Too often, the marketing team isn’t really informed of the redesign until one week prior to launch. You’ll get much more value for your money if you involve them in the redesign process right from the beginning. Chances are, they’ll be able to provide invaluable insights into customer behavior that the design and technical teams don’t have, ultimately helping to improve engagement. Below are some tips on where the marketing team can chip in during a redesign:
Organic search is one aspect that’s inevitably going to be disrupted during a site redesign. The new site may be great — delivering on customer engagement, improving conversions, etc. — but if you lose a significant amount of organic traffic, you’re essentially leaving money on the table. Organic search ranking is hard-earned placement that all too often gets lost in the midst of a redesign.
In order to retain your organic traffic — heck, even increase it — you need to involve your SEO team starting during the discovery phase of the redesign project. During this time, an SEO consultant can audit the existing site and establish essential elements of site architecture that need to be retained during the transition. This will help you to better define your requirements, and it’ll also act as your insurance policy to ensure that you keep your organic rankings.
During subsequent phases, the SEO consultant should help review the new site structure, implement important tools, optimize any newly-created content for keywords, and ensure “spiderability” of the site.
Redesign is typically thought of mostly in the creative sense, with lots of decisions being made surrounding branding, design, and best practices in UX. But for the best results, projects should also get a thoughtful approach that includes plenty of research. And while qualitative research is great, you should also include as much quantitative research as possible. Ideally, you would start with both qualitative and quantitative research during the discovery phase, giving the design and UX teams more information to inform their work, resulting in greater chances of success.
If you don’t pay attention to analytics, you’re essentially designing blindly (in terms of what users truly want). Website users tend to be very good at finding “creative” ways of using your site (i.e., using it in ways that you didn’t intend, and not using it in the ways that you did intend). In order to avoid this phenomenon, get someone with a “trained eye” to pore over your Google Analytics data, in the process revealing insights into how your old site is being used by real-life customers. Through doing so, you’ll avoid assumptions that could have been fatal, as well as identify core features that need to be carried through during the redesign.
If you involve an experienced analytics consultant, both from the beginning and as the project progresses, you’ll uncover invaluable, customer-centric information that will allow you to estimate the impact of site changes on your business and subsequently make decisions on design and functionality.
PPC strategies need to be reassessed during site redesign as well. Everything — from temporarily stopping paid advertising to making sure URLs are correctly changed — has to be taken care of during the redesign process. If this isn’t given the attention it deserves, you could easily end up spending quite a bit of money sending customers to a 404 error page.
Your paid advertising team can also shed insight on the number and kinds of landing pages you will need on your redesigned website, making sure that it remains aligned with your overall digital marketing strategy.
Although it’s basic, we’d be missing a huge point if we ignored communication. Communication between teams is key — you can never over-communicate when it comes to a site redesign. A free and steady flow of information, along with open reviews of changes being made, can help save hours of re-work or post-launch problems. Keeping communication open and involving a wide variety of marketing specialists during a redesign will ensure the successful outcome that you’re working toward.