Website redevelopment and fixes

When your website is a little old or feels like it’s past its prime, it may be time to have your website redeveloped or touched up with a few simple fixes. A good, well-built website will last for several years, however, there comes a time when you need to be out with the old and in with the new.

Redesigning and fixing a website is a lot more than just simply applying a new theme and pasting across all your content, though, and there’s a lot which you need to take into account when you do it or are thinking about having it done.

One area which requires particular careful attention when redesigning a website is SEO: a redesign can and will have a major impact on your site’s ability to rank because a lot of SEO relies on a website’s design and underlying code.

Not only that, but it is important that your website redesign fits current best practices such as responsive design, for example, and that it is built in a way which far exceeds your current website in terms of performance.

I have seen several occasions where former clients have redesigned their websites thinking that they have made a huge upgrade when, in actual fact, it is a downgrade in terms of performance despite looking better.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. If you are wanting to redesign your website or iron out a few problems, there are plenty of things that you can do for yourself. As long as you do your research, you won’t run into any problems.

I am a web developer and digital marketing professional who has spent years creating, redesigning and fixing clients’ websites in addition to handling their SEO and marketing. I have created this page to help you get going with your website redevelopment.

Who Am I?

I have over ten years’ experience working in digital marketing, search engine optimisation and web redesign and development. My clients have included individuals and companies of all sizes operating across every industry imaginable.

With my specialist skills and experience, I provide my clients with a comprehensive service which takes care of everything in relation to their web and social media presence, helping them rank highly in search engine results pages and achieve huge organic growth.

I work closely with my team to deliver the best results for each client by designing a service which is tailor-made and fits their needs. The result is huge, measurable growth which delivers a fantastic ROI in all cases.

On this page, I am going to cover website redevelopment and fixes, and how you can develop a plan to have your old and outdated website transformed into something which is fit for use on the internet today. Website redevelopment is a long process which requires careful planning, research and execution, and by reading this page I hope to equip you with knowledge you can use to set a redevelopment plan into action.

Most of what you are about to read can be carried out by yourself—especially the research and planning—however I am available for an obligation-free chat should you need any advice or want to clarify any questions you may have. Feel free to send me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Analyse Your Existing Website

Before you do anything, it is key that you critically analyse your existing website. By doing this you can easily see where improvements can be made and identify what it is on your site which works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

I’ve come across lots of scenarios where people have gone into redevelopment projects blind due to a lack of research and not checking out their current website to see where they can make improvements. It’s funny, really—lots of people get so excited at the prospect of a redesign that reviewing their existing infrastructure doesn’t come to mind!

By identifying what works well you can retain this on your new website and get rid of or fix things which are lacking. Areas which should be looked at include:

  • General usability
  • Navigation and ease of use
  • Responsiveness on mobile devices
  • Loading speeds
  • Content and elements
  • Overall functionality
  • Compatibility with other browsers

There’s no right or wrong way to review your site—just explore it and make notes.

Kicking Off a Redevelopment Plan

Designing a website is a huge deal for any company, it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, and redeveloping one when you have grown accustom to something which works can be an even bigger deal.

With website redevelopment the stakes are very high—you want to produce something which is miles better than your old site, but how do you get an idea of whether your new site is going to be a success?

By creating a redevelopment plan, that’s how.

Redevelopment is a process like any other and it requires a comprehensive plan so that you can get an idea of the road ahead and see any problems before they arise. With all this said, here is a simple five-step redevelopment plan you can use and apply to your own website.

  1. Define a target audience

You may wonder why you need to do this… after all, you already have an audience. Whilst this is true, the nature of your audience may have changed since your current website was launched and so it is important to find out who your current audience is.

Remember, a redevelopment plan is starting afresh with your website and this means that you need to start everything from scratch, even your research.

Ask yourself questions like who’s using your site, what they are doing on it, when they visit, where from, what they are using to visit your site and who you would like to visit your site who isn’t yet doing so.

  1. Set your goals

What are you hoping to achieve from your website’s redevelopment? This is only a question you can answer, however, I imagine part of your motivation comes down to wanting to generate new leads and increase conversions.

As such, you should be setting your goals with this objective in mind and designing your site which motivates your visitors to take the next step and purchase your product or service. Your new site should also demonstrate industry expertise (a good way to do this is through blog posts) and show examples of your work where applicable.

  1. Draft a sitemap

You can’t possibly know how big of a project your website’s redevelopment is going to be if you don’t know what your website is going to include. The best way to do this is to create a draft sitemap.

Begin with the sitemap from your current website, this is the best starting point, and ensure that your new sitemap covers all your products and services. Your sitemap should leave no stone unturned and it’s always a good idea to look at existing pages and move them around or rename them to something which will help improve the user experience.

  1. Begin considering other elements

When you have your basic sitemap in place and have a rough idea of what your goals for your website’s redevelopment are, it’s time to begin considering all the other pieces of the puzzle.

You should get time estimates for elements such as writing new content, search engine optimisation, your new design, A/B testing, project management and, of course, actual development of the website itself. With these estimations, you can create a timeline and begin to plan, carry out and implement each individual element at the right time.

