Redesigning Your Website – A Checklist Before You Even Touch Your Website

Redesigning Your Website – A Checklist Before You Even Touch Your Website

Redesigning Your Website

Are you thinking in Redesigning Your Website? Are you aware of what you need to do before touching the site? If you are not sure, don’t worry. In this post, we will tell you what to do. Keep reading.

Checklist for redesigning your website

Wireframes, comps, design — check
Ecommerce cart and product descriptions –– check
New copy, images, logo — check
301 redirects, title tags, meta descriptions, Google analytics code — wwwwhhhat?!?

This is the latest conversation I have been having with several of my clients that are going through website redesigns. Redesigning your look, brand and your web appearance is exciting. You are about to unveil a whole new look to market yourselves and your product to your existing customers as well as new prospects. However, with the new look, navigation and site architecture, you don’t want forget about the search engine rankings that you have already worked so hard to get. The following SEO Guideline includes a few things you should have in place for search engines before you launch that new site.

301 redirects

301 redirects are one of the most important pieces to have in place when you launch a new site. If URLs must change in your redesign due to a new CMS, coding or structure, it is critical to redirect all old URLs to their relative counterpart within the redesigned website. 301 redirects pass the URL proprieties, link popularity and page rank of the old URLs, and ensure that site visitors (and search engines) don’t receive 404 errors.

Add your Google analytics

You can add Google Analytics tracking code or any other analytics platform tracking code in your website. If you are using Google Analytics, make sure you use the new asynchronous tracking code.

Webmaster tools account

Since you will have new URLs, once you have placed your 301 redirects, you should update your XML sitemap and resubmit it to the search engines through webmaster tools account. This alerts the search engines to the changes in the site. You can now use the Google Analytics asynchronous snippet to verify ownership of your website for Google Webmaster Tools.

XML sitemap

Sitemaps are a way to tell Google and other search engines about pages on your site that are available for crawling. Creating and submitting a Sitemap informs Google and other search engines about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by their normal crawling process. Robots.txt Disallow any pages or directories that you don’t want the search engines to crawl – login pages, search results pages, shopping cart pages.  Remember to also include a link to your xml sitemap

Having a custom 404 page lets users know that they have landed on your site. Friendly 404 pages should have the same look and feel of your website with a link to the HTML sitemap or site search so users can find what they are looking for. With this, remember to make sure your 404 page actually returns a 404 header response code so the search engines acknowledges that it is not a real page for indexing.

Here is a great example of well-designed custom 404 page that incorporate nice messaging, a little fun, site navigation and HTML sitemap to help the user find what they were looking for.

Keyword Research

Naturally integrate keywords into your copy as well as the following:

  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Header tags: <h1> <h2> <h3>
  • Alt attributes for images
  • Anchor text for internal links

Keep in mind, this is only intended as a short checklist to get you thinking about SEO and your redesign and I would strongly recommend a complete SEO strategy, which would involve the above and include your site’s overall content, code, accessibility, authority, as well as researching how users search for your products or business.  The outcome of this work will ensure not only a great re-launch of your website and its products, but also the increased metrics and conversions you’re looking to achieve.

If you have any comment regarding this post or about Website redesigning, please use the comments box below.


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About Michael E

Michael is a new age digital marketer and he is a technical SEO analyst. He loves helping small business organizations expand their presence on the web.