New Year, New Website?
With many of us considering January as a fresh start in all kinds of ways, it's often the time we're approached about site relaunches, rebrands and other reboots of a digital presence. Fortunately this is well within our purview and we are used to guiding clients through the process, especially through the considerations that non-marketers may be unaware of. Here we discuss the three main issues that need to be sorted before a site relaunch happens.
Will the IA stay the same?
IA simply means information architecture, it's the structure of the content on your website. This is a problem relevant to the size and purpose of your website, with content-heavy sites needing more careful consideration.
Google uses the information architecture to decide how easy your site is to use and how relevant the content is. That's why it pays to have informational content organised with hub pages for resources that provide the easiest pathways for your users to navigate; the internal links tell search engines how your site is structured.
If you make wholesale changes to your information architecture you'll most likely end up with poor or no placement in search results because Google no longer has a snapshot of your (previously excellent) site structure. It will pick these changes up at the next major crawl, but that means potentially months of poor search results with no guarantee that the new structure will be seen as favourably.
If you have good page ranking at the moment, keep the information architecture in a relaunch the same, focusing instead on the graphics, colours and visual layout of your site.
Will we be adding more elements to page templates or layouts?
Adding videos, more buttons and embedded content is one way of adding potentially useful content to pages that may well serve customers better, but you must be aware of the effect of this on the page loading speed.
There's a fine balance to be struck between content and usability, and if you have too many elements that need to load (especially from external hosts) then your whole site may load too slowly to be considered useful by search engines. This will often lead to customers clicking back if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load and that affects how search engines see you as well.
Instead of adding bandwidth-heavy content to all pages, consider nesting pages with this stuff further down the IA, with quick loading content on the main page and a link to pages containing video or other slow to load content on separate pages.
If page speed is currently an issue, use these tactics to improve the speed of your main pages as part of the site relaunch.
Are we changing host?
This is often a decision driven by cost with the lure of cheaper hosting, tempting website owners to save money. While this doesn't always impact SEO, it can have a negative impact if the site takes too long to load from the new server. If there's no issue with page speed and the technical aspect works, we recommend staying put unless the cheaper option is located in the same place, with the same capacity as your current provider.
Once these questions have been explored, we can start to look at the look and feel of your new website, from branding and colour choice to improved structures, better content, a strong linking strategy and more. Contact Parua today and we'll create a new start together.
Tel: 01242 697 692