When you’re in the midst of a website redesign, it’s hard to think about anything other than getting the website live. While focusing on the redesign process is key to its success, your team must think about what happens once the website is launched. Planning a post-launch strategy enables you to maintain and build on the hard work and dedication that went into the process for months and years to come.
49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel; Data shows that companies typically see a 5-10% drop in organic traffic after a website launch. Fortunately, taking measures now can help ensure you mitigate these impacts.
This article will walk you through key focus areas to consider post-launch. Your website is a continuous project that requires short, mid and long-term planning so your team can hit annual goals and KPIs.
Build a Comprehensive Search Strategy
Search is a key focus area during New Breed’s website redesign process. The process typically includes the following steps:
- Crawl and analyze your existing site to inform information architecture and content decisions to maintain search value,
- Define an improved keyword strategy while maintaining elements of the existing strategy that are working,
- Plan and deploy redirects immediately after launching the new website
- Ensure analytic tracking codes are deployed correctly in your CMS
The work isn’t done once the website goes live.
To maintain the best practices deployed during the site redesign process and improve your search presence, we recommend the following steps:
Content Creation and Optimization
Over the past few years, Google has put more emphasis on content. Your website’s visibility is directly tied to the volume and frequency of content you produce. When it comes to SEO, content truly is king. You need to make sure you are posting content that truly solves a user’s pain point, focus on the problem you are trying to solve and less on the rankings you are trying to achieve and visibility will follow. Furthermore, outdated content may be hurting your site’s rankings. Launching a new website is the perfect opportunity to retrogade your content performance.
Ask yourself, is this post that was published five years ago helping anyone? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to update; if the answer is no and this post gets very little traffic, you should consider removing it entirely.
Similar to optimizing your content for keywords and relevancy, it’s important to audit your internal linking strategy. Making sure content links to relevant pages such as related blog posts, solution pages, and conversion opportunities is one of the best ways to boost your site rankings, traffic, and conversions. This often overlooked step can hinder your website’s visibility and reduce the ability for users to navigate through your site toward relevant content and pages.
Update Your CTAs
Now that you’ve cleaned up your blog content and your website is ranking, it’s time to make sure your visual call to actions (CTAs) match the quality of your website. Furthermore, ensure the place you're sending visitors aligns with your blog's topics.
Your website visibility will only go as far as your ability to convert your users. A 30% increase in organic traffic with a 5% increase in organic contacts doesn’t do anything for your bottom line, so make sure pages drive folks to relevant conversion opportunities that match their intent.
Train your Team
Whether you’re leveraging a new CMS or building a new site on your existing CMS, everyone who touches the backend of your website must understand the information architecture and organization of the CMS. Dozens of companies have signed on for redesign projects simply because the backend organization of their website was so cumbersome that rebuilding entirely was a more viable option.
We don’t want that to happen to you.
While the website redesign project focuses on the user experience for end users, it’s also important for website owners to “launch” the website internally. We recommend the following steps to execute an internal site launch successfully:
- Create a CMS User Guide that introduces the standard operating procedures for creating and publishing pages, permissions, naming conventions for site pages, CTAs, files, images, etc., quality assurance, module use, and so on.
- Set up user permissions intentionally so the right people have the right level of permissions.
- Run a comprehensive team training to introduce the new website structure, modules, and user guide. We recommend creating “homework items” for internal team members to complete based on their responsibilities with the new site to ensure folks understand how to use the new modules correctly.
Suppose you transitioned onto a new CMS during the site redesign process. In that case, you must prioritize team training and enablement to ensure the backend organization of the website is scalable and that users follow a consistent approach for website updates.
Monitor Site Health
After a brief moment celebrating the launch of your new website, you’re right back to work creating campaigns, launching new pages, and improving existing content. As the website continues to grow and evolve, it’s essential to monitor site health in a few key areas continuously.
- Page Speed: According to Google, page speed is a key factor in mobile UX (even more important than finding what they want, the simplicity of using the site, or what the site looks like!). Leverage Google Lighthouse to audit the quality of your web pages and improve performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, search, and more.
- Search Site Health: Technical SEO is the foundation of any search strategy. We leverage SEMrush site health to crawl and identify opportunities for improvement in overall site health. This audit checks 140+ website issues making it an incredibly comprehensive and actionable tool.
While Lighthouse is a free tool, most of the recommendations for improvement need to be completed by a developer or technical team member who is comfortable updating code.
Establish Performance Reporting Cadence
While pre-launch vs. post-launch reporting can validate the investment of a website redesign, the real marketing juice lies in post-launch reporting on website performance. We can identify what content is resonating, what CTAs and landing pages are converting, and what gaps exist.
While vanity metrics (time on page, bounce rate, etc.) can highlight opportunities for improvement in the website, we recommend focusing on metrics that tie to company goals and KPIs such as revenue, marketing-sourced revenue, and retention. Below are a few key steps to make sure you’re prepared to analyze and act on website reporting:
- Make sure goals are clearly documented. Whether your business has time-specific or product-specific goals, it’s important to clearly define what metrics you're tracking toward so we can analyze data within that context.
- Clarify data sources to ensure everyone is looking at the same data set. There are multiple tools, filters, and reports you can use to export and analyze data and two different sources can tell a different story. Create internal alignment on your source of truth for website metrics.
- Establish reporting cadence and who is responsible for what. At New Breed, we report on our marketing efforts monthly, quarterly, and annually. Your cadence might look different depending on internal team structure and time-based goals, but whatever approach you take, make sure your team has clarity on WHAT the goals are and WHERE you are in achieving them at all times.
- Tell a clear, data-driven story. Data without context is just numbers. When reporting on website performance, you must ground your data in a clear narrative that explains how you got there, your shortcomings, how you plan to address them moving forward, and your successes and how you plan to replicate them.
Kelly is the Manager of Web Strategy at New Breed.
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