50 milliseconds. That’s the time an average person takes to form an opinion about a website. So from the get-go, a website should be visually appealing, factually accurate, and fully functional, with a contemporary design and smooth user experience that drives traffic. Those words might not be describing your clients’ sites right now, which is probably why you are here in the first place.
Can you imagine what it would be like for your client to have a salesperson advocating for their business 24/7? A website is that salesperson, and thus should encompass everything about your client’s business, offerings, and pricing. There is simply no room for an unstructured, irresponsive, difficult to navigate website in this world.
So if their bounce rate is increasing, content strategy failing, or they have been eyeing new design inspiration, you must begin brainstorming for a website relaunch.
- 5 Important Steps for Relaunching a Website
- Revamping Content
- Expert Recommendations and Tips on Relaunching a Website
Here are 5 important tips to help you successfully plan and execute your website relaunch strategy.
5 Important Steps for Relaunching a Website
Keeping your clients’ needs in mind, we have prepared these 5 quick strategic tips to facilitate the website relaunch process for your ease.
1. Planning the User Experience/Interface
User experience is key when it comes to a website’s prominence and visibility on Google. It goes way beyond design issues, and also relates to the main outline and structure of the website along with other technicalities.
Plan the Website’s Structure
A website is uncharted territory for first-time visitors, and whether or not they return depends on how well they’re able to navigate it. That’s why it’s so important to plan out a structure that makes sense and is easy to follow. User experience is as important as the website’s SEO so do not treat it as something neglectable or undeserving of attention.
- Create a list of new pages to add to the website, and assess what value they would add for the visitors as well as for the brand. Group these new pages and existing ones into clusters and link all related pages to each other. This gives prospects easy access to a structural list of related pages, and develops in-depth understanding around a key idea or value proposition. Use one page as an overview or starting point in this kind of pillar-based content.
- Create a map for the prospects’ online journey on the website to help them develop a sense of the website e.g., which page should lead them where and why.
- Create links between each page for easy navigation, so the visitors have a clear path set out for them and they don’t have to stumble around. All the pages on the website should be interlinked to each other like a spider’s web. The website experience should be incredibly smooth for the visitors.
- Decide the actions you want the visitors to take on each page and place them on the website in the form of CTAs (call-to-actions). CTAs will help you direct the visitors to the desired page or outcome.
- Make sure the prospects have full accessibility to information. Sometimes the FAQs and About pages are not enough, so either have a blog or a knowledge center where your client can offer valuable information to the prospects.
- Work around predetermined goals by clearly defining them. Define goals around traffic and conversion for the most important pages of the website or for each page.
- Identify aimless, invaluable, low-performing pages on the website, and either remove them, or improve them from scratch. Don’t forget to include this page in your map and create natural links between them.
Create a Design Guide
When you redesign a website for relaunch, have a clear guideline for design, while also keeping in mind the latest web design trends.
- Create or revise the brand style guide, which goes beyond basic design elements like spacings, fonts and colors. It should include a detailed description of the buyer persona, what impact you want the brand to leave on them, the brand values, and the brand’s tone of voice.
- Make sure the design is mobile-friendly and responsive for all devices.
- Give the visitors a clean, easy-to-understand user interface. The design should not confuse the visitors, but appeal to them, and guide them through the website’s structure.
- Design website wireframes, style-tiles, and the front-end overall experience to give the prospects a 360-degree, well-rounded UI/UX experience.
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2. Setting Benchmarks
Benchmarking involves using numbers, data, or metrics to evaluate the success and performance of a website relaunch.
- Before relaunching a website, check the current traffic, bounce rate, and average time the prospects spend on the site, along with signups, conversions, and page speed to see where the website is standing now. Record these stats as these will indicate the success of your website relaunch strategy. They help you see the dips you need to improve, where you need more work, and how much effort you need to put in.
- After recording KPIs, research industry and competitor standards. How much traffic do they capture for similar pages, what strategies are they using, how much and what kind of content on their website is being shared across social media – these are all relevant questions for you to look into.
