Your website is a portal into who you are and what you can do for those who cross your digital doorstep. For it to be truly effective, it needs to appeal to users and search engines alike with continually relevant content. It needs to stay fresh, provide a great user experience—and get results.

If yours doesn’t, it’s time to redesign your website. But before you jump into the deep end of the water, make sure you know how to swim. Otherwise, your traffic will sink into the depths and resuscitation efforts could take months, or even years.

Avoid these 5 common mistakes as you launch your new website:

1) Site Development: Too Little Too Late

Ask any web developer and they’ll tell you it’s critical to revamp your website every two to three years. Of course, they do. It’s how they stay in business. And while you may have actually missed the boat for timing on a new site, the truth is whether or not you need a website revamp depends on how your current site performs. If it’s sailing along well, minor tweaks and regular search engine optimization may be all you need. But if your site is out-of-date, not secure, or performing poorly, a simple patch isn’t going to work.

However, before you hire a developer or designer to build out a new site, stop and plan. Rushing to get your site immediately online can do more harm than good. Don’t opt for quick and easy templates and cookie-cutter plugins. Take the time and effort to build out a site that will get you the results you deserve.

2) Poor SEO Prep

In the excitement of setting sail, whether for a refresh or an entire rebrand, organizations sometimes forget to take a hard look at what they already have—especially from an SEO perspective. Before you scrap parts of your site because you just don’t like the way they look, make sure to conduct a full SEO audit so you know what currently works and what doesn’t.

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your existing site?
  • What kind of traffic do you get?
    • From where and to what pages?
  • How many pages on your site are indexed?
  • For what keywords do you rank?
    • Are they the right ones?
  • What are your top performing pages?
  • What do you hope to achieve from a new site that your current one does not?

If you don’t know where you’re starting from, how will you be able to judge the performance of a new site?

3) Technical SEO Oversight

There are some interesting websites out there that have professionally shot videos, powerful imagery, and interactive tools all over their pages. And while they may be aesthetically pleasing, users may never find them. Multiple functionalities, wasteful snippets of code, and unnecessary add-ons can render a site painstakingly slow. If you know nothing else about today’s human internet browsers, understand that they are an impatient bunch. And that pales in comparison to bots crawling site.

It’s critical that the technical aspects of your site come first. Among the components you need to consider are:

  • Hosting
  • Domain
  • Sitemap
  • Site Navigation
  • Browser Compatibility
  • Security
  • Content Management System
  • Redirects
  • Tracking

4) Old School SEO Tactics

Google changes its algorithm every day—literally. If you build content for your site using old school SEO, even a new site won’t lead to better bottom-line results. But how do you keep up with all the changes? Instead of focusing on the Google algorithm and a few magic keywords that might trigger positive results, build intuitive content. After all, Google’s just trying to give the user the most positive experience possible; you should too.

Include long-tailed keywords and varied vocabulary in well-researched, written, edited, and formatted content. Build content that is interesting, entertaining, and authentic. Instead of worrying about search engine algorithms, show concern for the people who matter to your business. What are their problems and how can you solve them? Don’t use old-school SEO devised to trick the algorithm. Google’s too smart to fall for it—and so are your users.

5) Poor Usability Design

Take a step back before you build out a new site. Analyze the performance of the existing site, pull results from analytics and heatmapping. Consider your users and brand personas and make certain that all you do on your new site aligns with who they are and how they act. Find out where and how users scroll your current site. Don’t discard good results! If your current CTAs work well, consider positioning them similarly on your new site. If your images work, find images that are similar but fresher. Don’t just throw out everything from your old site; improve it.

From a structural standpoint, you need to hit several marks. You need a properly formatted sitemap that you can submit to Google Search Console. You need optimized URLs, that concisely explain what each page is all about. You need responsive design that is mobile-friendly. And you need to test every aspect before you migrate or make your new site live.

 

If launching a new website sounds daunting, it can be. Contact the SEO and design experts at CloudControlMedia before launching a new website. We can work with anyone on your team or anyone you hire to make certain it’s smooth sailing from launch to port.

 

~Linda Emma