  1. Decide on roles and responsibilities

If you are carrying out redevelopment as part of a wider team, it’s a good idea to clearly define each person’s roles and responsibilities.

It’s great to have multiple people involved in a redevelopment project—after all, it’s a huge undertaking—but too many people can easily hinder progress, especially if nobody knows what they are doing and are just doing bits of work here and there.

SEO Retention During Redevelopment: Crawling and Auditing

Redesigning your website can have a detrimental impact on your SEO. General structure, URLs, meta descriptions, page titles and content can all be lost or damaged during the redevelopment stage which can easily result in your new website not ranking as highly as your old one did.

With site redevelopment, you have a lot to lose when it comes to SEO and it’s very important that you take it into account during the whole process and accommodate for it where appropriate. There’s nothing worse than having a site which is ranking highly and pulling in organic traffic, only for it to die a quick death after your redevelopment.

With a bit of careful thought and attention, you can easily use the redevelopment stage to improve your site’s SEO performance instead of harming it.

  1. First, crawl and audit your current website

Getting the structure of your current website and other information such as URLs and metadata provides you with a roadmap of your entire site’s layout. There are specialist tools which will do this for you, and with this information you can match your new site up with the old one.

It’s also a good idea to audit your site, too. This way, you will figure out which parts of your website search engines don’t like so that you can either fix or get rid of them. It will also show you which areas search engines do like so that you can retain them.

  1. During redevelopment, noindex your new test site

This is where lots of redevelopment projects go bad. If you are working on a live test site, then having it indexed by Google is the last thing you want to happen.

Not only that, but if you are adding quality content to your new site and it is getting indexed, when you go to launch your site it won’t be able to rank as Google will see it as duplicate.

Your site can be noindexed very easily, regardless of whether you are using a content management system or otherwise.

  1. Perform crawls of your test site

You need to determine how your new website is structured and this is done through crawling, just like you did with your current website. This will enable you to see how your new test website looks in comparison with your current live website.

When you have performed these crawls and are presented with all the data, you can match it up between your old site and fix any errors which you come across.

Other Best Practices for SEO Retention

With enough pre-planning and knowing what to look out for, you can avoid SEO problems which will obliterate your rankings and, more importantly, remain visible during the redevelopment stage. These will also help you perform well after your redevelopment has been deployed. Treat this as a checklist for best SEO retention practices:

  • Keep your old website live on a different web address. Make sure that it’s not being indexed and can’t be accessed by crawlers. Having your old website live, at least during the earliest days of your new site being operational, can be a godsend when you hit a brick wall.
  • Keep your crawl data for both your old and new site. You’ll probably need to do some more analysis further down the line and it helps to have it saved.
  • Keep things the same where you can—there’s no use fixing something which isn’t broken, and this applies especially to URLs. If you have to make changes then that’s fine, but only make them if they are needed.
  • Retain old content which performs well. Again, why fix something which isn’t broken? Tweaking content is fine, but if you have blog posts which are pulling in traffic then what’s the point in replacing them?
  • Keep on-page optimisation the same. A site crawl will make it easy to export all your on-page elements such as page titles and meta descriptions, and this should be kept the same unless it’s obvious that improvements could be made.
  • Double check that your internal links still work. Again, using your crawl data here can help. If you had pages with tonnes of links which no longer have any post-redevelopment, then this can harm their ability to rank. Watch out for dead links, too, and either fix or remove them.
  • Keep an eye on your rankings. It’s normal to see fluctuations shortly after the launch of your new site, however, you want to be back at the level you were before—if not higher—and if this isn’t happening then investigate why. With larger websites it can take a little but longer for large pages to be recrawled and indexed, but it will happen eventually.

How I Can Help You

Website redevelopment is a huge project which takes a lot of time to plan, create and execute, and then there’s lots of things which you need to look after going forward, especially in relation to SEO. The key behind redevelopment is to have a good plan in place and be aware of SEO problems which have been the cause of many a website’s demise.

It is entirely possible for you to oversee the redevelopment and redeployment of your new website, however, it’s always a good idea to outsource this to professionals such as myself if you want the very best results.

I have handled the redevelopment of several websites from start-to-finish, helping my clients to not only get a fresh new website but also rank far better in search engine results pages.  Working with me and my team gets you a comprehensive service which does far more than deliver a snazzy new website.

My services are simple, straight to the point and are designed to get you measurable improvements as quickly as possible. My only interest is helping your business succeed and get the results which you want.

Still Not Sure?

Still not 100% sure about what to do next? Not a problem! I am here to help, and I recommend that you start by having a read through some of my other resources. I have also linked out to other useful resources on this page and recommend you have a read of them.

You can also send me an email if you would like a helping hand or want to clarify some of the points made here or elsewhere on my website. Whilst website redevelopment is a big project, it is quite easy with a plan in place and when you know what to look for in terms of SEO.

Still, if you think my services could be useful then please do get in touch! I am proud to provide obligation-free help to anybody who needs it, whether it’s to simply ask a question or receive some basic website redevelopment advice.

Do you need help with your business?

If you would like to talk about getting your marketing where it should be, get in touch now.