Organizations choose to redesign their website for many necessary reasons. One important aspect of a post website redesign is the impact it has on analytics. Here is a quick list of those things in your web analytics platform that will probably look different after your website redesign project.
Your newly redesigned site content will be read by many new and existing visitors. Changes in navigation, internal linking structure, and content will change the way users perceive your brand and move through the site. You should expect pages that were previously high in page views may drop in views depending on where they were moved in site navigation structure.
You should expect the path through your site from the home page to be different. Using the Google Analytics Visitor Flow Report, you can assess your user’s path through your website. Compare the path of users before and after redesign.
Google Analytics Report Location: Audience > Visitor Flow
Navigation changes also affect your site URL structure. Pages that are moved deeper within the website navigation structure can experience a drop in traffic volumes. To account for changes and drops in search volume you will need an SEO plan, or an experienced agency partner. Major search engines must understand where your pages have moved and that the content is the same so your site does not lose relevance on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Depending on your new site navigation structure, URL structure, and changes in content you may experience variation in your natural search keyword volume. You should expect changes to your keyword volumes.
Google Analytics Report Location: Traffic Sources > Search > Organic.
Pages Per Visit and Time On Site
Your newly designed site will see changes in pages per visit and time on site. Warning: this one is tricky! Increases in pages viewed and time spent do not always correlate with improvements. Sometimes, it is the opposite affect, where the user is unable to find what they are looking for and therefore is spending an extreme amount of time on your website viewing multiple pages without results. You should expect changes in time on site and pages per visit post redesign, but make sure that your lead volumes stay consistent or improve.
Google Analytics Report Location: Audience > Overview
Your newly designed site bounce rate will also change. You can find your overall site bounce rate in your Google Analytics Audience Overview report. Specific pages within your site will also experience changes in bounce rates. These can be accessed through your Pages report.
Google Analytics Report Location: Content > Site Content > Pages
Your newly designed site may focus more on social elements of your site. These elements may not have been included in your previous design or were not as prominent as they are now. You should expect more social interaction on your site if your social linking and sharing buttons are prominently displayed on your site pages. It is advised to tag social elements on your site with Google Analytics Events, which are discussed in the next section…
Your newly designed site may need Google Analytics Events tagging. When your site design elements change, do not expect your webmaster to automatically tag them. In many cases, it is not until a few months post redesign that someone asks “how is the home page video performing” and receives no reply. A good agency partner knows exactly what elements of your site to tag to answer specific engagement questions.
Google Analytics Event tagging is very beneficial as it can show the difference between buttons clicked on your new design that go to the same page. Event tracking can also be set up as Google Analytics Goals. If your company had a goal to have X amount of Facebook Likes, Shares, or Tweets from your page, you can tag the social elements and report on them.
Google Analytics Report Location: Content > Events Top Events
It is important to compare and contrast website metrics to understand the changes after a website redesign. A knowledgeable agency partner can give you and your team post-redesign support to make sure that tracking, SEO and analytics data are moving in a positive direction.