Compare their metrics with the current ones and identify further loopholes in the current website. Benchmarking this way gives you an idea of your site’s performance, and how far it is lagging behind compared to industry standards.
3. Developing New Website and A/B Testing
You might have your own in-house developers, or you can choose to hire WordPress developer to build a new website for your clients. During the development phase, you can use benchmarking as a baseline to do some A/B testing on the website. This is especially helpful when you have a new website design or structure inspiration and you want to test it out against your recorded KPIs to measure their impact on the overall user experience of the website.
- Before relaunching the website, perform A/B testing on different devices to see if the website’s new design is responsive to different screen sizes and is mobile-friendly.
- Split-test the website’s performance on different browsers as well to check whether it performs with the same speed and maintains text and image resolutions.
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4. Listen to What the Visitors Have to Say
When a prospect visits a website, they leave a digital footprint. Everything they do on the website is fully trackable. For example, you can use Google Analytics and add tags to certain pages to see where the users come from, where they click on the website, what actions they perform, and more. Your job is to follow their footprint and see how well they are guided, or can be guided through the main pages of the website for effective lead generation.
- Identify which pages are causing problems, or are simply difficult to navigate by using KPIs and customer feedback. Say your client is receiving questions about pricing or product details on call. That’s basic information that should be extractable from the website. Use customer interactions and feedback to identify information to add and shortfalls to fix on the website.
- Offer real interactions to the customers through chat bots, one-on-one calls, and emails to answer any further questions they have about the services in offer. This can boost conversions and reduce cart abandonment. Moreover, live chat can give you the same insights as a call with a customer, so you can further improve the user experience of the website by quickly resolving common and urgent issues.
5. SEO – Stay in Line With the Latest Practices
53% of all website traffic comes from organic sources. This means that your website relaunch success largely depends on how well you perform on SERP, for which you need to follow industry best practices when it comes to SEO. Here’s a brief overview on how to improve SEO on a website.
- Rank for keywords with high search volume. Compare the keywords with the competitors’ and see if there is any opportunity to outrank them.
- Look at suggested search terms to get a feel for what people search for around the relevant topic.
- See if the website pages match the search intent of the keyword you are aiming to rank the website for by comparing website visits against conversion.
- Remove the least performing pages of the website if you feel they are not offering any value to the website’s traffic or generating leads.
- Learn from content that’s performing best on your website. Any trick, strategy, pattern or trend you may have used or followed while creating that content could work for future content strategy too.
- Create backlinks by networking with people in the industry, in niche communities and forums, as well as on social media.
Revamping Content for Website Success
While you are planning your website relaunch strategy for your clients, don’t forget to sift through the old content and pick out pieces to revamp, to keep, and to discard. Some of the content would be evergreen, while a lot would need refinement. Some will need to be rebuilt from scratch.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links showing error 301 or 404 not only leave a bad impression, but they also ruin the user experience of a website visitor. Fix these during a website relaunch mission.
Use Tools and Plugins
If you use WordPress as your CMS, then there are many plugins available that can target and fix broken links. There are plugins that let you create contemporary pop-ups you can use to generate leads, and plugins that produce beautiful WordPress sliders to display multiple images in an engaging manner.
Create Topic Clusters
Maybe you have written a group of articles under a specific topic cluster. You can compile them in the format of an ebook to expand your client’s email list while offering valuable insights to their prospects. You can use plugins to create pop-ups offering free downloads in exchange of email newsletter subscriptions.
Creating topic clusters is a great content strategy, especially when you know how to use it in different ways. Think about writing one article as a start page or an overview and linking related articles around the same topic so readers can find all related content in one place. This would work best with all the evergreen content pieces on your client’s website.
Revamping the content before your website relaunch is a great way to impress your clients and their prospects and tell them that your website relaunch strategy was a 360-degree, holistic approach to offer them fresh and updated content with the best user experience!
