It’s a new year and you may be thinking that it’s a good time to get started with a redesign of your practice website. A redesign project can involve a significant amount of time, resources and cost. But did you know that it can also mean potential issues if it’s not done properly? Learn about the common risks frequently associated with a site redesign and what you can do to avoid them.
So why would a practice choose to redesign its site in the first place? There are several reasons. As technology changes and new features are offered, it may become necessary to migrate to a new site to:
- scale your practice
- stay ahead of your competition
- rebrand due to a recent merger or acquisition
- improve navigation and content
- remain compliant
- enhance security
- better meet your patient’s evolving online needs
To ensure a successful outcome, it’s important to not neglect the details. With a sound strategy and proper ongoing support, a new site can take your practice’s online presence to a new level. We’ve pulled a list of the most frequently made mistakes we see and provided some helpful advice on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Attempting to do it yourself
With the complexities of design, security, DNS support, information architecture, search engine optimization, content development, and accessibility compliance, it’s probably not the best idea to go it alone. Redesigning and supporting your site on an ongoing basis involves a lot of technical experience in coding, design, accessibility and security. The last thing you want is to break something you can’t fix.
Security must be taken seriously to prevent threats. Software updates should occur on a routine basis to ensure that your site isn’t a target for hackers. Your site being compromised due to a lack of proper support is something you want to avoid at all costs. It’s also important to backup your data regularly and have a contingency plan in place in case a security breach occurs. Consulting with experts and relying on them to do the heavy lifting is worth the investment to avoid costly errors.
Mistake #2: Failing to revise content and data for the new site
Over time, a lot of content may have been added to your site. Today it may be difficult to locate that content, making it an easy target to miss during a site migration. Be prepared to use a tool like Screaming Frog to locate missed files and develop a sitemap as well as a content inventory to update site architecture. When it comes to content migration, there are tools to automate the transfer process but know that they can’t solve all issues. Be sure to check your work. File naming conventions, site messaging, calls to action and overall content tone will also likely need to be adjusted in order to ensure a consistent tone and updated goals.
Finally, differences in database structures between sites may warrant some manual clean-up. This is especially true if you have a physician directory feature, blog posts or other feature plug-ins.
Mistake #3: Assuming existing site features will continue to work on the new site
Prior to a redesign, features such as online bill pay, patient reviews, HIPAA compliant chat, patient education content feeds and other plugins from the original site should be evaluated to see if they will work with the new content management system. Outdated features that aren’t compatible will likely require customization to integrate. Typically it’s a good time to transition to new features that will work in newer browsers and with your new platform.
When possible, choosing well-supported solutions is recommended as these tools are updated frequently, better supported and are more likely able to integrate when upgrading. Embedded solutions like Practis Forms or Practis Communications make it easy to upgrade.
Mistake #4: Not creating an SEO plan
You may have invested in SEO to make it easy for potential patients to find you online. You don’t want to lose that traffic due to a redesign. If you’re not careful, migrating to a new site without a proper SEO plan can be disastrous to your site’s rankings.
To improve navigation and content on the new site, many practices will most likely change site structure. While a good idea, making those changes can mean lost rankings if not done right. Having a digital marketing specialist analyze your site, create a detailed sitemap and a list of 301 redirects is recommended. Implementing 301 redirects is needed to notify Google on where your site content has moved to. Redirects also allow you to maintain page authority from the old page.
Don’t forget to check your site’s analytics before and after launch as well as create a Google Search Console account and enable it on your new site. Google Search Console will allow you to identify any HTML errors that occurred as a result of the redesign and address any issues.
Thinking about a redesign?
If you’d like to know more about what’s involved with a redesign, please reach out. The Practis team has technical architects, UX designers, digital marketing strategists, developers, all with extensive experience in successfully designing and migrating healthcare websites of all sizes.