Having a successful website design company, I see it happen from time to time. Either we get a client or get a website maintenance client and they want a new website design. We ask why (yeah, not many web design companies would ask that) and after a few more questions, we find out they want more traffic to their site and they think just changing the design will do that.
Does changing a website’s design increase traffic?
Not usually. In fact, the opposite usually happens!
We even tell clients who go through a web design to expect traffic to drop for a week or two. Why? Well, the basic theory on this is Google. Google crawls the website and they see things have changed. They wonder if things will keep changing. Since they don’t monitor websites on real-time but instead send spiders over to websites to check them out every so often, Google’s trust of that site dips. And it makes sense. If the website keeps changing, they think if they send someone to your website for a search result, it might not be what they are expecting. So, they wait. If your design stays how it now is and doesn’t keep changing, then Google starts trusting it again as a good result (if the new design was done well) and your rankings are back up. Sometimes those rankings do get higher if you’ve done improvements to the website.
Sometimes we see clients go to another web design company and when the new design comes out, we do some quick testing. What often happens is, we see problems or the speed is too low or (even today as I’m writing this) we see Google say the website is no longer responsive (mobile friendly). So, wow… they’ve gone backwards with a new web design and ended up in a worse situation because the web designer missed a few steps or didn’t do good enough testing. Yikes.
There are lots of thing a careless web design company might miss. In fact, we have an internal list we’ve developed over the years of over 200 things we check to make sure everything is done right – and this list keeps growing. If 10, 30, 50, or even 100 of those things are missed, you could end up with a worse website that does not rank higher when you do a redesign.
You definitely need a good web design company that pays attention to details and knows what they’re doing.
Yeah, I’m saying you get what you pay for.
What can we do to make our website rank higher?
There’s a lot you can do to get your website ranking higher that may or may not require a website redesign. Sure, if a website is in really bad shape or isn’t mobile friendly, then doing a redesign makes total sense. Let’s keep that in mind. Again, make sure the work is done by a quality team.
Here are some factors that will help your website rank higher:
- Make it responsive/mobile-friendly
- Make it load faster (better coding, decrease image sizes, etc.)
- Make it load securely
- Have better content (original content that converts visitors into leads/sales)
- Clean up errors at Google Search Console
- Get better website hosting
- Use a CDN like Cloudflare
- Have a better website structure
- Remove or noindex old / out of date content
- Make sure people stay on your pages longer (lower bounce rate)
- Fix 404 errors
- Fix broken links
- Add schema/microdata
Those are on-site SEO (search engine optimization) factors. There are also off-site SEO factors like:
- Get more high-authority links from other websites
- Make sure your citations (NAP: name, address, phone) are consistent everywhere on the web
- Get your visitors to share/talk about your website/content (social media)
- Do guest posting on relevant websites / online networking
- Obtain links from the same websites your competitors have
Of course, be careful with off-site SEO and don’t do all those things too quickly or it won’t look natural and you’ll get penalized. Fixing that sometimes involves just starting over with a new domain name, so it’s pretty serious.
Sometimes your site’s presentation does matter but sometimes not…
I’m not saying a new website design won’t help. In many cases, we’ve seen a better designed website helps people find what they’re looking for and lead to more sales and leads. This happens all the time… for sure. Just cleaning things up can help quite a bit. And if a design is old, it could either hinder usability or just plain have a look that isn’t pleasing. Websites must convey trust and it usually is the first impression of your business, and that matters… tons!
Getting a copywriter to write good copy (text) is the most important thing you can do to get your website to bring in more leads and sales. Most business owners overlook the copy and if that’s not professionally developed, you’re missing out on half of what a website redesign can do for you. There’s psychology in copywriting and that is why copy matters. With the right words, you can sell – you can convert visitors into buyers. It’s not making the design more “pretty” or something, it’s the text because the text grabs attention and sells!
If you’re going to invest in a new design, it only makes sense to get good copy that converts so that you’re not wasting your money. Words matter. In fact, if your design is decent (not horribly ugly), just change the copy. I’ve seen the plainest looking websites convert super well because it just had really good copy on it.
Having a design team that has studied the user experience and user interface goes a long way. We’ve got 2 designers now that have their certification. They know where buttons should be, how they should be weighted, what makes the most sense to people – all of that. There are a lot of design rules that so many design companies either don’t know about or just skip. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
It definitely takes a team of experts to do good website design, so if you do a new design, do it right and you will definitely see an increase in rankings once you get past the first 1-2 weeks your new site launches.
Text in your title and meta description better be compelling
That text/copy better make people click. People need to think, “if I don’t click on that, I’m missing out or something” or that your page is the result they’re looking for.
You should be experimenting with different page titles – and I’m talking about the HTML title, not the title of your article, although both do matter. The HTML title is what the search engines see and use, so that one is important to get people to click on your link. Once they get to your page, the page’s headline should continue to draw them in.
The description (meta description) supports the HTML title. If people aren’t quite sold on the title alone, the copy in your description needs to win them over. Does that mean it’s keyword rich? Not necessarily. You’re writing for a human here, not a machine. The copy in the description needs to appeal to a human and get them to click. That’s so important.
Keywords also matter a whole lot
Choosing the best / right keywords to optimize for is another, huge factor with getting your website to rank higher. Again, we’re talking about words, not design. There are certain keywords that will cause your website to rank high. You need the right formula for choosing the best keywords that will make Google rank your website higher. Yes, I thought this was dead since the whole Penguin/Panda thing but this isn’t true.
Post launch procedures matter, too!
If you get a new design and your designer thinks they’re done, then you’re again, only getting what you paid for because there are things to do post-launch that really matter.
There’s lots of testing to do – along with checking Google Search Console, the final page speed score, load times, server logs, testing forms, testing other functions, monitoring, and so on. There are lot of technical pieces to a website and all of that needs to be looked over and tweaked once a website launches. We usually take a week to get all that work done.
Think like Google
New websites launch every minute – every second, actually. New pages go up, tons of things change. Google has to sort through all of that. In order to give the best results, they need to look at every, single technical piece of your website. The cool thing is, all the technical stuff is within your control. Yes, you get to determine your own website’s ranking (to an extent).
Let that sink in… you get to control your website’s ranking!
Think about it this way… if you (or the web designer you choose) doesn’t do all they can to help you, then yes, your website could easily rank lower after a redesign. Or, it could rank higher if they have the time budgeted to do all that extra work to make sure everything is done right and how Google wants. If any of that is missed, your competition has a chance to rank above you – leaving you scratching your head, wondering why.
What do you think?
Leave some comments below and let me know what you think.
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