Our tagline is "Google-able Web Design". We cater to small local businesses. Most of our clients come to us with the need to RE-design an existing site. These are the things you should take into consideration BEYOND web design when you are upgrading from an existing website to a new design. It is not a coincidence that these are also the reasons why 50Bubbles is the right choice for web design in Dayton Ohio.
Have you ever noticed that some web sites with horrible design out-rank sites that are more aesthetically appealing? I get the question all the time! "How are these guys beating me?!" The answer is NOT the design and we can definitely learn from this by understanding why these sites do rank.
Google can't see pictures and is definitely not a design judge. The primary reason for indexing a web page in the search results is that the content (the words) match the search. You may recall some years ago that Flash sites were all the rage. They were animated and beautiful and they fell out of grace for one simple reason: Google could not index the content. The bottom line: content is your primary concern for web design. If you are upgrading from an existing site, you should understand your existing Google indexing status and plan to capture that in your new web design.
Older sites tend to have a very simple, flat navigation structure. Pages had simple linked page structures and very often the links between pages were simple text-based hyperlinks. Today's navigation structure tend to be more animated, graphically based menus. While much more appealing, it is also more confusing to the search engines. Embedding text based links in the site is recommended to augment the main site navigation. One very popular way to accomplish this is to insert a simple site map in the website footer. That gives you the best of both worlds - you get the beauty of new navigation systems and the simple hypertext links that the search engines love.
A trend you've probably noticed is the long, run-on home pages. I think there are two things driving this trend. First: the use of mobile devices for viewing websites. Second: Social media. Watch someone on their phone while they're looking at Facebook. They hold the phone in one hand and scroll the page indefinitely. Even the best menu structures for mobile devices feels clunky compared to the ability to just scroll through a single page. As we build websites for today's modern technology however, we are also losing sight of how Google indexes a page. Effective web pages should stay niche focused. If a web page covers 10 topics, how should Google index the page? If really poses a design challenge. So OK... build that home page but make sure your internal pages are simpler and niche focused. The home page should provide enough information for the mobile user to NOT have to dig deeper into the site (with exceptions for ecommerce type sites).
OLD SITE TO NEW WEB DESIGN
We can learn some lessons from older sites that are still outranking the ones you'd consider more appealing. More importantly, regardless of whether the site you want to redesign is #1 or not even on the first page, you need to preserve your existing Google index status. Otherwise you start from ZERO and the amount of time it will take you to climb back up in the search engine ranks will be considerably longer. Your web design cost pales in comparison to the amount of business you're putting at risk.The best web design will take into account how the search engines index web pages, how the user navigates the site and of course how to achieve all that without compromising search results. There is no use for a billboard in the middle of the desert and there is no use for a website that has no traffic.