In my previous post “Avoid These Website Redesign Pitfalls” I was talking about about the danger of losing organic traffic when redesigning your website and how to avoid it.
In this post, we are going to talk about another website redesign pitfall, which is “loss in revenue or conversion rates” after website redesign. Did it happen? It did. In this post a website owner experienced a drop in conversion rates in his checkout.
Let’s start with what the purpose of website redesign is. The main purpose is to increase conversion rates and make your site more usable for visitors . In addition, it can also be for making the site look more attractive / professional.
Website redesign isn’t an easy job. Just imagine, your website is generating £7,000,000 in revenue annually. After the website redesign your revenue dropped by 17% annually. In this case it would mean £1,190,000 less money for your company annually. A disaster? I would call it the end of the world. Well, almost.
So how do you avoid such things happening to you? I am going to use a real and very recent example from a very well known company in the UK called autotrader.co.uk. Autotrader.co.uk is in the UK’s largest and most popular used car website, where you can advertise your car for sale.
autotrader.co.uk “old” site
Autotrader.co.uk Case Study: 2.3 million monthly visitors. Annual profit in excess of £280 million. Ranked as 41st most popular website in the UK by alexa.com.
Website Redesign Goal: increase the current annual profit and number of monthly visitors. Make site more usable and attractive for users. Retain position as the most popular car search website.
Challenge: How to make sure that after the redesigned site is fully launched, visitors are retained along with profits and popularity. The problem in this case: the site is very well known, looks professional, works well and visitors are used to the way it operates. A significant redesign could damage what the company has built over the years. Just for illustration, a 5% drop in annual revenue generated through their website would mean a loss of £14 million annually. So it’s a big gamble.
Solution: So what autotrader.co.uk came up with was this solution. They run both the proposed new and existing website at the same time. They use simple A/B testing, splitting a portion of the traffic to the new one. On the proposed new site they use a survey asking people to comment on the new design, plus measure what’s happening on the new website. I guess they will run this test until 110% satisfied with the results and then launch or maybe even don’t launch the new site.
autotrader.co.uk test page
Conlusion: If you already have a website generating a nice income for your business and decide to redesign it, then don’t just launch the newly redesigned site. Firstly split the traffic between the proposed new and existing site, measure the results, survey your visitors and when on 110% happy with the redesigned website results, then fully launch it. Doing it this way it could save you a lot of money.
Do you have similar exprience of seeing a drop in conversions after a website redesign? If so, tell us about it.