After your new design is launched, you may be surprised by the results... and not necessarily in a good way. Maybe some of the new pages aren’t performing as well as you hoped, and conversions are low. On the other hand, maybe your traffic is through the roof but it doesn’t seem like your site can handle it. What can you do about this?
Aside from A/B and CRO testing, which we’ve already covered, here are some ways you can resolve common problems that pop up with website redesigns.
Slow Site Speed
One common complaint, after a redesign is completed, is that the new site is very slow. Why does this happen, and what can be done about it?
Typically, a new website will have more graphics, features, and pages once it is completed. This can put additional strain on a server. Combine this with any kind of increase in traffic, and you have a recipe for a slow website.
Fortunately, this is usually fairly easy to resolve: contact your website host and ask about upgrading your server. Allotting more bandwidth or upgrading your available hardware resources is typically all it takes to speed up your site again. It may cost a little more, but in the long run, the reduction in bounce rates will be worth it!
Generally speaking, the homepage of your website should load in just a few seconds. If it takes more than ten seconds to load, you should consider reducing the amount of content on it, compressing any images, or upgrading your server (or even switching to another host).
Crashes or Server Failures
If you push your site or server to its limit, either with a large increase in traffic or demand in resources, you may see crashes or even failures. Again, resolving this is usually fairly simple: contact your host to ask about increasing your bandwidth or upgrading your hardware to better support your site’s demands.
Having said that, not all server problems are due to high traffic. If your server begins failing regularly, or your database is unstable, there may be a problem occurring that is both out of your control and not due to the redesign. Your host should be able to tell you what’s wrong. If they can’t, or are unwilling to help, it’s time to look for a new one.
Diminished Sales or Leads
Although the goal of a website redesign is usually to increase sales by improving the customer experience, sometimes sales will dip for a short period after the redesign is implemented. This could be due a few reasons.
With careful planning and knowledge of how your redesign will impact your website visitors, a redesign should only cause a minimal disruption in traffic at best. However, if any of these problems occur, you might actually see a reduction in traffic instead of an increase.
Fortunately, resolving all but the first problem is relatively simple. A short drop in traffic and sales is natural if you switch servers, and it will resolve itself in only a day or two. For the others, ensure that your site content isn’t duplicated, and that nothing was missed in the migration, and check your server logs to look for any 404s that aren’t being properly redirected. For ranking issues, look for any spots where content is missing or can be added, check your page titles and headers, and also make sure that every page on your site is linked somewhere from your navigation, header, or footer.
The first problem—customer dissatisfaction with the redesign—is the worst, and it takes time to resolve. Nothing is harder to fix than unhappiness, and sinking money into a new site that no one likes can feel like a slap in the face. However, if you followed our guide, we doubt you’ll have this problem. As long as you go into the process with a clear idea of how the redesign will help your visitors, you should be on the right track to grow your traffic, not lose it.
Confusion or Complaints
If you have a dedicated customer service department, you may hear a few complaints from those who knew the old website inside and out, and now have trouble finding what they want on the new site. To resolve these, consider setting up a training or Q&A session to address questions, concerns, and complaints.
Customers who call, email, or post on social media to complain or express concerns over the redesign should not be ignored. Customers who spend the time to tell you what they don’t like about the website should at least be thanked, even if you don’t agree with their opinion or ideas. Sometimes this kind of insight can be incredibly valuable, and can lead to much-needed improvements or inspire great ideas for future additions.
Keep an open mind about all the feedback you receive. It may sting a little, especially if you invested a lot of money or time into the redesign, but this kind of honest feedback can potentially make your site better than ever.
Drops in Ranking
Finally, it’s not uncommon to hear about drops in search engine rankings for important keywords or phrases post-redesign. As we indicated above, this could be because there is necessary content missing from the site, because 301 redirects aren’t in place, because the bounce rate is higher, and so on.
If you’re not sure why your relaunch has impacted your placement in the rankings for specific terms, dig into Google Analytics and look for patterns that may indicate a spike in bounce rate or any other metric. Compare the content on your old pages against the new ones. Did you rewrite your homepage copy and inadvertently remove all your keywords? Are your title tags “better,” but actually far worse?
Unfortunately, A/B testing isn’t really effective with SEO, simply because you’re trying to measure search engine happiness, not customer happiness – and there’s not always overlap there. If you can’t figure out why your rankings have dropped, consult a SEO company like WebpageFX for help.
We’re nearing the end of our guide! We’ll finish up our guide to website redesign with a case study from a real WebpageFX client. We’ll also provide you with some additional resources that may help you plan your redesign, set some goals, and perform CRO. Keep reading for more!