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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:50 AM
When the switch is made I would like to keep the old Homestead site functional to catch any loose traffic that comes and find websites that have linked to my old site using the old Homestead domain instead of my personal domain. I would also like to keep the old site up for reference purposes for awhile.
This means I would have two sites more or less the same operating at the same time, although the old Homestead site would get very little traffic because all links and search engine traffic would follow my domain name now pointing to the new host server address.
Question - are there any disadvantages to doing this, specifically, would Google frown on having two sites nearly identical up and running at the same time, while I am making the transition?
Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:07 AM
Posted 21 August 2009 - 07:59 AM
Is the site on the Homestead hosting now set up to respond to a domain name you own? Or is it something that is actually on their domain name or another domain name?
If the domain name is going to be staying the same and the site is simply moving to a new host you shouldn't have to do much. Do leave the stuff up at the old server for a bit to allow time for DNS propagation to kick in worldwide. But otherwise things these days normally transfer over quite nicely. If you have control of the local DNS at the Homestead server you can notify the search engine spiders behind the scenes by tweaking it to include the IP number of your new server. I do this when commissioning a new server and have zero problems, but it's not a strict necessity.
If the domain name is changing then your best bet is going to be to set up 301 redirects from the existing site/pages to the new url address. It'll take a bit longer to complete the transfer, but these days that's usually a matter of days or maybe weeks as opposed to the months it used to take.
Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:38 PM
I'm a little confused by the question Ray, so let's try to get a bit of a clarification.
Thanks Randy - to clarify then ...
I have a website hosted with Homestead, which is one of those WYSIWYG website building companies that allows newbies to build websites with little or no html knowledge. I started off with this company but have well outgrown it. I also suspect they do not give you your own IP address, you just share with others (?). Without an individual domain name the URL of a persons website reads as a subdomain of the main homestead one.
I have a domain name that points to my Homestead website using CNAME pointing. The reason I used CNAME pointing instead instead of URL forwarding was because for some reason my site kept showing up ocassionally in Google search results with the homestead name in all the site URLs, instead of my domain name. The only way I could fix that was to use CNAME pointing.
However, I have now redesigned my site in Dreamweaver and about to move my site to a proper server. With my domain name, I will simply stop using CNAME pointing to Homestead and forward my domain name to the new server.
I hope that is clearer.
So is it OK to keep both sites up and running for awhile, even though the content is almost exactly the same? (obviously I made some structural changes in the redesign)
One of the main reasons I want to keep both running is because I want to see how much traffic is going to the old site then use 301 redirects for the pages that are still getting traffic.
I appreciate your help
Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:41 PM
thanks ... what if I leave it up for about 6 months? Would I get penalised by Google?
Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:12 PM
If the former is the case you shouldn't see anything happen in the SERPs due to the hosting change. (Note: Rankings still could fluctuate since you're hitting 'em with a redesign too, but that depends more on how much the content and structure is changing, not the hosting change.)
It's going to depend somewhat though on which domain address they know about.
If the yourdomain.homestead.com address is the one that's indexed you'll have to do some additional work eventually. But I doubt this is the case given your specific mention of using a CNAME. Chances are more likely than now that it's been showing up and is indexed as www.yourdomain.com.
On the other question, yes you're okay leaving the homestead version up for awhile. You won't get penalized for something like that. About the worst that might happen is that the engines could send visitors there occasionally if any of those pages appear in their index. One or the other will be filtered, so hopefully it's the homestead version that gets filtered.
Eventually though you'll want to remove those pages. If you don't mind paying for a few extra months of hosting at homestead it might even be wise to change the pages there sometime after the other hosting is up and running smoothly to notify anybody who may have bookmarked one of those yourdomain.homestead.com addresses about your new location. Not absolutely necessary, but if you don't mind chipping in some money to them for a few months that should catch any stragglers.
Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:33 PM
Which address was indexed by the search engines then? The www.yourdomain.com address or the yourdomain.homestead.com address?
BOTH! that's why I had to use CNAME pointing to get rid of the yourdomain.homestead URLs showing up the SERPs.
"If the former is the case you shouldn't see anything happen in the SERPs due to the hosting change." Unless of course my structural / design changes are deleterious to my SEO, which I doubt.
Appreciate the advice Randy
Posted 22 August 2009 - 10:35 AM
I wouldn't leave the old pages there if it were me. You'll make it more difficult to get your new ones indexed, imo.
You probably can't do it, but if you can 301 redirect the homestead URLs to the new domain that would be preferred.
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