Website makeovers are a labor of love. You spend hours pouring over new layouts, color schemes, fonts, code, and content. Weeks, maybe months go by, then one day you’re ready to share your “new baby” with the world. You excitedly relaunch your site only to find traffic has drastically dropped off.
You panic. Website redesigns are supposed to increase, not decrease traffic. What happened?
Well, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many companies lose 60 to 70% of their natural search traffic after a redesign. Here are some potential catalysts behind your traffic loss.
301 Redirects Weren’t Addressed
Did you remember to create a 301 redirect strategy? If the answer is no, then perhaps that’s why you’re losing huge chunks of organic traffic. When you don’t address 301 redirects, search engines will still go to the old URL to index pages, which is a major problem.
To fix it, you’ll need to create a 301 redirect map. First, create a list of all of the new URLs for the site and another list of the original URLs. Then compare the two, matching each old URL with its sister URL. Once you’ve mapped out all of the redirects, implement them. Then use a crawler to test them, and fix errors that you find.
Site Was Taken Offline During Redesign
Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, strongly urges you to never take down your site during the redesign process. It’s basically site suicide. By taking down your site, you’re cementing the odds of your traffic already being in a downward spiral before you even launch.
People who see “Sorry, we’re under construction” for any length of time will move on, and often never come back.
The solution for this problem is simple: never take down your site. The only time your site should be down is the few minutes right before you launch your new version.
When extenuating circumstances may force you to take your website down for an extended period of time, don’t leave your consumers hanging. Instead create a temporary placeholder. Here, you can include pertinent information (such as contact information), as well as the option to sign up for alerts, like for when the site will be ready.
Search Engines Still Need Time to Adjust
It’s normal to see a small drop in SEO results after you launch your revamped site. Search engines need time to adjust when a website changes, especially if the changes are drastic.
It’s important to give robots time to crawl your site. Typically a website’s ranking rebounds after one to two months. However, if you’re still seeing drops in traffic after one to two months, then you may have an actual problem such as missing content or pages.
While you should never brush off traffic loss, you shouldn’t panic either. Double-check your SEO integration, 301 redirects, and length of time since your redesign launched. Then make any necessary changes accordingly.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community