Are you considering changing your domain name? Maybe you want to rebrand your blog or business name? Or maybe you’re keeping the biz name, but want a domain name that’s more industry-friendly or useful for SEO?
Loyal readers of my blog rantings will know that I’ve recently gone through this process myself. I’ve shifted from This Charming Mum to Charming Language, taking my blogging in a slightly new direction. The process is not difficult, as such, but there are many factors to consider! Ideally you want to migrate your work without losing any SEO ‘juice’ you’ve built up during the life of your site. You also don’t want any of the links coming into your page to arrive at a dead end after the change.
In a bid not to ‘break’ my blog, I asked the talented website designer Kylie Meller from Duosista to help me out with the move. She’s here today with a guest post to help you with tips and tricks for changing your domain name. Thanks Kylie!
Things you need to know before changing your domain name – with Kylie Meller, Duosista
There are many reason why you might need to change the domain name for your business or blog. Maybe you are re-branding, or maybe your blog is taking a new direction? Whatever the reason, changing domain names can be scary.
Moving a domain takes work, and if not done properly it can be disastrous. But it can be done. Below are my top 5 things to consider when changing your domain name.
1 Buy your new domain name
It may seem obvious, but before changing anything be sure you can get the new domain name you want. It’s best to register the domain name as soon as you decide. SEO is linked to domain age. Getting the new domain name early, and getting a holding page on it, means it can be indexed and tells the search engines something is coming.
2 Tell your audience you are ‘moving’
This may seem like a no-brainer, but lots of businesses go ahead with changing their domain name without letting their readers and customers know. A new domain should be something that your audience is expecting and even looking forward to. You could update them in a range of ways…
- Place a holding page on your new domain with the launch date
- Share the news and the date of launch on social media
- E-mail your customers via your newsletter
Keeping your audience in the loop will make them feel special, and drum up interest in this new direction from you.
3 Do an audit of your old site
It’s really important to take an audit of your old website. This includes ensuring you have a detailed sitemap of your old domain. You will want to ensure that all your old domain URLS are either updated to a new page on the new domain name, or redirected via 301s to your home page.
4 Set up 301 redirects
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect of your old URL to your new URL. By making a permanent redirect, you pass about 90% of the ‘link juice’ to your redirected page. Nobody wants to lose their hard SEO work, so be sure to setup 301 redirects for single URLS, or a whole domain redirect.
5 Update Google
Once your new site is going, be sure to update your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts. You can move your old Google Analytics code to your new site. You will still be tracking all of your website’s data, but you will need to update your GA account so you know which data goes with which URL. You need to update your Google Search Console so that you can keep track of all the 404 errors you might have from the old URL. This makes it easy to setup all the required 301 redirects (see point 4). This also helps Google transfer all your old rankings to your new website.
Now that you have completed my 5 tips, I recommend you keep your old website going until the end of the domain period. This will help ensure you catch all those 301s, and don’t miss transferring any good SEO juice from your old website.