This post started out to be a quick case study on the effectiveness of getting your business listed in Local Search Engines – and quickly turned into what not to do if you decide to upgrade or remodel your Web site. The reason for the change was noting that a site that had 543 listings in Google the last time I checked had dropped to only 234.
The reason for the drop was that their “friends” are “helping them out” by remodeling their site. The first thing they did was remove all existing pages and replace the home page with “We are currently remodeling”.
Any professionals reading this already know where I’m going so you may want to check out the categories and sub-categories in the right sidebar as this blog is intended for reference and I update older posts regularly with new links and current information.
If you don’t already know why you should NEVER remove an existing site without knowing what you’re doing please read on. One of the reasons I don’t personally work with clients any more is that I feel so badly for them when they do something so unfortunate as this to themselves.
BEFORE you replace a single existing page the URL for that page should be redirected to the new equivalent page. At a minimum redirect all “missing” pages to your home page. Don’t just cause them to disappear. When you do this you lose all the incoming visitors and every search engine listing for those pages.
- Do you really want to eliminate all your existing incoming links in one fell swoop?
- Do not delete pages without redirecting them.
- Do not rename pages without redirecting them.
- Do not replace real content with “we’re remodeling”. How effective is THAT kind of non-content for retaining existing clients much less generating new business?
If you don’t know how to redirect pages find someone that does. Don’t let anyone touch your site until you know they know what they’re doing!
NOTE: Web Designers should be creating your new site on a development site and THEN when it all works moving it to your domain. Wise site builders do NOT test new designs on live sites!!!
[NOTE: If you already have a site or blog with a free hosting company that doesn’t provide for you to do redirects use creative 404 pages instead.]
And while we’re talking about redesigning and upgrading, if you’re serious about being online, existing sites should be created as WordPress blogs and made interactive. Unless you’re already famous, having a site that “lectures” visitors instead of one that allows them to interact with you is going to be a bust.
Figure out how to create a community and make your visitors feel welcome. Find out what they want and give it to them. The number one complaint – offline and on – is unresponsive customer service. It doesn’t work for corporations any longer – they’re being dragged into responding – and it won’t work for any small businesses – or even bloggers – either.
MORE WEB DESIGN TIPS:
- Published on ProBlogger (guest post): Luck is a Curse: How NOT TO Relaunch and Rebrand Your Blog. There May Be Tears