Planning or redesigning a website can be exciting but there are some essential things to consider especially when redesigning a hotel website that is already ranking well in the Search Engines and has a high conversion rate…when considering a website redesign you don’t want to undo all your hard work by focusing on creativity and visual design by totally ignoring the practicality, functionality, content and Search Engine Optimisation – SEO – components.
Of course, it is important to have a great looking website suitable to your market positioning, however traffic, conversions, and functionality are what will ultimately govern its success or failure. You cannot convert if customers cannot locate your website or worse, they find it and it is hard to navigate or find the information they are looking for causing undue frustration.
So in order to minimise the risks involved in redesigning a hotel website, you must consider these points:
Web browsing habits are changing, particularly in the travel space. Your prospective guests Market research, keyword research and community mapping – these will dictate who you are targeting. Analyse valuable information and data from you existing website and identify what works well – which pages rank higher, get the most traffic, deliver the most conversions and make sure you retain these in your website redesign.
2. Website Navigation/Structure
If you are not happy with the existing site then this is your opportunity to re-structure or to make sure your information architecture is set up for optimal visibility and conversions. A clear and user-friendly navigation will give your visitors a great experience as well as ensure the Search Engine “spiders” can easily navigate through the site and index and rank your pages accordingly.
3. Mobile Website
A large proportion of searches for hotels are done on mobile devices so this has to be a consideration. Whether you go responsive, adaptive, mobile site or smart phone apps will ultimately depend on your site complexity, time frame and budget.
The quality, visibility, and relevance of your content will be one of the most influential factors in determining the success or failure of your new site. Creativity and individuality in this area seems to be always overlooked. Your content ( and images)needs to be compelling, fresh and engaging with the right amount of text on the page for Search Engines to love it! Also under the banner of content you need to consider whether there will be a blog integrated into the overall website design. Considering your content beforeyou finalise the site design will make it far more functional, profitable, and effective.
5. SEO Components
- Redirects – 301 & Canonicals – Inventory all pages, incoming links, and pages that rank well from the very beginning. Don’t forget about subdomains. As the URL structure is changed, a redirect strategy will be incredibly important to retaining any SEO rankings and rerouting referral traffic to the new pages/URLs. A 301 redirect tells the Search Engines that your pages have moved; without 301 redirects a Search Engine will think you have deleted your high value pages and created entirely new pages, thus potentially losing valuable accumulated link and page value.
- Navigation: How easily your site can be navigated, by both human visitors and search engine spiders, will have a significant effect on the visibility and conversion success of your new website. Having found the site, can users then navigate through it easily.
- SEO – technical – this involves more than 200 factors according to Google. However the main areas you want to think about are:
- Basic SEO – have you implemented “behind the scenes” SEO elements such as title tags, meta data, H1 & H2 headings, and have you assigned keywords to specific pages and within your content.
- Page load time – Your redesign should be seen as an opportunity to speed up your site, not slow it down. Users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less! Search Engines now include page load speed as a ranking factor.
- Coding – spring clean the code so spiders can read easily eg ensure your web developers call scripts and CSS styles from folders rather than embed them into page templates
As you can see there is plenty to consider before and during your website re-design process. Following these five steps will help ensure that you end up with a fully functional, Search Engine-friendly website that your users will come back to time and time again…and a site that will drive revenue growth for years to come…. Contact Us for a preliminary chat.