website redesigns that didn’t provide a return. Instead, the redesign came with serious consequences for their business, including lowered SEO rankings, slow load times, difficult upgrades, and more.

You might be in the same position, so I wanted to share some thoughts today about the top 5 mistakes companies make when redesigning their websites. More importantly, I want to share how you can correct these mistakes.

Every website redesign is a high stakes project that can either deliver great results or leave you worse off than you started (and chew through your budget).

Here are the five biggest website redesign mistakes we see (in no particular order) and how to avoid or correct them:

1. Your Website Loses SEO Rankings

According to Search Engine Journal, some companies lose 60-70 percent of their natural search traffic after a redesign or migration. While it’s normal to lose some traffic from search engines in the 1-2 months following a website redesign, your traffic should recover if the redesign is done properly.

If your SEO rankings tank right after you redesign your site, it’s a sign that your designer didn’t take the proper precautions before they got to work.

How to Fix It

  • If you haven't started your website redesign, choose a partner who knows SEO. Many website designers can create beautiful, customized websites, but if they are just graphic artists, working with them represents an enormous risk. Carefully vet your website redesign partner for SEO know-how, and review these five web development tips that can help you plan your redesign with SEO in mind.
  • Submit a new sitemap to major search engines. Start with Google Search Console.
  • Make sure all old website URLs are redirected to new ones using 301 redirects.
  • When you redesign, try not to change URLs -- reuse old ones.
  • If you haven't already, make your entire website secure. Buying and installing an SSL certificate makes your site secure and improves search rankings.

2. Your Website Loads Slowly

One of the benefits of a website redesign is improving your page load speed. After all, 40 percent of visitors will leave a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. If you went through a website redesign only to find your website is loading slower than ever, something’s gone wrong, and you need to fix it as quickly as possible.

How to Fix It

  • Run your website through Google's PageSpeed Insights to find out how bad the problem really is. You can use the tool at WebPageTest.org, too, and compare the results to Google PageSpeed Insights.
  • Optimize your images to make them load faster. You can run all of your website images through a compressor like Compressor.io and shave several seconds off load time.
  • Enable browser, template, and server caching on your content management system or at the server level. There might be some plugins available for your content management system that will help speed up your website.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN). You can usually work with your hosting company to do this.
  • Review the rest of our tips for speeding up your page load time.

3. Your Website Doesn’t Generate Leads

No company redesigns its website for the sheer pleasure of doing so. It’s always a business decision that should come with a significant ROI. If your website designer didn’t design your website with business development in mind -- or if you’re not generating any leads with it -- you need to brainstorm how to turn your website into a lead-generating machine.

How to Fix It

Your website has enormous potential to generate leads for your business. However, it won’t happen without intentionality.

  • Clearly define your target audience.
  • Develop a few short educational articles that a potential customer will find helpful during the very first part of researching a problem that your company can solve. Put those articles behind a lead form using a landing page. This will allow you to collect the name and email address of potential customers.
  • Consider writing a blog where you post 2-4 educational articles per week.
  • Skip down and read item #5 -- perhaps your website is too focused on your company and not the customer.
  • Need help with a strategy to generate more leads? Request a marketing opportunity review with our expert team.
  • Click here to learn more ways your website can generate leads for your business.

4. Your Website is Hard to Update

There are a lot of website builders and content management systems on the market today, and some of them are easier to use than others. While learning any new system will take some training and adjustment, if you can’t easily update your website on your own, your partner didn’t redesign your site correctly. They may have mismatched your business with the wrong content management system, opting to use technology they’re comfortable with instead of what's best for your business.

How to Fix It

When you sit down to plan your website redesign, one issue you need to consider is the usability of the new website’s back end. Once it’s built, it’s far more difficult to make changes without having to completely move the website to a different platform.

  • Make sure you're properly trained on how to use your content management system. They don't come with a manual, so make sure you're adequately trained. If training by webcast, then record it for future reference.
  • Hiring a marketing assistant to help update the website is an option, and so is retaining the developer to perform updates and maintenance.
  • Move your website to a content management system that better suits the abilities of your staff.

5. Your Website Is Too Company-Centric

Most companies assume their website should be about the company. That’s a natural inclination, but not a strategic one. While the purpose of your website is to represent your company online, the most compelling website copy actually focuses on your customer, not all about your company. If it’s completely company-centric, you risk losing prospects to competitors who are more customer-focused than you are.

How to Fix It

  • Develop rock-solid customer personas to ensure that you deeply understand your customer’s problems and how your company solves those problems.
  • Customer centricity starts with great web copy. Know what your customers care about and reflect that in your web copy.
  • Start with your homepage (usually the most visited web page on your website). Does it discuss customer benefits? Then incorporate value propositions throughout your site -- yes, even your about page.

Want more? Click here for more tips on how to redesign your website without damaging your business.

A strategic website redesign can be a powerful way to boost your business development efforts and bring in more customers through online lead generation. Use this list to avoid making common website redesign mistakes. And if you’ve recently gone through a redesign and your website suffers from any of these five issues, contact us today to learn how we can help you get your website back on track.

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About the Author

Rick Whittington

Rick Whittington is the founder and Principal at Whittington Consulting. He has over 15 years of experience in websites and online marketing. Rick shows clients how to turn their marketing challenges into opportunities that yield measurable results. If you'd like to get in touch with Rick, click here to get his contact information or connect on LinkedIn here.