You might be surprised at how many people still don’t have a web presence yet. And for those who do, you might be further surprised at how often they’re still using the first version of their site, which has long since fallen behind. There has been a recent influx of folks coming through our door lately asking for assistance in a redesign of their current site, which is good news. If only we could get some of these same people>to add a blog, though.
One of the first things I notice is that when a site is being redesigned, the site structure is updated and pages are given updated information. When that happens, the URL names for those pages tend to change to reflect the updates. The problem comes in when folks who are used to going to your old site for specific information on those pages need to find that information again and can’t because of the new structure and URLs.
The solution, and we’ve talked about it before, is known as the 301 Redirect. These will direct the old URLs to the new ones, which means you’ll have to figure out where the information from the old pages has been transferred to in the new ones. That may not be as easy as it sounds, but it can be done. It’s definitely helpful if your older pages were getting regular traffic since you don’t want to lose that traffic. By directing them to the new pages, you’re making it easier for them to continue to find you. Annoy someone by making them search for it themselves and chances are you’ll lose them and any potential business they might have given you.
Something else to keep in mind is any link out there that’s pointing to your old site that’s brought in traffic. Those URLs will need to be pointed to the new site as well, so set up some 301 Redirects for them, too.
The idea for a redesign is not only to attract bigger and better traffic to your site, but to also keep your former traffic coming back, too. A properly SEOd site is a happy site and a happy visitor is a visitor who will continue to come back to you.