When Jon Pushkin started Pushkin Public Relations 17 years ago, the Internet looked more like this
Pushkin PR was pretty cutting edge for even having a website. Then we got busy growing the business, adding new team members and advising clients how to improve their brand identity, which often includes website redesigns.
Over a decade later, we decided PushkinPr.com needed a little TLC and an updated look. We used our years of experience helping clients through website redesign projects to prepare for this massive undertaking.
If you feel like your website needs to be overhauled or just spruced up, here are some tips to keep the project running smoothly.
Audit your current site. What content needs revision; what content needs to be scrapped; what content do you want to add?
- How many pages does your site have?
- How many blog posts?
- How many landing pages?
- What type of design does it have? (i.e. coded v. template theme)
- What are its features? (i.e. responsive, special plugins, etc.)
Crawl your current site. Create an Excel spreadsheet with all of your current site’s URLs, including subdomains, and their counterparts on your new site. This way you can make sure each URL is migrated or redirected from your current site to the new one and safely passes its PageRank from the old pages to the new ones.
Perform an inbound link analysis. Inbound links can pack a powerful SEO punch, so you don’t want to lose them, if you change the URL structure of your website. Use Moz’s Open Site Explorer to reveal what domains are linking to your website pages. Make sure your developer knows those pages with inbound links have to be migrated.
Take some measurements. Use your analytics tools to record the following metrics and any other you deem important. This will give you a baseline and help you set goals.
- Number of visits/visitor
- Bounce Rate
- Time on site
- Domain Authority
- Number of new leads/form submissions
- Top performing keywords
Set some goals. What do you want to accomplish with your redesign? Are you trying to increase traffic, visitor engagement, conversion? Knowing what your goals are will guide your redesign strategy.
Make a budget…then round up. A website redesign always takes more time and resources than you what you plan. Here are some of the expenses you should expect.
The biggest cost will likely be for web design and development. A typical website redesign can cost anywhere from $2,000 (on the very low end) to hundreds of thousands of dollars. You’ll probably fall somewhere in between. However, it’s important to talk with your developer up front about the features you want and any additional costs you will incur. For example, if you want a custom design, it will cost more than reusing your old template.
Also, be sure your developer understands technical SEO and the impact of things like, robots.txt, the use of the canonical URL tag, meta robots tag, etc.
It’s much easier, if your copywriter doubles as your SEO strategist. He or she should have knowledge of SEO and an understanding of the website development process, so they can work directly with the designers and developers to manage the project.
Make sure a professional proofreader reviews the site before it goes live. This is not a job for the copywriter; you need a new set of eyes. This is only a minimal extra expense and well worth it to avoid embarrassing typos and grammatical errors.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
If you are managing your site’s content once it goes live, make sure your developer gives you a tutorial on the Content Management System (CMS) they used. This way, you can make edits and add new content on your own.
Set up analytics. Make sure your developer adds the Google Analytics code snippet to all of your website pages. This will allow you to continue to track and measure the success of your website and see if you are hitting your goals.
Finally, ask for help. Redesigning a website can be overwhelming and a little scary. But don’t let that stop you. Just make sure you have the support you need, whether it’s someone in-house, or you hire a firm like Pushkin PR (shameless plug) to help guide you through the process.