Five Ways to Avoid Losing Traffic During Website Redesign and Migration (Included_ Website Migration Checklist) (1)

Five Ways to Avoid Losing Traffic During Website Redesign and Migration (Included: Website Migration Checklist)

In Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy by Robb FahrionLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Is your website’s conversion rate poor and discouraging?

According to Stanford Web Credibility Research, 75 percent of users judge a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

Web-design-statistics

(Source: Kinesis Inc.)

Most small businesses will likely need a redesign. Their first website is usually on a tight budget, but as they grow, they begin to see the need to redesign their website to meet the competition other business websites are posing to their website. Hence, they go for a website redesign strategy to upgrade.

The resultant effect of redesign is that your website may begin to lose traffic. Hence, the need to follow our website migration checklist. 

Before we proceed, here are a few things we’ll cover:

  • Website redesign strategy: An introduction
  • Challenges you need to worry about when doing a website redesign
  • How to avoid losing traffic with a website redesign
  • Website migration checklist

Let’s get right to it.

Website Redesign Strategy: An Introduction

Irrespective of how you have beautifully designed your website the first time you launched it, a time will come that you will need to redesign your website. The reason being that every month, several algorithm changes take place on the internet. 

Benefits-of-website-redesign

(Source: ByteAnt)

These changes in the internet algorithm also change the behavioral approach of the internet users, which includes your customers. 

While this may seem simple, it is not as easy as it sounds because redesigning your website comes with another challenge - WEB TRAFFIC LOSS. 

Are you wondering how?

Whenever you finish your web redesign project plan, Google will need some time to crawl and index your new page design. The time it will take before this comes to an end means you will be losing traffic. But when this traffic loss is above 10%, and it’s happening for several days, you know you have a bigger problem.

Challenges You Need To Worry About When Doing A Website Redesign

A website redesign strategy offers a lot of benefits for your business. However, there are some challenges that you need to worry about when doing an SEO website redesign. They are:

1. The Change That Comes With Your Sitemap

What is the sense in settling for good when one can have better? 

You see, as another online marketing tool, SEO investment makes marketing easier for the real estate business. So, while other marketing tools may generate traffic, real estate SEO will generate high-quality, organic traffic

SEO for a real estate website makes your business visible to many people interested in it. As soon as they search for any related information, the search engine makes your website available for the person. The next thing that follows is a click. 

As people searching for real estate information increase, your website will appear on search engines and get more clicks. 

What does this mean?

It means that the traffic your website generates will be higher than it was when you were not using SEO for your real estate marketing

2. Changes That Come With Your Website Content

One thing that changes after the redesign of a website is the web content. Creating new content and updating old ones to meet your web users’ needs is good for retaining old customers. Visitors love when they come to a website expecting to see the old content but see something new - content that meets their present needs. 

While this is good in principle for your customer, it may come with another challenge. Sometimes, one may change the keywords that are the traffic drivers to their old website in changing the content. This single act alone can take your website traffic to almost ground zero. 

Also, when redesigning your site, many pages are deleted from the old website, leading to what is called “content bridge.” People delete web pages without understanding the page structures and the impact of removing the pages. The page structure has to do with how you organize and link each page on your website.

People create a content bridge when they delete pages that will improve their web content sets. If one is looking to strengthen his webpage and drive traffic, then he should get a professional web designer from the best website redesign company who understands this structure. Better still, ask for help from an SEO company Orange County

The content bridge created by the removal of web pages will cause you to lose your authority to specific keywords that drive traffic to your web. 

3. Redirecting of the Website

During an SEO website redesign, it is crucial you consider the URLs. Some URLs are not SEO-friendly, and you will need to consider changing them during the redesign. 

In this case, you will need to redirect your old URLs to your new URLs by creating a 301 redirect. Creating a 301 redirect is your way of telling search engines that the contents found in your old URLs are now in your new URLs. 

So many times after website redesign services, appropriate 301 directs are not usually set up. When customers visit your website, they are greeted with a 404 Not Found Error because the old page that they know doesn’t exist anymore, thereby leading to traffic loss.

How To Avoid Losing Traffic With A Website Redesign

If you have just redesigned your website because you are experiencing a drop in your website traffic, or you are planning to redesign your website, and want to avoid loss of traffic after your website redesign project plan, this is the best article for you.

Steps-to-Create-a-Winning-Website-Redesign-Strategy

(Source: Grazitti)

Here’s are five of the best ways you can avoid losing traffic:

1. Carry Out A Web Audit On Your Site Before Redesign

Conducting a web audit before the redesign of your website will help expose every weakness and strength of your website before the redesign. It will help tell you what you are supposed to remove and what you are supposed to keep. 

Ensure you check the speed of crucial landing pages, most especially the home page because that is the first place that the search engine will take people to each time they visit your website. If the speed is not fast enough, this is something you must improve in your redesign. Nobody wants to waste time waiting for your website to load. 

You should also analyze your top organic keywords during your audit to help you have a base for comparison after the redesign. 

Also, carry out a pre-design audit before launching the new website redesign service to help spot any issue that may arise after launching. 

2. Use Temporary URLs

It is essential you take this very point into consideration. Using a temporary URL is very good if you are looking forward to not losing traffic. Using an old site for your users before your redesign is ready will keep your visitors busy until you are done testing and taking care of other design-related issues. Doing this means you will not in any way harm your website traffic and SEO. 

