Site redesign - thrashing in progress

We have a retail website, Silver Fantasy, that’s been around since 1998. It’s well-ranked for its top search terms in the major search engines, has a good client base and has been very successful for us.

The problem was that it was a static site – with over 1,000 items. Keeping track of prices, out-of-stock and discontinued items was a huge pain in the neck. So this summer we rebuilt the site using a nice PHP and MySQL database.
The old site was, in my opinion, too simplistic. But we launched the new one and sales dropped through the floor. Today I posted a message on one of the big web design/SEO forums I frequent, and got featured on their daily email.

That brought about 30 professional SEO people to look at and review my site – probably the best thing that could have happened. Based on their comments, I took it down tonight and put it back on my production server to fix it. And I put the old site back up.

This has been a very frustrating experience, but I think in a few days when we relaunch, the new site will be much better than it was two weeks ago. I’m hoping that the changes I intend to make, suggested by the forum writers, will do the trick.

Usually it’s the frontend of a site where I excel – but in this case, we paid so much attention to what was great about the new backend that I neglected to keep some of the ‘simplistic’ yet highly effective features of the old site’s homepage and navigation (as I’ve been told many times today: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’). Lesson learned, I’m hoping….

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