If a website is not performing well or adding value to operations, seeing drops in traffic, or is only moderately effective in generating leads—then a website relaunch is completely necessary. According to a recent survey by marketing-BÖRSE, websites are the most important channel for new customer acquisition. An appealing design, relevant content, intuitive navigation, interactive features, and responsive design/mobile-readiness are also important elements of a successful website.
What Is a Website Relaunch?
A website relaunch is not only about changing the layout of a page or updating a site’s design, but rather it is a wholesale change of the website’s structure. It often times involves moving to a new domain, switching content management systems, or creating a responsive design website. A relaunch is useful in order to increase website traffic and for lead generation purposes, but there are other value-adds that make a relaunch a useful endeavor.
In this day and age, a company’s website is also its image and brand. Increasing search engine visibility, edging out competitors, and improved messaging with customers and potentials are all viable reasons and outcomes of a website relaunch. With this being said, it is essential that the goals of a relaunch are clearly defined before embarking on any substantial changes.
Opportunities & Risks of Website Relaunches
A well planned and professionally-executed website relaunch offers many opportunities for optimizing a company’s online presence.
An attractive, modern website layout offers companies the chance to differentiate themselves from their competitors and increase usability.
Increased operability, speed, and agility of the website to handle more complex tasks and offer higher quality content.
Added Value and Relevance
Increasing the relevance of your website by optimizing and enhancing content offerings, including text, images, downloads, and videos. This also leads to better SEO rankings and search engine visibility—allowing you to reach more potential customers.
An increase in user interaction and lead generation thanks to improved visitor management and better calls-to-action.
Cross Cultural Adaptations—A Necessity
Another important element of any website relaunch is adapting (localizing) the website for target markets. Colors, fonts, images, and communication style/verbiage should be defined for and adjusted to each target market. For example, in Europe it is common to have a contact submission form on a website, whereas in China a chatbox feature is preferable. Intercultural aspects such as these cannot be overlooked when doing a proper website relaunch.
At the same time, a website relaunch carries with it some risks—many of which can be mitigated with professional relaunch management services.
Loss of Online Marketing Investments
Budget spent already on typical website optimizations such as SEO, content, off-page optimizations, technical improvements, etc. that have been on-going and have led to increased traffic volume and good search visibility.
Loss of Visibility and Rankings in Search Engines
Unfortunately, it often happens that domain rankings deteriorate in the days following a relaunch due to technical errors with the switchover. Rankings can fall for several reasons, most likely due to incomplete redirects, initial programming errors, bugs, or other off-site optimizations that have yet to be updated.
Increased 404 Errors and Bad Redirects
While detrimental to search engine rankings, these also decrease the usability of the website and can be frustrating for visitors. For example, if a subpage with a high ranking in a search engine isn’t given a proper redirect, that page will display to the user clicking on it as a 404 error. While the ranking might remain, the website and its content won’t get the benefit of being seen or used by interested visitors.
Reduction in Content
Prior to a relaunch, a website might have had separate domains for each language/market (.com, .de, .fr, .co.uk, etc.). These former domains will be combined into a singular one with a language code (.com/en or .com/de), therefore reducing the overall amount of content available. This can have a negative effective on the searchability of a website.
Penalties for Duplicate Content
Simply copying content from the old website to the new one can create problems. From an SEO standpoint, this reflects negatively on the quality of content and reduces the level of value added, thereby lowering search visibility and rankings.
Loss of Quality Backlinks
For example, in a popular online business portal, perhaps there are brochures with backlinks to a product page or download sheet. After the relaunch, the URLs of those specific pages will have changed, but the information for those presentations in the portal may not have been updated correspondingly. Thus, these valuable backlinks will be lost.
Of course, the relaunch of a website need not be so problematic. This risk is best mitigated when the relaunch in planned in advance. In order to fully benefit from a relaunch, it is important to do a full status-quo analysis of the website vis-à-vis competitors, customer surveys, and target group analysis, as well as SEO status reports and queries.
For more information about relaunch management, including which processes should be followed and how to measure the success of a relaunch, please look to the second blog post in this series, found here.
To learn more about how effective world can help your company complete a successful website relaunch, please contact our Director of Online Marketing, Ms. Sara Valerie Noori by phone at +49 621 17893 150 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.