You’ve had your website redesigned or redeveloped and you are really happy with the work carried out by your web development team. It’s now time to go live. You are excited, anxious, wondering what your customers will think of the new website, you have a checklist in place. Have you remembered to map your old URLs to your new pages?
This is commonly an area of development that is either left up to site owners to deal with or glossed over by many web design companies and ignored. Your old site may be dated, it may have old content but in the years of existence it would have built up a search engine rank (pagerank). Your pages will have been graded by search engines based on a number of factors, including the number of links from external sites, and this is what ultimately determines your web pages position in the search results. So how can we make sure all these links are not lost? The answer is create 301 redirects. It is a bit of a painful process but it will ensure that any old links and their page ranks are not lost.
To implement a 301 redirect for websites that are hosted on servers running Apache, you’ll need access to your server’s .htaccess file. For more information visit the Apache .htaccess Tutorial and the Apache URL Rewriting Guide. If you are on a Windows platform you can rewrite your URL’s in IIS, however if you do not have root access to your server there are plenty of sites that will generate the rules needed to be added in your web.config file. Personally I quite like http://iis7-rewrite.heroku.com. To find a list of pages listed by google you can simply type site:yourdomainname.com in the search bar and a list of pages will appear.
The other option of course is to ensure that your web developers deal with the migration and you include this in your order contract. Contact us if you would like us to help you with your site migration.