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Changing Webhost And Domain (?)


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10 replies to this topic

#1 bims

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:01 AM

Hello all,

Been a while since I've been in this forum.. see it's grown from even stonger. I've used many of the suggestions made here in the past so when I'm about to embark on a major site change it's only fair i run it by the experts here first.

Background...
My site has outgrown it's current structure. It's been going since 2004 and I'm now being fleeced by my hosting company because I'm pushing my disk storage and bandwidth. It is also made up of mostly static pages which makes it a pain to maintain.

What I'm about to do...
First, I am about to change hosts from a company in the UK to one in the States - this is where I host all my other sites plus they are cheaper and have more resources. This should take care of the technical hosting limitations. I've browsed the International SEM Issues Forum and I guess I'm understanding that my google.co.uk results will take a hit. What else should i be looking out for?

Secondly, I have also decided to migrate to the Joomla CMS application. I've been learning to use this and it could be a good solution going forward. It also means anyone can update the web site with the right permissions. This means I'm moving from an IIS plan to a Linux Plan. I do not think this has any implications for SEO but obviously my filenames are going to change. Where I had www.mywebsite.org may now become www.mywebsite.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=56. Do i just do a response.redirect to any of the newly created dynamic pages? What else should i be looking out for?

Thirdly, I am leaning towards moving my website from a .org to a .com
The site was mainly informational at it's time of creation but i've been adding more paid for services. Unfortunately, I really believe a lot of folks think we're non-profit. I am resolved to losing some of the information gathered over the years, especially newspages which will now effectively become dead. Is there any way around this you think? I am also going to leave the dicsussion forum and blogs on the .org because I definitely do not want to lose those indexed pages. What else should i be looking out for?

I'm scared because all of this does sound like a major move. I have got some really good link referrals from some high quality media like BBC, Sunday Times etc... and I'm just really worried about losing all that stuff.

Do you think this is too many changes to make at the same time? In a way, I'd much rather do it all at once but let me know your thoughts. What is the best way you think I should go about this?

Sorry for the long post but I guess it helps to put it down smile.gif



#2 1dmf

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:18 AM

1. changing host from UK to USA will mean your .co.uk won't take a hit, they'll completely vanish for UK Only searches, unless you are unable to do the 'parked domain' trick or use GWMT to change GEO target location, but of course, this depends on whether you are specifically targeting the UK or not? perhaps loosing UK Only SERPs doesn't worry you.

2. I don't like CMS systems, but that nor the windows -> linux move affects your ranking. however, it seems all your page URLS will change and that will affect rankings.

Especially if 3. you change your TLD / domain name.

But to rectify 2 + 3 you need to ensure you set up the correct 301 redirecting, to pass old PR to new pages.

Remember a full move and 301 redirect will take time to filter through the internet SE's and so you will see a drop until it irons itself out.

Hope this helps



#3 bims

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:43 AM

QUOTE(1dmf @ May 5 2009, 08:18 AM) View Post
2. I don't like CMS systems, but that nor the windows -> linux move affects your ranking. however, it seems all your page URLS will change and that will affect rankings.

Especially if 3. you change your TLD / domain name.

But to rectify 2 + 3 you need to ensure you set up the correct 301 redirecting, to pass old PR to new pages.

Remember a full move and 301 redirect will take time to filter through the internet SE's and so you will see a drop until it irons itself out.

Hope this helps


You think I shouldn't do it?


#4 NASA

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:48 AM

No, I've done it recently, but it was a hobby site so no commercial impact to care about.

If you are making money, and canot see a way to re-structure without the upheaval, then doing it is not forbidden, but it has consequences, ESPECIALY, if not managed properly.

Make sure you understand what's being affected, how the SE's deal with the changes, and what you can do to minimise impact and 'inform' the SE's of the changes in the best possible way.

If you really want to move, then you must have good damage limitation processes to follow and impliment.

Edit: Don't forget if the domain you're moving to is a new one, you can also have aging delay / sandbox issues.

Edited by NASA, 05 May 2009 - 08:03 AM.


#5 bims

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:48 AM

QUOTE(NASA @ May 5 2009, 08:48 AM) View Post
No, I've done it recently, but it was a hobby site so no commercial impact to care about.


You saying No, I shouldn't do it?

QUOTE(NASA @ May 5 2009, 08:48 AM) View Post
If you are making money, and canot see a way to re-structure without the upheaval, then doing it is not forbidden, but it has consequences, ESPECIALY, if not managed properly.

Make sure you understand what's being affected, how the SE's deal with the changes, and what you can do to minimise impact and 'inform' the SE's of the changes in the best possible way.