While resigning is good, implementing the redesign directly on your website is something you should not even consider. Implementing all your new designs on the live website can be nasty business because it can affect your website’s user experience and the chances that your website can go down is very high when doing this. When your site is down, you lose traffic and even sales. 

More so, it is not advisable to make changes on your live website because it can directly affect your website ranking and SEO.  The best thing to do is use temporary URLs. Using this, you will solve all the problems mentioned above. 

Inasmuch as you keep your website copy out of search engine reach while working with the temporary URL, you will not have to worry about anything else. 

3. Use Updated Sitemap

Are you aware that a sitemap is vital for SEO?

If you are a website owner and you are not aware of this, this is another reason why you should keep reading this article. 

While sitemap can give rise to traffic, it is also a common reason why traffic drops.

Since sitemap is the blueprint that helps search engines crawl your website and helps search engines identify the structure of your website, it needs to be updated. Updating and structuring your sitemap will boost your website SEO. 

Even though this is good, redesigning your website makes your sitemap vulnerable to changes. In addition, these changes will make it difficult for Google to crawl your website, thereby reducing traffic. 

How do you avoid this?

If you want to avoid this issue, it is simple. 

When redesigning, retain all your old web pages. In addition, maintain the original structure of your old website in the sitemap regarding your linking structure and top-level hierarchy. With the newly updated sitemap, users will be able to have access to your site when they use the old sitemap and they will get a better user experience with the new update. 

If you have already redesigned your website and have issues with your sitemap, you will need to create a sitemap. For WordPress users, just use the sitemap generator plugin to create a sitemap. After creating a sitemap, you will need to submit your sitemap to the webmaster tool. 

Submitting this to Google or Bing search engines will enable you to fasten the speed of your crawling and indexing process. Doing this helps to resolve traffic issues.

4. Keep Your Contents Intact

Your web content is something you should not touch during your website redesign strategy. You can upgrade by adding new content, but don’t delete old content. 

When you redesign, consider your content first and make it a priority. Many people finish designing before considering their content. In the end, their content cannot fit into their new design framework. When you are redesigning, your content should be what drives your new design. Doing this will help increase engagement and drive traffic after the redesign. 

5. Be Careful When Migrating Your Website

Website migration is a change done on an existing website that will affect its indexability and make the site invisible to search engines when web users try to access it. There are several reasons why website migration is the best and only option for a business owner.

Types-of-site-migration

(Source: Moz

Below are six primary reasons to opt for website migration: 

a. Migrating from HTTP To HTTPS

Such migration is good from a web-security point of view. If your website is still using HTTP, most browsers will pop up a warning telling your website users that your page is insecure.

b. Migrating to a better content management system

One reason for low sales and loss of traffic is when a business owner runs his website on outdated content. Choosing an updated CMS will help to attract traffic to the new site and boost sales. 

How-CMS-Works

(Source: Web Inclusion)

c. A need to upgrade website for better web navigation, structure, and design

When web owners see the need for a better user experience, it gives rise to web migration. For example, when a website has a complex navigation system and structure, website owners may want to change that. They know that they can lose customers when they can’t find their way around the website or are not having a good experience using the site. 

d. Looking for a better domain name

Some people feel they are not getting the type of traffic they are hoping for because of their URL. When they have carried out their findings and proven this to be accurate, they want to rebrand and get a better URL.

e. Having a mobile version

Because of the number of mobile phone users compared to desktop users, many business owners are considering optimizing their sites for mobile phone use. 

f. Switching to a better server

Website owners often face bad hosting performance, which usually gives rise to wanting to switch to another host. 

Website Migration Checklist

If you want to migrate your website because of the reasons mentioned earlier, you need to do some things before migration. 

Here is our full-proof website migration checklist to guide you:

A. Be Positive, But Get Ready In Case Things Don’t Go As Planned

Migrating your site is like going for major surgery; everything may be going on smoothly one minute, but things could go wrong all of a sudden. So estimate the website redesign costs and brace yourself for that. 

B. Let Your Users Be Aware Beforehand

Many things can go wrong when you migrate your website, so you must inform your users some weeks or months before the actual migration date. Also, be sure to tell them of a likely day you will be back. 

By doing so, you will help retain your users as they know why they could not access your site and the day that your website will be available. For example, many have switched to other websites because they tried to use them for some days, and it didn’t open; hence they thought the site no longer existed. 

C. You Should Migrate At Night

Migrating at night is good because this is the likely time when traffic is low, and many of your users will not be affected. Also, since the server load is not so much at night, it will help Googlebot index and crawl your website faster after migration. However, if the nighttime is not your slow traffic period, any other low traffic period will be acceptable. 

D. Migrate Gradually

Trying to migrate the whole site at once is a bad idea. Don’t even try it, as everything may just crash. Instead, start by having a test sample after migration, then if everything is working just fine, you can then move your site piece by piece.

E. Redesign Your Website To Boost Traffic

Redesigning your website after web migration is a great thing to do for your business’s success because it helps bring a fresh look to your presence online and improves the user experience. In addition, this will go a long way in increasing customer conversion and traffic. 

What’s the Next Step?

Redesigning your website is beneficial, but you need to make sure you do not lose traffic in the process. As a professional SEO California digital marketing company, we’ve provided a comprehensive website migration checklist to help ease your website migration and redesign process.

At FlyingVGroup, we can help you redesign your websites to a standard you can be proud of and provide other top-notch digital marketing services to improve your online relevance. You can see our web design case studies for yourself. Contact us today.


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Robb Fahrion
Robb Fahrion, Partner
Flying V Group