Case Study: Website Re-Design, SEO & Optimisation
So i was tasked a website to re-design and optimize for traffic and conversions about a few weeks back.
They handed the reins over to me and i spent some time redesigning and setting up a sub-domain along with it.
I thought that a blog sub-domain would be great staff members can blog, post their thoughts, do some content marketing or post anything else regarding their work.
I’ve dabbled a little with Facebook Ads, Affiliate Marketing and Setting up of websites before. But this was a brand new challenge to me as i’m handling someone else’s site right now; a client’s site.
Other considerations such as client expectations, company direction and deadlines come into play. The element of accountability becomes very real!
First Steps: Website Re-Design
So to begin with, i took it upon myself to do a complete overhaul of the website for a few reasons.
- The website looked great honestly and served its purpose as an “Online Signboard”. But it looked quite dated to me and lacked vibrancy.I thought that it would be great if i could update it with fresher colours and placing staff members/clinic photographs at the homepage instead.I mean as a customer, i’d think that i want to see who i’m working with.As with people, impressions about homepage/websites are formed within the first 7 seconds upon meeting/visiting the website.
- Navigation around the website was quite a hassle. I couldn’t really ‘learn more’ about the company so to speak because i had to do a little digging around for the right tab before i could find company photographs.
- The website was quite ‘chunky’ with a loooooot of words. Readability was an issue to me.
- The previous designer used only html & css to build the website and it would take me quite some time to take over and figure it out.Not extremely proficient with web languages, it would take me some time to figure out how to move forward.
- Thought i’d use a “WordPress” CMS instead. Mainly because i was more familiar with it and would make my workflow a lot easier.
So what i did was make a backup of the old files then installed a “wordpress.org” CMS over it to manage the website. Why a WordPress CMS? 2 main reasons.
- Familiarity. I’ve tried to play around and design a few websites around WordPress CMS and loved it as it’s very intuitive.
- Flexibility. I love how much flexibility in terms of the availability of themes out there “themeforest.net” as well the plugins that make adding functionality to the website such a breeze.
Website Re-Design: Before & After
So here are the results of the website redesign. This is before,
As you can see i tried to put staff members as well as faces onto the front page to make the website much more personable and approachable!
Minuses: Setting Up And Tracking Metrics
Looking back, i should have set up some metrics or looked at some KPIs before jumping the gun and doing a complete overhaul on the website.
If i had tracked/implemented analytics, i would be able to track if the overhaul had a positive or negative impact on the website.
Whether or not traffic/SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings were affected or not. Right now, i have no idea what i did made any impact at all!
Also, with information from analytics at hand, i would have been able to do up a report for the client. I would have something to show and let the numbers speak for itself.
Minuses: Keep Spiders Off The Work-In-Progress Site
Another thing that i did not consider was that while working on the ‘Work-In-Progress’ site, i did not ensure keeping spiders off the site. By either,
- Password protecting the staging site
- Noindex, nofollow and disallow in robots.txt file
To keep google’s spiders from crawling the website.
But thankfully, i used a website maintaince plug-in called “WP Maintenance Mode” plugin while i was working on it. Phew!
This was an oversight on my part and i did not consider that it would have affected SEO while working on the redesign!
Minuses: Renaming URLs Without Individually 301 Re-Directing The Former URLs To Each New One
Ideally, 301-pemanently redirect the old URLs to the new ones. These 301’s need to be put in place immediately after going live before the spiders show up. 301s are the only redirects that conveys the PageRank of the previous page.
Not spider checking these redirects can inadvertently result in big ranking losses. Instead of redirecting some old webpages from the former site, i deleted them which is not the best thing to do.
Moving forward, i plan to come up with a plan to do proper tracking so that i can properly account for the efforts done on their site as well as carry out an SEO audit.
I have to firstly identify any potential issues/loopholes before moving towards solving them!
At the same time, i plan to be more active on their social media accounts as well; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This should be enough for now.
Lastly, i plan to move on to ppc management and advertisements. But only after a strong foundation has been set.
Till next time!