Responsive Drupal Website Redesign and Digital Impact Optimization

HelpSystems Drupal 8 website and digital marketing support

Complex multilingual Drupal website restructure & redesign for an established and renowned tech company

  • The website restructure and redesign resulted in a 140% increase in conversions year over year and a 15% increase in traffic, including a rise in mobile traffic.
  • Conversions increased across the board from contact form submissions to whitepaper downloads, and higher trial software and demo downloads.

"While our measureable goals are related to site conversions and leads – and those are increasing nicely – we are really pleased with how we are engaging with the market. A lot of people come to our site to get educated on topics like cybersecurity and IT operations management. This new structure helps these people get the information they need and connect with us if necessary." –Mike Devine, VP of Marketing

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Risky Website Redesigns and Tanking Organic Traffic

Tanking Organic Traffic after a Website Redesign: Why Evolutionary Redesigns are Optimal

People buy based on emotion. A redesign can be a sexy idea, sold to you by a creative agency that knows how to wow and amaze. But, it's rarely in your best interests. Sure, sometimes you reach a point where things are so bad that you have to scrap everything and start over...but how do you know how bad is too bad?

Radical website redesigns are modern-day one-night stands for marketers.

The following graphs show what happened to a new client of ours earlier this year when their previous vendor launched their radical redesign.

Organic SEO traffic tanking after website redesign

Here's another view from SEMrush, based on number of ranking organic keywords, for mobile devices (site launched in late April): 

Another view of website SEO traffic tanking after website redesign

Organic traffic (SEO) was already declining. The client surely panicked, the older site was indeed quite outdated, and yes, they panicked with good reason. It's hard to stay calm in the face of tanking traffic. Panicking, and going to a vendor who played into that panic, was part of the pitfall.

The creAtìve AgénCy elixir surely tasted good in the moment, and scrapping that outdated site surely felt like the right thing to do...but this radical act under pressure actually did more harm than good.

The agency they chose not only massacred our client's business by improperly handling post-launch SEO planning, they created a broken user experience that is impacting commerce on the site, not to mention that the information architecture and navigation are botched, the value proposition is unclear and in bits and pieces around the entire site, and user engagement is deeply impacted by all of this as well as a slow-loading site and a fancy but not performant inter-page browsing experience that has to be devastating to conversions.  

The new website is pretty, but it's not doing anything. It should be working hard for the client's business, but it's not.

Yes, it is possible to do revolutionary redesigns right. But, it's hard, and requires a lot more data than most are willing to wait for and collect. And even then, you're still gambling, depending on how revolutionary you are with the extremely sensitive components of the redesign (navigation, expected user journeys, calls to action, microcopy, content, keywords, visual hierarchy, and the like).

How many times have you seen radical redesigns on 

You don't see them, because they do evolutionary redesigns – continuous, incremental improvements along the way.

Evolutionary website redesign

Image source

If you're feeling like sexy will win, it's an urgent need, and will appease your management team, then just reskin what you have as a first step. Design is incredibly important in instilling trust, and yes, good design – no, great design – is extremely important. It effects conversions and website engagement, and thus your business profits. Then, make incremental improvements from there.

Another way to think of it visually is this:

Origin Eight approach to continuous incremental improvement

This is a good cost/benefit results visualization of the concept as well: 

Origin Eight approach to continuous incremental improvement

This is difficult stuff to grasp, but indeed a very powerful concept. We coined the term Digital Impact Optimization™ for this idea that "incremental improvements can lead to exponential demand", and also the idea that "redesigns don't have to suck, especially if you consistently keep up your optimization game" – but the following is also true:

Incremental improvements can save you from exponential losses.

It's not a new concept in its entirety, but how we incorporate it into a full-picture offering and analysis is. Here's a diagram of how we see it:

Digital Impact Optimization


Learn more about Our Approach



Should I redesign my website?

Should I redesign my website? If you can avoid it, don't

There tends to be an all-or-nothing approach driven into our heads about web redesigns – either you redesign the whole thing, or you don't. 

  • What about refreshing the design of the homepage?
  • Are you even telling a story when visitors get to your site? Sometimes you need a copy refresh more than a redesign.
  • Does someone know what you do within the first few seconds of visiting your site, or is that message stuck in a website slider that has already lost their attention?

These are just a few of the questions that can determine whether your site needs to be scrapped, or if ongoing optimization would be a better route.

Radical redesigns are risky. Redesigns often change page structure, URLs (which need to be redirected), content, layout and design. They are not truly based on data since dramatic design decisions are often made that cannot be tested and are instead based on the designer's intuition. Besides having SEO and traffic impacts, these dramatic decisions can affect conversion rates, or how often users on your site perform valuable activities, such as filling out the contact form, clicking on the "buy" button on a product, eCommerce check-out, donating, etc.

A radical redesign is better when:

  • Your rate of return for optimizing is severely diminished.
  • You're running on an unsupported platform, the vendor lock-in is too great and costly, or the technology is outdated (i.e. Flash).
  • The design is awful site-wide, affecting your brand. However, this too can often be brought up to better standards without scrapping the site entirely and migrating to a totally new website.
  • There's not much traffic, and digital impact analysis reveals too many problems that just aren't worth gradual optimization.

Digital Impact Optimization, an evolutionary model, is a better route to follow whenever possible. Don't let yourself be sold into a redesign just because you're frustrated – sometimes, there is hope for the current site, and its very existence, analytics and traffic are more valuable than you think.


In no particular order... Seth has built websites for famous artists like Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey, led a team as CTO at a social network startup company, presented at Stanford and the International Society for Neuronal Regulation Conference on an EEG study in consciousness, travelled to Tokyo for data center network security assessments, worked on world-class e-commerce software as a software engineer, and provided Drupal expertise for Estee Lauder and their many international brands.