It’s so exciting to get a new website, revamp it, reorganize, clean house, but here are a few steps to take before you toss out the old structure. If you simply start fresh, or change domains, or toss out old pages, you may be missing valuable traffic.
This is primarily for a restructure or switching to a new system for hosting the SAME domain.
BEFORE YOU FLIP THE SWITCH TO THE NEW SITE:
Look at your analytics to see what the top 25 pages are and focus on those first. Make sure those URLs will still work, or that you have set up a 301 redirect in your HTACCESS file or using a WordPress plugin.
Make a note of these, because any internally linked pages to those pages will need to be updated if the URLs are changing.
Are you dead set on removing pages? That’s fine, but make a list of them for future redirects.
Are all of your pages changing after your main URL? I mean, will your pages no longer say https:// mydomain.com/custom/name-of-page.html will they now be /custom/name-of-page/ ? That’s a major change and will require a TON of redirects or thought.
If it was a really popular page but is just outdated, update the content and tuck it away.
Go to Google Search Console to see all errors and inbound links. What sites are linking to your content? Are some sites really tied to you? If so, make a list of THEIR ULRs/page links that link to you and what they are linking to. You want to make sure those will work, redirect or that you can contact that site with the update so they don’t look foolish sending people to broken links.
Are you running ad campaigns that link to specific landing pages?
Do you have drip campaigns that link to specific pages and posts? Make sure they are all still working or update the calls to action. Sometimes when we make drip campaigns, we forget to test all the messages each year. Now is the time for that. Make a note of the URLs in the CTA to compare to your list of top pages and pages you are deleting.
WHEN YOU ARE READY TO FLIP IT OVER:
Make sure your testing domain will still work.
Make sure your SSL certificate is keyed to the new domain and/or location.
Check all navigation and links that they will switch over from dev to the final URL.
AFTER YOU SWITCH TO NEW SITE/STRUCTURE:
Check all forms first, including subscriber forms.
Update/annotate analytics to mark the date and make note of the change to track the dip, if any, in traffic.
Check all nav and footer links next.
Test your 301 redirect list of important pages that moved.
ABOUT 15 – 30 DAYS AFTER SWITCH
Check your analytics and search console for errors, incoming links and more.
Follow up with those linking to you. You may find many are from your own social accounts or within your own website.
If you would like assistance with this process, contact me and we can set up a time to talk about what you need and your timeline for the updates.