A Web Site Transition Plan

July 28, 2008

If you are one of the many small business / medium businesses that don’t watch their web site analytics as detailed in my previous post, maybe you won’t need to worry about this one!

In the SMB space, as our businesses grow and evolve, it is not uncommon to perform extensive “renovations” of our corporate web sites. (we just did a complete 100% rewrite of our own).

But if you have spent time working to optimize your site, or if in the past you have had third parties linked to case studies or white papers on your site; these renovations can be deadly. (figuratively speaking!)

Those Pesky Links and URL’s

As stated by Jennifer Osborne at Search Engine People;

After all, it’s still the same site.

or is it?

Google doesn’t think so.

When initiating any project to rewrite your website, evaluate what data you have, your keywords, and where they are located. If it is at all possible, keep your new directory structures identical to the old ones.

Because as Jennifer Osborne states in the above article, if links that formerly worked, cease working, the mathematical algorithm used by search engines start automatically lowering their level of “trust” in that website.

Not to mention, that if there is a third party reference to some material on your web site, the absolute slightest change in the full URL will cause that link to fail.

If you absolutely must change your full website structure, ensure that you correctly re-direct old URL’s to the new ones. You don’t want a user coming to your website getting a plain “404” Page Not Found error.

If you are currently planning a website overhaul, the above article has some tips on how to minimize the risk of that transition.

If you are in the SMB space – how many times have you “renovated” your site over the years?

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