If we are moving/revamping our website for any reason like new look & feel, changing hosts, technology updation, seeking branding benefits, to make our URL more memorable etc. then there are some things that we should definitely do to make our change go more smoothly for our self and for our regular readers.
The top 3 things are:
Implement Universal 301 Redirects
It’s a way to configure your website or web server, in order to indicate that some of your pages have been moved, permanently, to another location. We should not just redirect all of our old pages to our new index/home page at the time of creating 301 redirects. That will turn our readers off and we’ll lose some business as our visitors won’t go searching for the corresponding page they found in the search engine. Rather, we should do a 301 redirect on each page to the corresponding page on the new domain. If we have created new pages in our website, those don’t need redirects. If we are deleting old pages and not using them on your new domain then we should redirect those pages to a page on our new domain that has similar information.
Create Custom 404 Page
When someone enters a URL or follows a link to a page that does not exist they will get a custom 404 error page. So, if we are deleting pages from the old domain or website and not using them on the new website then we should make sure to create a custom 404 page for those pages. On 404 pages, we should place a link to our home page and offer some suggestions on pages that our visitors might want to look at which have similar information to the one they were looking for. Make it easy for the site visitors to find the information they want. We might even put a site search feature on our 404 page if we have a large enough site that visitors can get lost easily.
Contact Your Top Referrers
We should also send an e-mail to our top referrers to let them know that we have changed domain names or file names in website. We should do this because those referrers can change their links to our new link addresses.