By Natalie Boyd
Launching a new website isn’t the end of the design process. It’s just the beginning! Much of your site’s performance success derives from early planning: developing SMART goals, benchmarking key stats, knowing your audience, mapping out site structure, and optimizing for mobile. Yet, it’s the fine-tuning after the website launches that separates the pack leaders from the masses. Make sure you’re avoiding these common web design mistakes marketing departments commit after revamping their websites.
Web Design Mistake #1: Thinking, “Analytics? What Analytics?”
Analytical tracking is the only way to know whether your website is working optimally or not. Maybe you were on the ball, tracking your website before the redesign. Be sure you added your web and marketing analytics tracking codes back in! This oversight happens more often than you think.
Important metrics include:
- Conversion rates and bounce rates. Are visitors finding what they need and buying?
- Click-through rates and page views. Are readers following calls to action and navigating logically?
- Average time spent on the site. Do people enjoy reading what you have to say?
- Referral source. Where is your traffic coming from? Social media? PPC ads? Organic search?
- Number of visitors. Is your traffic increasing month over month?
Forgetting this one little step will leave you with no comparison to see if your efforts have been worthwhile. At the outset, you’ll want to integrate with free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console at the very least. Paid tools including Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Analytics 360, Kissmetrics, Moz Pro, and Adobe Analytics can also do the trick.
If you’re not sure what to do with this data once you’ve collected it, you can work with an inbound marketing agency such as SmartBug Media to create smarter strategies that boost leads, improve brand authority, and grow revenue year after year.
Web Design Mistake #2: Leaving Loose Ends
Have you ever clicked on a link in search only to find yourself taken to a blank “Page Not Found” dead end? Have you ever received a 404 error, rather than the information you were looking for? These messages do little to help the user who is forced to go elsewhere to have immediate needs met. Leaving loose ends not only frustrates users but also results in damaged brand reputation and missed opportunities for the fledgling website to attract prospects and convert sales.
Launching your new website may mean that some or all page URLs will change. Main pages often remain the same, but deeper landing pages and blogs fall victim to the reorganization. When teams reorganize page structure, they need to add 301 permanent redirects to let search engines know that the page has moved, while protecting domain authority.
Monitoring the site after launch will ensure that the site is performing optimally. Here are some things to look out for:
- At the time of launch, run a broken link check to see if you have missed any pages in your redirect plan.
- Fix all broken links with new page URLs, rather than redirects.
- Use Google Web Developer tools to examine error pages, search results, backlinks, and redirects.
- After a few days, check to be sure your 404 hits are not high.
- Type your target keyword phrases to be sure you’re not seeing all your old pages and dated URLs.
- Consider adding new redirects for popular backlinks if you have a corresponding page on the new site.
Web Design Mistake #3: Setting It and Forgetting It
Websites need a continuous supply of fresh content to remain dynamic, relevant, and fruitful. Companies often invest heavily in the website redesign but fail to budget for long-term improvements to the site. Ideally, websites are living, breathing extensions of your business—not a static, finished product.
Components that require ongoing attention include:
- Calls to Action - to optimize based on A/B test performance
- Landing page forms - to provide sales teams with the right information
- Landing pages - to highlight new services or products and remove discontinued items
- Blogs, news, and events calendar sections of the site - to update on a weekly or monthly basis
As part of your relaunch, you should sit down with your team and have the next 6-12 months mapped out. Who is responsible for developing this content? What topics deserve a place on the site? What top-performing old content can be repurposed in new ways? Yes, breathe a sigh of relief once the launch project is done, but avoid becoming too complacent.
A new website can work wonders for your business, improving trust, creating a favorable reputation, attracting new and repeat customers, increasing your bottom line, and setting you up as a leader in your industry. While the launch itself is a significant milestone, you’ll need to continue on your marketing journey to ensure its success.