To be honest, I have to migrate the site to allow scope for further growth. I guess most of what is going to happen is that the SE's won't find some pages, but for those where I can, i can redirect them to the new pages. There are some where I can't like in the case of dynamic pages created from news application. Is there a clean way to handle these?

QUOTE(NASA @ May 5 2009, 08:48 AM) View Post
If you really want to move, then you must have good damage limitation processes to follow and impliment.

Do you have an example of a good 'damage limitation process'? Or a link to such information?


QUOTE(NASA @ May 5 2009, 08:48 AM) View Post
Edit: Don't forget if the domain you're moving to is a new one, you can also have aging delay / sandbox issues.


By new.. do you mean recently purchased? Because The domain currently exists and has been redirecting to my main site for a couple of years now. Obviously, no content but it does exist. Some folks may well even already link to it.

Thanks for your patience. smile.gif


#6 NASA

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 06:08 AM

QUOTE
You saying No, I shouldn't do it?
No....

You said...
QUOTE
You think I shouldn't do it?
I said no, I cannot make the decision for you no-one can but you...

But to make the descision you need to be armed with all the facts, and understand the likely impact.


QUOTE
To be honest, I have to migrate the site to allow scope for further growth. I guess most of what is going to happen is that the SE's won't find some pages, but for those where I can, i can redirect them to the new pages. There are some where I can't like in the case of dynamic pages created from news application. Is there a clean way to handle these?
depends, if you are moving to Unix then .htaccess and mod re-writes utilising reg-ex's can make life a little easier and cleaner.

IIS on the otherhand is a complete and utter pig, I've found I can't even redirect from an old page to a new page unless the old page physically exists on the hosting to then select it and setup re-direct, absolute nightmare!

QUOTE
Do you have an example of a good 'damage limitation process'? Or a link to such information?
no the point is you need to create one yourself, analysing your current situation, how you're going to move, what affect this will have on your website and what needs to be done to plug any gaps or help facilitate the move.

Only you know the pages and current structure and how it's going to end up after the move, if you gave specific examples of areas of concern then i'm sure the nice folk here will help find you a solution (if there is one), but there is no generic , one fits all step by step process you can follow.

QUOTE
By new.. do you mean recently purchased? Because The domain currently exists and has been redirecting to my main site for a couple of years now. Obviously, no content but it does exist. Some folks may well even already link to it.
Yup, i'm no expert so not sure how the SE's deal with old domain that had nothing on them just redirects, and if this stops any 'Age Delay' issues, but i had the same thing where i closed my .co.uk and used my .org which used to redirect, i didn't see any problems getting indexed pretty quickly!



#7 bims

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:14 AM

Thank you.

#8 NASA

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:23 AM

You're Welcome - but don't forget to get a second opinion wink1.gif

#9 rolf

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:32 AM

I think you've been given good advice here, so I don't have anything to add to that, just adding my 2p with regard to the question...

QUOTE
You think I shouldn't do it?


I learned a hard lesson with a domain change a few years back and I'm very cautious about taking unnecessary risks with the domains of profitable sites these days. Sometimes moving domains is unavoidable, but IMHO if it is in any way avoidable at all then I would stick with the domain I know is ranked and working for me, even if it's no longer ideal from a branding perspective.

Not telling that you should or shouldn't do it, only you can decide that, just sharing my (possibly over cautious) perspective on it.

#10 Randy

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:14 AM

The key in my mind is that if you're going to change the domain you should have the expectation that there may be some rough times ahead for a few months.

The point being that it used to take several months. Nowadays it's better in that it typically takes more in the neighborhood of weeks if you've got a well thought out plan and follow it religiously. But you're better off planning for months of financial outage and have it being only weeks of minor troubles than the other way around.

I'm with Rolf. I've done the domain swap thing several times because it needed to be done, and then only after considering every other available option. In every case it's made me nervous, and I never did it if I actually relied on the income from that site for my livelihood.

#11 BBCoach

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE
IIS on the otherhand is a complete and utter pig, I've found I can't even redirect from an old page to a new page unless the old page physically exists on the hosting to then select it and setup re-direct, absolute nightmare!
Absolutely not true. You could have made your life so easy if you'd used the 404.asp page with server side code to handle any and all redirects. I've built and ran many ASP websites without a single ASP page existing by totally exploiting the 404.asp page issuing 202s and 301s when appropriate. Not to mention ASP's performance kicks .NET's performance. Much prefer ASP to .NET, but that's not the world we live in.




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