Too often when companies set out for a website redesign, they think only in terms of aesthetics. Does it look pretty? Do we have an arresting photo and killer headline? But, to get a website that’s working for you (read, getting you customers), you need to answer the following questions.

1) Did you audit your old site?

WHY NOT?! You need to know how many visits/visitors/unique visitors you’ve had. Then, you can set some goals for your new website. Or else, what’s the point? Also, what were your top keywords? If you don’t have some working key words, you might as well write your site in Farsi (which is OK if all your customers are in Iran).

2) Are you including powerful keywords?

Did you do your keyword research in advance and build your content strategy around the things your customers are seeking? Too many companies are still trying to bolt keywords onto their site after the fact. Oh, and by the way, are the keywords in the page title, the meta-description, the HTML text? What? Didn’t think about those?

3) Are you setting up 301 re-directs?

No!! Look, the 301 redirects help you keep the juice from your old website. People who know a lot about this stuff say it’s “SEO suicide” if you don’t redirect. Just sayin….

4) Is someone considering the URL structure?

What works better dashes or underscores? Aha! It’s a simple matter, but if you don’t know the answer, you could be blowing lots of opportunities. – or _ What’ll it be?

5) Do you have “shady backlinks?”

Sounds sinister, doesn’t it. Is your site carrying around spammy, low-quality links? Sounds slimy. If so, you may be getting “negative SEO.” Yikes! Nobody wants NEGATIVE SEO!

6) Are you implementing responsive design?

Land sakes! Why would anyone NOT implement responsive design? Wait, I know what, let’s implement UN-responsive design. Who needs visitors? Let’s make our site obtuse and puzzling. Is anyone recognizing the sarcasm here? Responsive design means that your website gives visitors a quality experience and all of your content regardless of their device type. We’re trying to make things smooth and seamless for our visitors. And do you know who else wants that? Google!

Responsive Web Design

7) Have you unblocked search engines?

Let’s just say this: if you redesign your site and forget to unblock search engines, you might as well publish your company’s important information by skywriting it. After a few gusts of wind, no one will ever find it. It’s a simple oversight; make sure you don’t overlook this.

Look, if you read these carefully, you’ll see that they’re all common sense. Knowing what has worked and what hasn’t (audit) makes sense. Using powerful keywords makes sense. Designing a website that is responsive, that a HUMAN can follow, makes sense. If you aren’t a technical or web analytics expert (and most people aren’t), get someone to help you in your redesign. It’ll mean all the difference in your site’s performance.

Ed Barr

Ed Barr

Edward Barr, author of Your Lizard Brain is Calling You, is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on neuromarketing. His experience as a professor and researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, and as a global marketing executive in for-profit and non-profit organizations, gives him a unique perspective on the emerging science of neuromarketing, along with a practical understanding of how to put this knowledge into action.

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