Redirecting your old website: not Somebody Else’s Problem, sadly

So, that’s the summer over with then. Two of our clients had major website relaunches during the quiet months, and I’m delighted to say that both remembered to ask the website design agency to organise the pages on the old site to be redirected to their new equivalents. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is something which hardly any website design agency ever seems to suggest or recommend to clients, yet it’s something which (if not done) will kill a website in the Google results overnight.

Why is it not standard procedure for website design agencies? I just don’t know. Maybe because it’s a real chore, and work they really don’t want? Or can they really be so ignorant of (or uncaring about) how important this is in their client’s search engine performance? Is the task just covered by a Somebody Else’s Problem field?

Whatever the case, if you’re having a website redesign, it’s up to you to ensure this gets done. I’ve seen two major companies this year launch shiny, expensive new websites without redirecting the pages on the old site to the new one. In both cases, traffic from Google halved, and has not yet recovered. Just think about the implications.

The lost traffic (several thousand visits a month) would cost them up to £5,000 a month to replace using, say, Google AdWords. The lost business would be presumably even greater.

It’s a scandal that so-called professional contractors can destroy a company’s business this way. It’s like a plumber offering to install a new washing machine, but just connecting the water hoses and then walking off, not offering to do the electrical wiring or even mentioning that it needs to be done. No, actually, it’s worse than that, because at least it will only have caused you a minor inconvenience when you realise something’s wrong.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what you need to be instructing your website design agency to organise.

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