• vlad @ 312analytics.com

Analyst’s Guide to Surviving a Website Redesign

Website redesign’s happen quite frequently these days. Unfortunately, for a web analyst this isn’t a time to go on vacation. Many changes in the organizational direction, copy, site functionality happen during a website redesign. These changes greatly impact your analytics approach and tagging of your current web properties. Here are 4 tips for a web analyst to survive a website redesign.

Tip #1: Get Wireframes and Functionality Early
When you know how the new site templates are going to be laid out, it will alert you to possible changes in the way users browse the website. The changes in user path, user experience, and functionality will greatly affect your website analytics data. Depending on how sites are laid out, your engagement with time on site and pages per visit will vastly change with a redesign. The sooner you get your hands on the wireframes, the more prepared you will be to create tags that capture all the new interesting aspects of your redesigned website.

Tip #2: Get Your Hands on Site URL Hierarchy
Redesigned websites often change where content is located. Having a URL hierarchy of the website will help you plan reports for specific products, industries, and assets on your new redesigned site. Some of these new pages that emerge in the hierarchy may not have web analytics platform tags. It is important to bridge the gaps in tagging when new sites are launched so you don’t have missing data.

Tip #3: Make Sure Your Web Analytics Tags Are Priority
Many times project managers get caught up with an overwhelming amount of content in a website redesign. This is prime territory for website tags getting left out of the website launch process. By making sure your project manager has an activity to deploy your web analytics tags is vital to your success. Otherwise, you are going to be left with no data on your new site and many questions coming your way about how the new site is performing. Sometimes, having a tag management software helps in this case as only one tag is transferred from existing site to a new site.

Tip #4: Avoid Early Site Comparison Questions
Everyone wants to know how the new site is performing. The reality is, you have to give your audience time to get used to the new site before you can answer this question truthfully. Statistically speaking, there has to be a correctly administered hypothesis test with a large sample to answer this question accurately. Many companies A/B test their new redesigned site for an accurate read on how the redesigned site is performing. Otherwise, without software it is almost impossible to do an apples to apples comparison of an old site to a redesigned site. There are just too many factors that are not held constant.

Web analysts that get involved early win! Website redesigns are a hectic and exciting time, but it is easy to get web analytics left out in the process. Take your project manager out to lunch, buy them gifts, or take them to a sporting event. No matter what you do, do not let them launch the new site without any web analytics tags!

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