How to relaunch your website: a step by step guide

Either you want to refresh your brand, change the technology you use or your domain name, you will have to take into account some SEO points. We relaunched our website for all these reasons that are:

* to spend more time on the web design for our upcoming official launch

* to migrate from mephisto (ruby on rails) to wordpress for ease of use and SEO

* to add a new domain name for our main service bime more focused on our activity.

I don't pretend it is easy, that you won't lose traffic (you will) and that this step by step guide is the perfect way to do this. Nevertheless, here what we did for our website relaunch.

1) Have your new site ready aside the old one

2) Update your feedburner feed (hopefully you use feedburner) to point to your new feed

3) Use redirection where needed to preserve your ranking in search engine

Most of our content migrated from wearecloud.com/blog to businessintelligence.me/blog_en. This is tricky because google indexed a lot of our past contents.

The easy way: you just want to move your content but keep permalink structure. Most web servers (Apache, IIS, nginx) have a rewrite url engine. Apache one is mod_rewrite. Using a simple regular expression, you can redirect all your requests to the new domain.

The (not so) hard way: in our update, we changed the permalink structure to be more pretty and SEO friendly. Do we had to create a rewrite rule for each posts? Enter the worpdress redirection plugin (hopefully, you chose wordpress in your upgrade). One important thing: choose 301 (permanent) redirection, as this is the one that will impact the less your search engine findability.

Now, that we took care of the innerlinks, we need to take care of your partner link, those that points to you. Go to your google analytics account or google webmaster account and look at the links that brings you traffic and redirect them accordingly.

It may be a good idea to contact your major partners so they update their links

4) Test for dead links on the old and new web site

http://validator.w3.org/checklink

5) Let everyone knows about your new website

* Update/submit your sitemaps to google and yahoo

* Submit your new web site and rss feed to all the major directories

6) Be active

Try to add the more new and good content after relaunched (hey, that is what we are doing here!) in order to attract link to your new website.

7) Monitor

look at google webmaster for any problem or broken links and in particular the redirection part. Look at your stats to see the result.

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We used these resources to make this guide

seomoz, seologic, webdesign.about.com, webproworld, webproworld(2)