A new website sounds great in theory…
However, a new website project can quickly derail and cause more harm than good. Whether the new website is being designed and developed by an agency or internally within your own organization, it is important to stay on the pulse of the project. Reviving a website from a bad launch or a complete breakdown is a lot harder than following the site changes step by step — from start to hand-off.
In an effort to help guide your website project down a smooth river, here are five quick tips to better manage the transition period.
1. Make Your Voice Heard
The most important step to ensuring the ball isn’t dropped on your website is setting the expectations from day one. Voicing your concerns, your wants, and your timeline are essential to reducing headaches and confusion. Minimizing communication gaps are vital to the success of the website’s development — you’re investing money and time into this project, be sure the final product meets your standards.
2. Create a Redirect Strategy
It’s simple oversight, but not drafting a redirect strategy for all your pages from the old site to the new one is a sure-fire way to make the entire process a disaster. Imagine all the 301 and 404 error messages that will occur for site visitors… Not ideal. Creating a plan that arranges for all URLs to be transitioned successfully upon launch is a fundamental building block to preventing any major hiccups arising. Additionally, it is best practice to try and keep the transitioning content on the same URLs.
3. Protect Your Staging Site From Google
Another technical aspect to keep in mind during the build process is to make sure that your new (unfinished) site is not indexed by Google. This can happen in multiple scenarios, but often staging sites are accidentally indexed because there is a misconfiguration of the robots.txt file. This can cause a big SEO problem if the new site ranks for your keywords, so just make sure to add HTTP authentication or use a VPN until the switch from old to new is ready to go live.
4. AB Test and Adjust It
Unrolling a new website is also the perfect time to perform an SEO split test. A lot of factors play into search engine rankings, and moving the wrong pieces can drop your spot rather quickly. Therefore, during a transition period for a website, it is a good idea to examine what factors may boost or drag down your individual pages. Is it on-page content? Meta descriptions? Load time? Finding areas where you can adjust your SEO approach will further increase the success of the new website version.
5. Prioritize Mobile Experience
In today’s internet climate, a website needs to have excellent user experience on mobile devices. Over the past five years, mobile internet searches have increased by 200-plus percent, with up to 70 percent of all internet searches coming from a smartphone or tablet. A website must be built and optimized for mobile viewing, no excuses. Consumers are researching and buying from these handheld devices, in order to sell to them, your new website has to provide an easy and effective mobile experience.
Need Help Improving Your Website?
At Venta Marketing, we are helping businesses meet their goals head-on. As leaders in the digital marketing industry, we know what a great website looks and acts like. We understand how navigating the digital market can be overwhelming. Our mission is to help simplify the equation and connect quality leads to quality businesses. Contact us today to inquire about how we can help improve your website.