Expert Recommendations and Tips on Relaunching a Website
We asked experts what they recommend and practice when they relaunch a website. Here are some of the great tips and strategies they shared with us, and we have compiled them to help you achieve success.
1. Decluttered Website Gives Faster and Smoother UX
Mark Coster – Co-Founder and Lead SEO Specialist at Fairy Digital, Australia
“Whether your website is ecommerce or a single landing page or a blog, chances are it can be simplified both in terms of its visual appearance and its architecture. The fewer categories, the easier for your audience to find their way through your content. The fewer colors, effects and buttons, the more it will convert.
The benefits of allowing for a smoother UX are numerous. First of all, a simple, decluttered website will be faster, which will appeal to your audience AND earn you some Google love! Next, it will reduce your bounce rate, which tends to go wild with sluggish websites. Finally, simplicity is the first commandment of web design: when reimagining a website, we should all focus on things that we can get rid of, and not things that we can add!”
2. Keep Redirects Ready for Page URL Changes
Krista Baroncelli – Director of Client Success at Efferent Media, Inc New York
“As the Lead Developer at Efferent Media an SEO company for almost 10 years, I have relaunched MANY websites and have learned a few things. Below are two items off my website launch checklist.
– Always have redirects ready. Page URLs may have changed, and having the redirects ready so website viewers will still find the information they are searching for.
– Always un-check the ‘*Discourage search engines from indexing this site*’ I’ve had clients come to us with beautifully built and optimized sites that just didn’t rank well. With
that box checked, search engines will not crawl your website.”
3. Follow a Phased Rollout Approach and Update Sitemap
Karl Hughes – Tech CEO and Engineer/Developer at Draft.dev, Chicago
“A phased rollout approach is always best when relaunching a website, and that’s true whether it’s powered by WordPress or not. You can start by moving a subdomain or category first, and then give Google some time to crawl the new design and content. Then, after you’re sure things are on the up and up, you can move on to another segment of the site.
This makes it a lot easier to redesign and work on the backend, especially for a site that’s live and generating revenue. You don’t have to take the entire site down, and you can make minor adjustments. What’s more, because you’re working with smaller segments you can do it in the off-hours to save customers and visitors from a bad experience.
Some things to remember when doing this:
- Be sure to watch Google for crawler errors and notifications.
- Remember to update the sitemap when you’re finished with the rollout.
- Always notify customers and visitors before you start updating the site.
- Hire a consultant to do a comprehensive website audit when the work is finished.
- Watch out for 301 redirects! Fix those ASAP.”
4. Inform Your Social Media Audience to Increase Reach
Ouriel Lemmel – Forbes 30 Under 30 and CEO of WinIt, New York
“Before a website relaunch make sure all of your social media is synched.
With a relaunch, you want to be sure that you are getting the most out of the launch and reaching as many people as possible. There is no use in relaunching if you aren’t going to reach your audience.
Optimize your landing page for a website relaunch.
In terms of landing pages, simple is better. Let people know what your launch is all about but don’t overwhelm them with unnecessary information. And make sure you give them a concrete action to take and somewhere to click! Tell them to sign up for a mailing list or purchase a new product.
When we were working on a website relaunch we made a concerted effort to change our landing page to advocate for people downloading our app. It was a small fix but it was amazing to see that this one addition really increased our app downloads in a short amount of time.”
5. Make Your Website Responsive and User-Friendly
Christian Velitchkov – Co-Founder at Twiz LLC, California
“Make sure to follow these steps before you relaunch your website:
- Make the website user-friendly: Ensure that the website is user-friendly & any potential customer can find anything easily. A common mistake that people make while developing websites is that their website is not user-friendly. A confusing interface increases your bounce rate.
- Make sure that the website is responsive: Ensure that the website is compatible with all devices. A website should be accessible on all platforms such as mobile phones, tablets & laptops.
- Use your branding colors: While developing the website, ensure that you use colors that align with your brand. Doing this ensures that your customers remember you & increases your returning customer rate.”
