A Comprehensive Guide to an E-commerce Website Redesign Process
Redesigning a site is an excellent way to improve the user experience, enhance design and functionality, and uplift conversion rates. However, rebuilding one, especially an e-commerce website, is not all as easy as you think. Despite the various benefits it offers, sometimes the plan of working on a more radical redesign strategy doesn’t go as planned.
Not only can a bad website redesign plummet your website traffic, it can also can jar user experience. But the main drawback most users suffer from is losing their search engine rankings. We can’t deny the fact that it takes a lot of time and effort to obtain a good ranking, and the last thing anyone intends to do is throw it away and make a fresh start. That’s why it’s important to take into consideration many technical, as well as marketing elements before beginning with the redesign process.
Find a Valid Reason
First comes first, you must have a valid reason to rebuild your website. Remember, remodeling an e-commerce website is one of the most complex tasks that you can only accomplish after setting a prior goal. Here is a checklist of logical reasons to find out whether your website needs a new makeover or not:
- You are unable to update the content.
- It has complex navigation, and you can’t find information quickly.
- Your current site doesn’t fit your business needs.
- You are unable to target an audience or offer products.
- Your website isn’t mobile-responsive or it doesn’t convert any leads or sales.
- The website is not user-friendly and takes too long to load.
- Your site lacks advanced technology and functions, thereby killing your e-commerce sales.
Use a Crawling Tool
A crawling tool, such as MOZ, can be useful to create an index of your pages, check the content and links, and validate HTML codes. The index will help you find the information effortlessly when going back throughout the process.
When auditing your original site, don’t forget to save the crawl. This data will help you perpetuate the continuity between your new website and the current one. After creating an XML sitemap, make a copy of it and upload it. Additionally, make sure to add a link to your website from a robots.txt file and check if the URLs crawled by your tool match perfectly to the URLs indexed by Google.
Set up the Test Site
When tweaking your old e-commerce website, you might want to create a test version of the new one before launching it officially. Doing so will help you deal with web page errors, irregular markups, and other complex issues. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up the test site:
a) When creating a test site, set up a new database and replicate all the content from your original website to the new one.
b) During the extraction process, keep a record of changes that are needed to be made in the test site, including URLs, hyperlinks, images, etc.
c) To test new pages, you can create a subfolder within your existing site, and then allocate the new website in that folder.
d) To avoid the risk of overwriting and losing data, establish a subdomain for your secondary site by using a simple setup screen.
e) If you don’t want search engines, such as Google and Firefox, to display your pages on the internet, then ensure that your new website is non-indexed.
f) Consider purchasing a new domain for your latest website. The reason being that a different domain will clear all the confusion between your current live site and the test one.
g) Make sure to redirect the old URLs that you have changed to the new ones.
h) Eliminate all the links from the pages that you have removed, and keep track of the changes in the old site crawl copy.
Apart from these, there are many other factors that you should take into account when proceeding with the redesigning process.
Crawl and Audit the Test Site
Next, you will need to crawl your secondary or test site. Kick things off by verifying whether all the roadblocks found during the crawling of your original site are removed from your latest website or not. If not, then create a copy of your test site that you can edit to address and tackle the issues.
Matchup the Content
Take the following steps to make sure that your new site lines up perfectly with your old website:
- Address all the pages that display 404 error in your final new website.
- If any page is moved or consolidated, then set up redirects in .htaccess and update the links.
- Make sure that all the tags including title, meta description, and image alt are in the place.
Maintain a Consistent Internal Linking
Last but not least, it’s time to verify that all the links on your new website are working fine, hence, displaying the appropriate page or information to customers. After scanning your test site and removing all 404 pages, your brand new website is ready for launch. However, just to ensure that your site is ready to go live, run a final crawl.
If you are looking for reliable and cost-effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services or seeking a renowned company to redesign your e-commerce website, then get in contact with us. Call us at (877) 720-0022 or drop a line at [email protected].