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Major League Soccer (MLS) Gets A Yellow Card For Site Redesign Best Practices

I checked the Major League Soccer (MLS) website on Saturday to see the fixtures for the weekend (because I’m a soccer nut) and noticed that they were announcing a new website redesign. I found it kind of funny that they were announcing this with the website I was on being the exact same. I soon discovered that they had their site redesign on another URL entirely… which isn’t the best way of doing things.

In any case, I thought I’d run down some of the best practices for a website redesign and see where the new MLSSoccer.com website stood in my opinion. After going through some of the bigger issues and evaluating the new website, I would like to give a yellow card for the MLS’s effort for their website redesign:

yellowcard

Here’s why the new MLS website deserves a yellow card for their site redesign:

  1. Announcing a website redesign on their old URL that tells users to go to a new URL. I wouldn’t approach a website redesign this way. I’m also hoping that in due time, the MLS web team makes the switch to the new MLSSoccer.com domain permanent by assigning 301 redirects from old URLs to their corresponding new URLs.
  2. Their old website has some “official” branding (such as, on the top, the “official site of Major League Soccer”). I don’t see anything like that on the redesign.
  3. I’m seeing some weird 301 redirect issues. If I type in “mlsnet.com” in my browser bar, I go to the old site. If I type in “www.mlsnet.com” in my browser bar, I go to the new site. Very odd and can be confusing to site visitors.
  4. The new site’s custom 404 error page is a bit lacking (please click this link so we can get this URL in their top content report for Google Analytics). Ideally, especially with a site redesign situation, you would want to have a mini-sitemap here for users to be able to quickly get to their wanted destination.

If I were in the MLS web team’s shoes (err, cleats), I would have made the switch from the old MLSnet.com website to the MLSSoccer.com one with 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new before the first Matchday in the regular season. That being said, the MLS web team did a good job with the new website with how SEO-friendly it is: there are lots of text headlines, a MUCH cleaner URL structure and more. In fact, I like it a lot better than the old website. But they could be doing a much better job on the website redesign launch than what they’ve done now.

And lastly, my one sentence of actual footy analysis:

Great action in the first weekend, some fun games (and goals) to watch, tough for the expansion Philly team to go into Seattle for their first game and even more so with the red card and MLS players need to work a bit on their first touch.

About Christian Bullock