Thoughts from Steve
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The Most Important Question to Ask to Avoid a Website Rebuild Traffic Disaster
For years, you've worked hard as a campground owner to build your business attracting new campers and RVers. Your 'regulars' continue to come back year after year; they know how much you love improving on an already great product. As you review your website analytics using Google Analytics, you notice an increase in traffic year over year. As a member of the OPCA you will note that the majority of your referral traffic comes from the Camping in Ontario website. You also see an increasing number of visits from social media and organic Google Search. Your website is truly a source of valuable information for your visitors as it communicates the offerings and services at your campground or RV Park in addition to the great opportunities available for their entertainment & amusement in your surrounding area.
Over the winter, you decide it is time to update your website and offer a fresh, new look that breathes life into a tired website. The decision is made to hire a web developer to build a new site, one that is vibrant, easy-to-navigate, easy-to-update and mobile friendly. A month after your new website is launched, you review your Google Analytics in great anticipation of improving results that include a growing number of new visitors, page views, and time on the site.
You feel that pit in your stomach when you see the results which include a 174% increase in your BOUNCE rate. A bounce rate is defined as "single-page sessions having a session duration of 0 seconds since there are no subsequent hits after the first one that would let Analytics calculate the length of the session." Source: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009409?hl=en
This exact scenario happened to a non-profit I was working with. A decision was made to use someone internally to build a new website for the organization. The new site was simple and easy to navigate. It brought a fresh look and excitement. Everything looked good on the front-end of the website. However, the analytics told another story. During the first 2.5 months after the launch, their bounce rate skyrocketed to 174%.
Why did this happen? Visitors were clicking on old links. Those old links directed to pages that no longer existed because they were deleted. These deleted page MUST be redirected to a new pages or resulted in a 404 Error. This can be a costly mistake for you and your campground. Not only does this leave a bad impression but there is a high probability that your guests are not coming back.
Are you prepared to avoid this mistake? Here is The MOST Important Question to Ask Your Web Developer Before Upgrading Your Website: What is your plan for redirecting old pages to new pages so I don't lose traffic for existing links?