Blog article cover: Website redesign: the 7 biggest content and web design mistakes you can make

Summary: A list of 7 common content and web design mistakes you should avoid during a website redesign to make sure your new website is a smart investment.

You're at home when all of the sudden, you hear your partner yelling from the other room that the printer still isn't printing correctly.

You remember now.

Getting a new printer has been on your to-do list for ages.

So you decide to run to the store to replace your old one.

After some deliberation, you pick one and rush back home.

You show the printer to your partner all proud and satisfied, plug it in, and install everything.

Then it dawns on you.

It doesn't even have half the features you or your partner need.

You've just spent your hard-earned money and time on something that isn't even what you need, nor helps you reach your goals.

A website redesign is just like getting that new printer.

You need to plan to make sure you don't make easily avoidable errors and get stuck with a cost, rather than an investment.

And to help you do just that, I've compiled a list of 7 common content and web design mistakes you can make during a website redesign so that you might avoid them!

1. Not preserving existing search result rankings

I know a wine store owner through a business network group. She had her website completely redesigned from the ground up by a third party.

Initially, she was thrilled with the result. But later, she asked me if I could figure out why her website didn't rank anymore in search results for the name of a specific wine brand.

The answer was simple.

Her website used to have pages with content about that specific wine brand and how she was the only wine store that imported the wine in Belgium.

When the website was redesigned, those pages were scrapped.

And with them, her rankings in Google.

Before you do any redesign, always make sure to perform an audit of the old website. This will give you crucial information about how well the current website ranks for specific keywords.

Use those insights to preserve rankings if needed. Moreover, they will also have an impact on the new site's structure and content.

Key takeaway — Always start by performing an audit of the current website. This will give you crucial information about what keywords specific pages rank for and will help you avoid nasty surprises.

2. Not setting any goals

A website redesign should be an investment. After all, if it will be a cost, why do it?

The only way to make sure your website redesign is an investment is to set goals with specific performance indicators.

Ask yourself:

  • Why are you redesigning your website?
  • What is the ultimate goal?
  • How will we measure if we've reached that goal?
  • Who will be in charge of following up on the progress?

Make sure you have a clear answer to all of these questions before you jump into the website redesign.

Psst. Want to learn how to set smart website goals like a pro? Read our ultimate guide to website goals.

If your current website already has analytics installed, do an audit of its performance. Write down all important metrics you want to improve on.

If you don't have access to any data of your current website, you'll have to make an educated guess.

Key takeaway — A website without clear goals and an active follow-up is not going to move your business forward. So you might ask yourself if a redesign is even an investment at that point.

3. Ignoring metadata

An excerpt from Google search results showing the title and meta description for a specific search result

Metadata is oh so important for your website to perform well, but it's overlooked a lot when redesigning a website.

Now I could write a whole article about metadata and about the numerous tags you could add to your page's HTML code, but that would lead us too far.

Right now, let's just focus on the two most essential metadata pieces: the page title and meta description.

Those two are simple to fill out in most CMS systems. But especially the meta description is often forgotten.

That's a huge missed opportunity.

They both allow you to add relevant keywords to communicate what your page is all about to both search engines and potential customers:

  1. Search engines - They use the metadata to understand what your page is all about. This means it will impact your rankings.
  2. Potential customers - The metadata is shown to potential customers in search results (see the image above). This means that they look at the metadata and decide whether or not to click through to your website.

So make sure every page has a title and meta description that is accurate and relevant for the current page.

Key takeaway — Your metadata can impact your search rankings and the behavior of potential customers. Make sure every page has a title and meta description that is both accurate and relevant.

4. Not improving on photography

You've seen it before:

  • Completely unrelated imagery
  • Stock photos
  • Unprofessional photos once shot by one of the coworker's nephews...

Most websites have awful photos.

And what makes that even worse, is that photographs make up a very large part of your website.

The redesign of your website is the perfect opportunity to do something about that.

Get a clear vision of the look & feel you're going for with the new website. Then, call in the help of a professional photographer to translate that style into photographs of your business and team.

It will make your business look a million times more professional.

Key takeaway — Photographs make up a large part of the look & feel of your website. A website redesign is the perfect opportunity to invest in a photographer and make your website look professional.

5. Not thinking about functionality

A website needs to look good, sure. But it's a huge mistake to not think about functionality first:

  • Clear website structure
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Clear call to actions
  • Minimising exit points
  • Easy expansion
  • Easy editability
  • Accessibility (for people with a disability)
  • ...

If you oversee any of these, it's much harder to change them after the new website design is finished.

It will take more development time and revision rounds to get it right, ultimately costing you more time and money.

Strategizing about functionality first will take some more time upfront. But it will make for a much smoother web design and web development process.

Key takeaway — Make sure to get a clear picture of the functionalities there need to be, before jumping into the design of your new website. It will save you time and money.

6. Underestimating time commitment of you and your team

A website redesign takes time and effort.

Planning, feedback, revisions, design, development, ...

It's not just an effort of the web design partner you work with either. It will also require you and your team to free up time.

Get clear on the schedule and plan the required time from you and your team (workshops, feedback, revisions, content & photography, etc.).

Setting expectations of your time investment and planning accordingly leads to a smooth website redesign process minimizing friction and frustration.

And isn't a fun, smooth experience what we all want?

Key takeaway — A good website redesign is a joint effort between you, your team, and your web design partner. Make sure you set aside and schedule enough time to make for a smooth process.

7. Not having a plan for optimization once the new website launches

You've put in all the time and effort to build your new website, and you've finally launched.

Pat yourself on the back. You made it!

But not quite ...

You see, one of the biggest content marketing mistakes you can make is to launch your website and just let it sit there.

Your website needs to adapt constantly to stay on top of the game and make sure you're reaching the goals you've set.

A great website should be followed-up and constantly improved based on visitor and customer behavior:

  • Performance analysis
  • Performance testing
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • CRO (conversion rate optimization)
  • ...

Key takeaway — A great website needs to be constantly improved based on feedback. So make sure you have a plan in place to follow up and improve your website over time.

Conclusion

A website redesign can be very exciting. But it's best not to get too far ahead of yourself.

After all, a redesign should be an investment. There needs to be planning involved before jumping into it.

That way, you'll avoid the biggest web design and content mistakes and make sure you're not left with a financial hangover.

Got questions about redesigning your website? Get in touch and let's discuss your redesign.

Maarten Van Herendael

Maarten Van Herendael

Maarten is Heave's founder. His passion is to help businesses like yours do great things with a website that looks better and sells more. You can find Maarten on LinkedIn.