When I first began building websites, I remember thinking that I was going to have to continually find new customers. I was wrong. Technology changes quickly and what was once the “latest trend” (Remember Flash? Frames? Javascript menus?) can actually become detrimental to your ability to get found in the search engines or to load on a mobile device.

Whatever your reason for deciding to redesign your website, let’s face it, a website redesign can be expensive. But, keep in mind that they can become REALLY expensive if you make things worse by overlooking things that will then need to be corrected later.

There are plenty of website redesign mistakes that can be made, and I don’t intend for this article to be a complete list of everything that can go wrong. In fact, it is really just meant to help make you aware of the fact that things can go wrong so you can put a plan in place to mitigate the damage.

Common Website Redesign Mistakes

(BIG) Mistake #1: Destroying your SEO efforts. 

Arbitrarily deleting or renaming pages without redirecting them can result in a significant loss of search rankings. Inbound links will be broken, bookmarks will not work, and your visitors will be greeted by a 404 (page not found), which is not usually a good experience.

Search Engine Land has a list of some more website redesign mistakes that can destroy your SEO efforts.

Mistake #2: Not choosing a decent web hosting company. 

Speed, support, and security are critical when it comes to choosing a company to host your website. Unfortunately, many businesses figure out that they chose wrong at the most inopportune times, such as when you experience a surge in traffic in the middle of a marketing campaign. CNET has a good article to help point you in the right direction.

Mistake #3: Guessing as to what your visitors are looking for when they visit your website.

There is no room for guessing when it comes to creating content. You need to understand who your customers and potential customers are and what they are seeking before you can provide them with the information that they need in order to help them make an informed decision.

Mistake #4: Content that is focused on you and your business, not the customer. 

Believe it or not, most people aren’t visiting your website to learn how great you are. What they are usually looking for is a solution to a problem, an answer to a question, etc.

Mistake #5: Pages that aren’t scannable.

People have very short attention spans and your content needs to be formatted so they can quickly figure out if it is relevant to them. You can do this by organizing your content with headings and subheadings, by using bullet points and numbered lists, by including eye-catching photos and graphics, by bolding correctly, linking correctly, and using white space correctly.

Mistake #6: Too much or too little of anything. 

Your website should not be too busy … or too plain (unless you are Google). It should not have too much irrelevant info … or too little relevant info. Basically, just as if you were staging a room, sometimes you need to add or remove things until you have achieved something that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Mistake #7: No plan. No goals. No clue. 

What are you trying to achieve with your website redesign? What problems are you having with your current website and how will a redesign address these problems? Have you looked at your existing data to understand what areas need to be improved?

Mistake #9: Slow loading times, not implementing a responsive design, not focusing on the mobile experience. 

Focusing on the user experience across all devices is imperative and should be one of the top considerations; in fact, it is likely one of the top reasons that most companies are even considering a website redesign in 2020.

Mistake #9: Not letting the search engines know about your domain change. 

If you were moving to a new home, you would let the post office know; and, it is no different when changing domains online. Use the change of address tool in Google’s Search Console and submit your new sitemap so they can crawl your new site.

Mistake #10: Having too many cooks in the kitchen. 

Let’s face it, the committee approach to a website redesign is a recipe for disaster which will often lead to a mash-up of different personal preferences and opinions that are not based on data. If there needs to be input from upper management, give them limited choices “do you like this shade of blue or this shade of blue” and leave the major decisions to the experts.

I started this website to help teach the DIY marketer to do things themselves, and I still believe that most people can learn the basics of just about anything. However, if my business depended on a successful redesign and I had never done one before, I would hire an expert. If you want to learn how to build or redesign a website, practice by building a hobby site so you can get your hands dirty without making a huge mess.