I am thinking about buy I have getting a new website and the current website address I have is great. I'd really like to keep it - is that possible or do I need to buy a new one when I have a new website built? Also, what will happen to the Search Engine Optimisation efforts from my current site?
The quick answer is yes! If you have a website address (domain) that you want to keep, then you can - that's not a problem. Websites can be built on other platforms. All you need to do is re-point the settings to the new platform's servers.
In order to do this, you will need to have access to the domain account, rather than your current web provider. If your website was created and set up by your current provider and they have access to your account, ask them to transfer it over to you.
So how does it work?
Think of it a bit like moving home. When you move house, the shell of the property changes (this is your website platform) and when you want mail to come to you, you give everyone your new address (this is repointing the DNS settings on your account).
Then, hey presto, the move is complete and people can find you in your new home.
What else might you want to consider when creating or updating a website?
If you are going to the effort of redesigning your website or creating a website from scratch, now might be the time to check that your company name and your domain are still a good fit for your business. Read one of our previous blogs on domain name registration – 3 tips to getting it right, which is about how to choose your company name correctly.
The world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be hot topic, with opposing views on what the right approach is for your website to climb to the top of search engines. Google is continuously evolving its algorithms, so what might be the right approach today may be different tomorrow.
While there certainly are benefits of having targeted words in your domain, they are not as important as they once were for SEO. However, spend some time thinking over the following points to help you decide on an appropriate domain for your business.
Things to consider are:
These days there are many new domain endings available, but where possible, we recommend our clients to buy a .com or .co.uk extension (where relevant for their business).
Is your domain memorable?
If you over complicate it or have unusual spelling of your company name, it will make it harder for clients to remember you so keep it simple!
Keep it short
Websites with long or confusing names can impede you. It is recommended to use one or two words in your domain. Try not to abbreviate words as only YOU will remember this.
Should you choose keywords or build a brand name?
What business are you in? Consider whether the inclusion of location and business keywords related to your business is better than trying to establish a brand name. Will your brand name resonate with your business, or will it get lost and forgotten?
Does it sound professional and authoritative?
Are you attracting your ideal clients with your name? A name that doesn't fit in with your business could prove costly. Think about what your customer will be attracted to.
Will I lose my existing SEO when I change platforms?
If done properly you shouldn’t see any impact of changing your website to a new platform.
These are some key points, as recommended by Digital Marketing Pro:
Setup the new website on a temporary URL
Test new website and make sure that everything is working and there are no broken links
Create a list of all pages from your old website
Create page by page 301 redirections to redirect old urls to new urls
Switch to the new website (all at once)
Make sure that the new website is verified with Google Webmaster tools
Use 'Fetch as Google' to check that Google can properly read the new website
Resubmit sitemap to Google and Bing
Monitor your rankings
You can read more here about the considerations to be aware of when switching platforms on an existing domain.
Talk to your web designers about any concerns that you may have and ensure that they are following all the recommended steps to ensure that everything transitions smoothly.
Now you can see that changing platform, but keeping your existing domain and SEO, is a straightforward process.