Original source (which I wrote. )
We love backtracking to fix things right? Ya, me to. On a website a backtrack can cost thousands and sometimes a renders a complete rewrite. Really though, it would have to be a monumental fail to require a full rebuild, but I’ve seen it happen with terrible planning and a ‘one man show’ trying to do everything and talk to no one. At any rate, here are a few things that you will absolutely need to do before your next new build.
1. Mobile Strategy
Mashable recently touted that 17.4% of global traffic is mobile based. North America showed an increase from 9.4% to 15.2% in 12 months. This isn’t a trend that can be ignored. The hot button phrase these days is Responsive Design or Responsive Web Design (RWD). Responsive, or Adaptive design is a framework that is built into the website structure BEFORE the design layer is applied. Here is a smart description of what’s all up in the RWD shizzle (prepare for some gratuitous scrolling) http://johnpolacek.github.io/scrolldeck.js/decks/responsive/. It is a planned strategy which is chiseled out very early in the process. If you’re even remotely attached to local search, hospitality, cuisine or any service, you must incorporate a mobile first philosophy into your site architecture. Further depending on your particular market, you would be much better suited to develop a mobile specific website since usage and patterns differ greatly from the desktop to the handheld. Reverse engineering a large CMS based website to handle a responsive framework is VERY expensive. Don’t make this brutal mistake.
SEE ALSO: Responsive Design is not a Trend
2. Website Transition to protect Rankings and Web Traffic
A few years ago, it used to be commonplace to place a blanket redirect on the entire old website pointing to the homepage; maybe some suckers still do this. Anyone who does this now should be tickled to death by 500 baby chickens. Basically the premise is that migrating to a new CMS will rewrite your page names (URL’s). This will render all of your search engine ranked pages broken (except for the domain/homepage naturally). This will effectively turn off your traffic overnight and is generally frowned upon. The solution is developing a redirect map which points all of the meaningful pages to their new versions on the new website. This is done exclusively using 301 ‘Moved Permanently’ redirects. When done correctly, you will preserve your revenue generating traffic by redirecting people correctly. You will also protect your backlinks and bookmarks. Don’t screw this up!
3. Content Personalization
Success online right now is all about engagement. It’s about having a meaningful conversation with your target audience. We used to dictate everything to our visitors with terrible websites and endless, confusing internal linking structures. Links on the left, content on the right. Boring… The social media revolution or zombie apocalypse, depending on who you ask, has allowed us to engage directly with a very large audience as well as glean some very personal information from these networks in order to exploit their trust. By tapping into social ‘connect’ features, you can speak directly to visitors and display their friends right in your content! Content personalization is revolutionizing the way in which we deliver relevant and meaningful content. Don’t get left behind. Be sure to investigate whether your CMS system includes any content personalization features and how to get them running right away!
We’re pretty passionate about these issues and helping our clients get the most from their CMS platforms. All of our implementation projects feature each of these items above. We also take great pride in ensuring that our clients rip their CMS systems to pieces to ensure that they know exactly what the capabilities are. There are often hidden gems or perhaps an eye opening lack of features…
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