6. Aim to Have a Fast Loading Website and Insert CTAs
Hilda Wong – Founder at Content Dog, California
“Make sure to follow these steps before you relaunch your website:
- *Use Call To Actions (CTAs): *Ensure that you use CTAs wherever you can. CTAs help you increase the results that you have set as goals. For example: If you want people to subscribe to your newsletter, provide a Subscribe CTA button so that a customer can readily press it.
Doing this will make your website fast & will not frustrate your customer.”
7. Plan a Content Strategy and Optimize Existing Content
David Bitton – Co-Founder & CMO at DoorLoop, Miami Beach Florida
“Make sure to notify your customers before relaunching your website. This is crucial since you don’t want to confuse or surprise your customers when they notice your website has a new appearance. Consider writing them a brief email and publicizing it on your social media platforms. Make a conscious effort to inform why you chose to relaunch your site, your aims with the redesign, and when they can expect the new look.
It is also advisable to plan your content strategy. You will need to maintain, edit, and add new material to your new site, so get a head start by strategizing in advance. Consider analyzing your current website content to see which can be copied over, which must be reworked, and which may be archived. This way, you would have content ready to publish when your website development team announces the website is ready for content.”
8. Perform a Website Audit Before Relaunch and Fix Errors, No index Tags, and Broken Links
Solomon Thimothy – CEO and Co-Founder at Clickx, Chicago
“It’s pivotal to make an audit and crawl of the website of which pages rank and list those with inbound links. This makes sure that we can evaluate our 301 redirects and do outreach to linking websites after the relaunch.
Having previous data on the last traffic and ranking pages, we can assess whether there are issues in our redirects, especially if there is an increase in 404 hits on the analytics. From the 404s, we can then analyze if there is no index, no follow tag, typos in the URLs, un-updated sitemap, or missed out robots.txt block. Additionally, by having a list of the pages with inbound links, the website can preserve the link juice by ensuring a successful redirect or by reaching out to them to reclaim their deadlinks.
We find it helpful to have the list since it passes more authority on our pages when it’s a direct backlink to the new URL.”
9. Optimize Your Website for Speed, Responsiveness, and Ease of Navigation
Nathan Hughes – Marketing Director at Diggity Marketing, Thailand
“As someone who has expertise in web development and digital marketing, I would say the loading speed, responsiveness, ease of navigation should be taken into consideration.
Maintaining a good user experience is the most important thing of all. To increase the usability of the website, it can be redesigned by removing some website elements that could decrease the loading speed or hinder the ease of navigation. Use templates that not only look good but are also responsive, i.e., the website can be accessed on any device. Updating the content with the relevant keywords and optimizing the pictures for SEO has helped us improve the website ranking on Google.”
10. Find a Host That Offers Great Uptime and Excellent Customer Service
Sander Tamm – Founder and CEO at E-Student, Estonia
“*If you’re re-launching your WordPress site, consider swapping hosts before you get up and running again. *Your clients need to be able to rely on your website working, so you’ll want to find a host that offers 99.99% uptime, as any time down may result in fewer sales or conversions.
* You should also look for a host with great customer support if something goes wrong, daily backups, fast loading times, and more. Google’s latest algorithm update takes website performance into account when they’re building their search rankings, so you’ll want your re-launched website to have a fighting chance at the #1 search spot!”
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Your website relaunch strategy determines the future UI/UX experience of your client’s website. If it goes wrong, they lose traffic and you lose out on your reputation, time and resources. Do your research and use the tips recommended in this article for a successful website relaunch.
Q1. How do you announce a new website?
While relaunching the website, announce that you are rebuilding it, and let the prospects know when to expect the new look. Add a coming soon page to your website, and promote it on your Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. Write press releases to tease the prospects of the imminent launch. You should also write a blog post announcement, and send out direct emails to prospects in the email list.
Q2. How do I promote my website relaunch?
Promote your website relaunch on your social media, and regularly update this with new content. Leverage email marketing, and place ads on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook.
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