7 Important Things to Pay Attention to When Rebuilding a Website: A Guide for Business Owners
Rebranding or just upgrading your technology, and reworking aspects of your business can give your bottom-line a boost. You are well-aware an essential part of your marketing program is your website. It is your online face to the world. Taking your site offline to rebuild, even temporarily, can impact both traffic and sales.
Your website is your online office. When you move, your customers need to know how to get to the new location, quickly and easily. There are a number of proactive steps you can take to make the change from your old site to your new one seamless for both you and your customers. Here are 7 important things to pay attention to when rebuilding your business’ website.
Migrating a Website? Are all SEO Aspects maintained?
To ensure you are visible to both your old customers and any potential new customers your website needs to be easily accessible. The best way to do this is to make sure your site is ranking high in search engines. During migration, this is any kind of work on your site that can affect SEO, your ranking is apt to slip. A site migration can include changes to your site’s location, structure, content, or design. Optimizing all aspects of your SEO during the migration will help to keep the search engine placement fall to a minimum.
To help maintain your SEO, plan on migrating your site during a period of time that is slow for your business. This often depends on the industry you’re in and your location. For example, real estate in the northeastern US during a cold, snowy winter tends to mean a lull in transactions. This would be an excellent time for a real estate company to work on their online presence, before the snow thaws and the real estate market picks up.
To increase your SEO during the migration of your site, take the time to work out any issues you had with your old site. This can include your site structure, broken links, redundant pages, and weak or not enough content.
Proper “Call to Actions” and Things that Impact Conversion
When someone lands on your site, you want them to do something. That may be sign-up for your newsletter, watch a video, read a blog post, or purchase products or services from your business. Having a clear indicator of what they are supposed to do when they get there, can help lead them to the action you desire.
One way to achieve this is to have distinct “call to action” buttons. These are places where a person can click on a device on the webpage that is a link to bring them to the next desired step. These devices-buttons, bars, signs- not only need to stand out from the web page, but they also need to have a clear description of what will happen if the user clicks on them. Use language that is easily understood and visible. It’s OK to use more than a few words. Add the information both on the “call to action” button and above or below it.
Another way to help with conversion is to make the experience of landing on your site more personalized and responsive for the user. This can be achieved with menus and links to more selective choices.
Also, make it simple for a user to reach out to your customer service department. Live-chats are an immediate and personal way for customer service to answer questions or help with a purchase. Have a contact page that clearly states email addresses and phone numbers for specific departments.
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
According to Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans own a cell phone. Of those with smartphones, one in five considers themselves “smartphone-only” internet users. This means their phones are their primary means of online access. This is an important fact for business owners to understand. Your company’s website must be mobile friendly or risk losing a large portion of your market.
Mobile-friendly doesn’t just mean a person can view your site on their phone. They must be able to navigate through your pages and order easily online. A site with fewer steps to a purchase and less data to enter makes it easier to access on a mobile device. The easier the navigation, the higher the response rate for customer interactions.
Is your site Fast?
In today’s high tech world customers want a website to load instantly and to be able to navigate through the site in less time than it takes to drink their cappuccino. They want to be able to Google, read, and shop with coffee in one hand and a mobile device in their other hand. A New York Times article stated that Google engineers discovered the time frame a web user will wait for a page to load before leaving a site is a fast as literally a “blink of an eye.”
The speed of your site can depend on what host you are using, and things like the number of plugins, images, CSS scripts and other information on a page. Changing hosts (a reason to migrate your website), and decluttering your pages by limiting plugins, images, and other information can speed up your website’s response time.
Fast isn’t just about load times. Users want to scan through pages quickly, too. Your content has to be short and easy on the eyes, whether it’s a video, an article, product description or image. A user wants to scan through a webpage and pick out any information they feel is relevant to them, not have to read an entire article.
Using bullets to highlight subject matter gives an at-a-glance overview of the information on the page. Bold, colored, and different font types can also grab a reader’s attention. Don’t over-use these techniques. That could work against you and drive prospects away with too much confusion. The key is to keep your pages simple enough to scan quickly through, but bold enough to hold a user’s attention.
Do you Have Missing Content?
When rebuilding your website make sure you carry over all your valuable content. In the early stages of planning your migration, make a list of all the webpages from your old site. This will ensure all your pages are converted to your new site.
You’ve built up a considerable stash of content on your old website that includes blog posts, videos, and images. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, spring cleaning your content and creating a database will help with transferring information from one site to the other. Knowing what you have will also lessen the chance of content being missed.
Errors and Proper Redirection
Transferring pages and content can result in 301 redirects and 404 error messages. When removing content try to avoid 404 error messages. Search engines tend to be OK with them, but these types of messages tend to frustrate users looking for information.
When moving pages and content, make sure redirection links point to your new website. This should be done and checked before the new site is launched.
Preventing a catastrophe (backing up your data)
One of the worse scenarios for a business owner is the loss of essential data. Not having a backup system in place can be devastating to a company. Backing up data is vital to a business of any size, from a one-person office to a worldwide company. This is especially important when rebuilding your website. During the rebuild, if you have corrupt, missing, or incomplete files, you can easily replace them from a backup database.
Depending on the size of your business and the amount of data you have, there are several ways to create a backup system. A private or public cloud is a viable way to store data for a small business. With a cloud system, the company’s data is available from any computer and can be easily accessed by any employee with the password.
With a more extensive business, due to the complexity of the amount and type of data to be stored, multiple levels of backup may be necessary. Both onsite and offsite storage is the best safeguard against the loss of valuable data.
Before backing up your data, access your needs and create a plan on how and when the backup will occur, and what data will be moved. This is a great time to do a clean-up of your existing database. Delete any old or unnecessary files, or move them to another location. Always test and validate your back-up data system before the transfer is final.
Rebuilding Your Business Website
As a business owner, you understand rebranding your business website can increase traffic to your site and your overall sales. When rebuilding your site, paying attention to the important things can create a smooth transition for both you and your customers. You can do this by making sure all SEO aspects are maintained, providing proper “calls to action” buttons, making your site mobile-friendly and fast, and always backing up your data. A few easy steps and your new business website will be user-friendly in a blink of an eye.