Thomas McMahon

10 things to keep in mind when changing a site design.

Thomas McMahon     Online Marketing, SEO Tips

When you create a new site design, you should always remember a few key points. If you don’t, not only is it bad for search engines, but also visitors.

  1. Consider keeping the same file naming structure so that it will be easier for spiders to re-crawl the new site and peoples bookmarks don’t return 404 error pages.
  2. 301 Redirect all old or changed URLs to the new corresponding page.
  3. Create 404 error pages so that when errors occur, visitors get a nice message with the site’s look and feel.
  4. Look for broken links that may have come up as the site architecture changes a bit.
  5. Create a site map for your visitors so if they feel lost, they have a listing of all the pages on the site.
  6. Create an XML site map to submit to Google, Yahoo and MSN to make them aware of all new URLs.
  7. Keep the content the same as much as possible to keep any rankings. This ties into #1 as a file name change can also effect rankings.
  8. Keep the title tags the same as much as possible to keep any rankings.
  9. If changing domains or page names, consider updating links in directories or on other sites if possible. You don’t want to loses those links you previously had. Worst case scenario, 301 redirect them.
  10. Tell your SEO before you make the new site live so they can help prevent any issues.

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Comments

  1. Nice post Thomas.

    One thing to add:

    11) Tell your existing customers/users/etc via email, your blog and some type of announcement on the site. That way they aren’t shocked when they get to your site (and it will actually give some of them a reason to go to the site).

  2. Thomas McMahon says:

    Chris, that’s an excellent tip. I’ve actually left a site when the design changed as I thought I as at the wrong one. 🙂

  3. Marketing Success Factors says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Nice list and Chris your tip is definitely on the ball, I’ve been to several sites that have completely changed their look and I thought I was at the wrong site.

  4. Content is king of the website but i agree with your point number 7.

    It happen with my website.

  5. I am having my site redesigned in order to make it much more search engine friendly. I am also changing the domain name, along with the extension names of each page.

    I don

  6. Thomas McMahon says:

    I’d ensure that 301 redirects are setup on a page by page basis. Also, get the new domain inedexed by Google as soon as possible, even if Google only indexes one page.

  7. Very good posting. Im in the middle of a re-design with plans to lunch it live in the next few weeks..Thank you very much.

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  4. […] This is the kind of thing that happens when web site owners rely on web development teams to transition sites to new content management systems, development platforms and designs without taking into consideration that search engines are an audience for the site as well. Whoever worked on the Entrepreneur site would have done well to read Thomas’ “10 things to keep in mind when changing a site design“, especially tip #1: “Consider keeping the same file naming structure so that it will be easier for spiders to re-crawl the new site and peoples bookmarks don’t return 404 error pages” and the last tip, “Tell your SEO before you make the new site live so they can help prevent any issues.” […]

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