Incremental changes to webpages work just like new webpages

Incremental changes to your site can do wonders for SEOEarlier this year I had a client ask me for help with their tech website. They wanted to completely revamp their site, from the layout and theme to the content and copy on it. Instead of simply agreeing to the project, I advised them not to make all of those changes at once. Yes, that’s right. I advised them to shelf that idea and instead think about making smaller, incremental changes to their website instead — and talked myself out of the hefty fees I could’ve charged for that project.

Incremental changes = better website numbers

Numbers. I advised them that way because of the numbers. If they changed the website layout, site map, and all the content, they wouldn’t know what gave their site a performance boost (or dive, as the case may be.) Was it the new layout that got them a lower bounce rate? Or was it the new content focus that lead to a higher SERP? Maybe they noticed a dip in subscriptions to the company blog with the change?

Without this data, you’re completely blind about your online marketing numbers. Everything becomes a guess, because you have no data to back up your decisions. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be trying new things on your tech website, based on an entirely different approach or marketing idea. What I’m saying is that you should make small, incremental changes to the site, test it, and then see if the results are better or worse than what you had before.

What can tech companies do instead?

If you’re looking to lift the performance of your tech website, the best thing to do is to mix up your approach.

  • Focus on testing incremental changes to the best pages and content.
  • Try out something completely new on the underperforming pages instead.

Think of it in terms of an 80/20 split: 80% of your work is on the incremental changes, while 20% is on the brand new ideas. This gives you an opportunity to test out either the incremental or larger changes since you’ll know exactly what you did.

After taking my suggestion under advisement, my client decided to go ahead with the website redesign, but with a twist. They picked a new design, but then plugged in their existing content for a while first. They wanted to see how their audience reacted to the new “view” first. We’re going to touch base shortly to start testing out some new content.

Update: I realize that I advise my clients to make only incremental changes to their website and content when I just went and redid my ENTIRE site this month. The irony is not lost on me. But as the cliché goes, do as I say, not as I do. 🙂