I believe it’s safe to say that if your website still looks the same as the day it was made, when a dial up connection was playing the sound of its people across a sea of telephones, it might be due for an update or a total redo.
Before you decide to go rogue and build a completely new website, there are a couple of things you need to consider. These are quite simple points to remember; however, you would be surprised at the amount of people who forget them.
If you switch your website over and don’t cover some of the basics, this could seriously affect your website’s performance. It will require more time to fix, more money and most importantly, cost you time that you could be really working on improving and tweaking your website. Don’t waste your time fixing when you can be improving.
Choose the Right Web Developer
Don’t go to web developers that are cheap, hard to get in contact with and/or create a website that is unchangeable to you or other web developers. One day you’re going to need to change something or fix something important on your website. If you web developer is unreachable and you can’t do it yourself, you’ll be wasting time and losing potential sales or traffic.
This is your business website, so treat it as if you were buying a new store. Would you buy a store that is cheap, not in a prime location and gets next to no foot traffic? No. If you don’t spend the money, you won’t get the return or the results.
Choose the Right CMS
Building your website into a CMS (like WordPress, Magento or Joomla) will make managing your website easier. There could be an update that needs to be made that would take a while to code. Using tools in a user-friendly CMS will reduce the time to fix it and let you focus on more important things you could be improving.
301 redirects are permanent redirects which pass between 90-99% of ‘link juice’ from the redirected page. This type of redirect tells crawlers that the old one no longer exists.
Make sure every page on your website is 301 redirected to the correct page or most relevant page. If you have pages that don’t exist on your new website, 301 redirects them to the new main domain. This will reduce the amount of 404 not found errors on the new server.
The easiest way to do this is create a spreadsheet with your old URLs and have the new URLs next to them. This will reduce confusion and error when implementing them.
|www.example.com||www.newexample.com||Old domain to new|
|www.example.com/contact-us||www.newexample.com/contact-us||Pages being redirected to appropriate pages|
|www.example.com/page-doesn’t-exist||www.newexample.com||Pages that don’t exist go to the main domain or appropriate page|
|http://www.example.com||https://www.example.com||Website is using the same domain but is a secure URL now|
|blog.example.com||www.newexample.com/blog||Move sub domains when possible to the main domain|
*Notes column could be helpful to jog your memory as there is always a lot going on when updating a website.
Mobile – Responsive!
This is the perfect opportunity to update your website to be responsive. It will allow the new website to adjust to different screen sizes, from mobile to tablets. This means less updating and leaves you to manage only 1 website instead of 2. Have a look at the slides at http://sfoldsite.wpengine.com/blog/mobile-seo-tips-sfgettingsmarter/ for more Mobile SEO Tips.
Creating new pages?
When creating new pages, make sure they all follow a similar hierarchy. Ensure the placement of the page is in the correct category and that the URL complements it. For example, if a website sold shirts:
- www.example.com/shirtsblue – Split the keywords
- www.example.com/Shirts/Blue or www.Example.com – Avoid using capitals
- www.example.com/blue-shirts-shorts – Categories aren’t split into proper hierarchy
This may seem like a minimal task you can undertake over time, but trust me, if you don’t want to see huge fluctuations in your rankings, make sure all the old page titles, Meta descriptions, headings and website content are all moved over to the correct pages.
And finally – Test, survey, change
Regardless of the updates, make sure your website is user-friendly. You could have implemented all the right SEO practices and updated your website successfully, but if your current clients or new clients visit the website and have no idea where to look, click or find what they’re looking for, the repercussions could be detrimental for your website.
Again, these are only SOME points to consider. Have a talk to us or your current SEO provider to make sure every aspect is being implemented correctly.