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Look What A Good Redesign Can Do

Published March 14, 2011

Search Engine Roundtable LogoOn December 2, 2010, we implemented a complete redesign and revamp of a search engine site I own and operate named Search Engine Roundtable. I wanted to share the site's success with you all, something I can rarely do with client sites.

The site was upgraded from a MovableType content management system to a home-grown RustyBrick content management system. That allowed me to build the CMS and backend features exactly how I wanted and did not have to compromise at all within an open source CMS like MovableType or WordPress. It also let me fully control the design and user interfaces. So we went at it and built the site the way we wanted. I discussed most of the changes over here but I wanted to share with you the results of those changes.

Here is a chart from Google Analytics with data from ~3 months post-launch to ~3 months pre-launch of the new site.

Redesign Analytics

As you can see, major improvements across the board.

  • Unique Visits Up 65%
  • Pageviews Up 163%
  • Pages Per Visit Up 60%
  • Bounce Rates Improved By 65% 

Those are the key stats. I should clarify that unique visits is something the redesign is likely not responsible for. Traffic for news sites are mostly dependent on the story. But the main key stats that are directly related to the redesign are the pages per visit being up over 50%. That means one person was likely to visit 1.3 pages prior to the redesign and now they are likely to visit 2.16 pages - which means more pageviews, which is the key metric for most news sites. Of course, having high bounce rates are not good and prior to the redesign we had a 80% bounce rate! That is huge and really bad! But after the redesign the bounce rate dropped to only 30%, which is an outstanding bounce rate for a news site, from what I understand. The average time on site per user was pretty much the same, about 47 seconds from 49 seconds - maybe people can read faster easier now?

I should add Google traffic overall was the same, traffic from Yahoo declined, but so did Yahoo's market share in search.

As being my own client here, I am very happy with the results from both the backend to the frontend. I am so happy to have a wonderful team of designers and developers here. Of course, I am biased, but hey - I rarely can share success stories and this time I can, because I own the site!

If you want to be part of our team, learn more on our jobs page and if you want to learn more about search marketing, see the Search Engine Roundtable.

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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