How to Minimize Traffic Loss When Restructuring Your Website
If your website is in drastic need of revision, you may be worried about what sort of traffic loss you will experience. Likewise, having to move a website from one location to another may be problematic depending on how long the site will be down; losing traffic due to unavailability is the number one reason for recurring traffic loss. Because of these problems and the risks they pose for your website’s viability, you obviously want to minimize the impact these issues will have on traffic. We have laid out a series of steps you can utilize to decrease the likelihood that your site will be negatively impacted by a needed restructuring.
If you are simply moving your site, you will want to take care of your links to all other pages first. This is also a good time to use a tool to verify which links currently function and which ones do not; chances are that you have existing links on your site that may no longer function. If you are pinging on a Mac or Windows-based machine, you can utilize a tool like this to locate all broken links currently linking between two of your pages and also outgoing links. From here, you can proceed to correct the errors one at a time; in most cases, you may wish to change the URL prior to any migration.
If you are building a new site to replace the current version you have deployed, then redirects (also known as 301s) may be useful in preventing any one part of your site from being down for too long. While re-creating pages on another server, you can re-direct incoming traffic to a particular page from your old site to your new one. Also, do not forget that Google Analytics can help you keep track of any issues you may be having (404 errors, loops, etc.), so be sure to install it prior to making any major changes or migrating your site.
Utilizing CMS Assistance
If you are already using a content management system like WordPress, then you will be able to move most content from point A to point B without hassle. Whether you are pinging on a Mac or PC, there are plug-ins available for download that can assist with migrating your entire site to another server. These plug-ins can handle the migration of images, pages and even take care of correcting the directory changes (for instance, ‘root/img/thing1.gif’ may now be ‘root/html/img/thing1.gif’).
Nobody can afford to lose large amounts of their traffic during a restructuring, migration or other major site shake-up. The best way to avoid this is by planning ahead and being prepared in advance; many aspects of site maintenance and management can be done without comprising the functionality of the existing website. You can also let your users know ahead of time by posting messages or sending out emails so they do not give up on you if the site is down or incapacitated for an amount of time longer than originally expected.