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Moving Website Woes


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8 replies to this topic

#1 janellv

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 08:42 AM

Hi all,

I have been a fan of this forum for years, on and off, while working on different projects. Thanks so much to everyone who is so helpful all the time.

I have a website that I built 7 years ago on an old copy of Dreamweaver, and haven't updated for ages because the whole site really needed an overhaul and I didn't have the knowledge to do what I wanted to do in Dreamweaver. Then I discovered WordPress and realized that changing things would be so much easier if I used that. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the hit that my site would take by doing this. It actually got pretty decent search engine traffic for a number of good keywords. Not great, but decent.

Now, a week after the change, my traffic has dropped to less than 1/3 what it was before. I started researching and realized that I did a few things wrong. I was just wondering if I could get a little advice on this and see if I am missing any big pieces....

I kept the page titles pretty close to what the old page titles were. I probably should have been more careful in that area as I made a few changes here and there without SEO research to back it up. My biggest problem is that I'm having a hard time finding how to change the Home page title to what it was before, using a specific theme that I have. Still working on that.

The traffic on ALL pages however is down, even when the page titles stayed the same.

I know I did a few specific things that could have hurt:

I didn't think I could control the URLs, so I didn't try and just made them somewhat match the page titles. I probably should have studied harder to find out if there was a way to do that. Was I naive thinking that the 301 redirects would take care of that?

I probably should have put in all the meta descriptions/keywords on pages before turning the site on. I know the keywords don't matter so much, but does just the fact that they are there or not there matter?

What else did I doing wrong that I need to check up on? I should have probably posted a month or so ago, before moving my website, to make sure I had all my ducks in a row back then, but alas.... I have limited time so am just trying to figure out what to attack first, and make sure that I am not missing anything major.

Thank you so much for any thoughts you may have!!

Janell
(The site is [REMOVED] in case that is important to know. Everything redirected to no www in the old site, so that's how I have it set up here too.)

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:40 PM

If you're using new page names/URLs you'll just have to wait for the crawlers to find and index all your content. You may want to try to map 301-redirects from your old page structures to the new URLs in your .htaccess file.

Wordpress by default allows you to change the main site title in the SETTINGS area.

#3 janellv

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 01:11 AM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Nov 9 2011, 02:40 PM) View Post
If you're using new page names/URLs you'll just have to wait for the crawlers to find and index all your content. You may want to try to map 301-redirects from your old page structures to the new URLs in your .htaccess file.

Wordpress by default allows you to change the main site title in the SETTINGS area.


Ooooh, thank you so much about the title! That was driving me nuts. Looks like it's forcing the home page title to be the title of the site. I wish it didn't do that, I can't change the title of the site, but I'd like to change the title of the home page. *sigh* I'll go check their forums out to see if they have a solution.

I did get the 301 redirects set up almost immediately after switching the site over. (Ok, I fell asleep after doing the DNS change, and then wasn't coherent enough that night to realize I needed to set up all the 301s right away, so I did them the next morning.) I also submitted the new sitemap to the search engines. Maybe I shouldn't have done that? I got the impression that it didn't matter too much either way, but a plugin I was using did it automatically. Traffic was about the same for a few days, and then it dipped....

Thanks,
Janell

#4 Jill

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:48 AM

There are wordpress plugins that will allow you to change your home page title to whatever you want.

#5 janellv

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:44 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Nov 11 2011, 07:48 AM) View Post
There are wordpress plugins that will allow you to change your home page title to whatever you want.


Of course, I should have thought of that, thanks...

I originally posted this in a different forum and then put it in this one. Out of curiosity, what did I do that was specifically a no-no? Other than not being more careful about the page titles (and not studying things out before making the change)?

#6 Jill

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:59 AM

QUOTE
I originally posted this in a different forum and then put it in this one. Out of curiosity, what did I do that was specifically a no-no? Other than not being more careful about the page titles (and not studying things out before making the change)?


Any question asking why they may have lost a bunch of search engine traffic goes into this forum since it's usually due to something that was done that shouldn't have been (a no-no). It doesn't mean it was purposely done. Most SEO no-nos are simply mistakes by site owners who don't know better.

When you're redeveloping any website there are soooooo many no-nos that can be inadvertently made (and usually are) by the layman who doesn't do this stuff all day long.

#7 janellv

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 08:41 AM

Ahh, gotcha, thanks. One other thing I just realized, in each of the "sections" of the website, I had a few links going down the side that interlinked the pages in just that section. I had to remove those because in WP, I haven't yet figured out how to make a list of links in the sidebar show one way on some pages, and another way on other pages. So that interlinking is gone and might be hurting things. (for anyone who might be reading this in the future..)

#8 Jill

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:03 AM

QUOTE
So that interlinking is gone and might be hurting things. (for anyone who might be reading this in the future..)

Most likely that's it. Why not hire a wp developer to help?


#9 janellv

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:22 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Nov 13 2011, 10:03 AM) View Post
Most likely that's it. Why not hire a wp developer to help?


I've considered it! Probably will. I also found another problem - for some reason, suddenly the 301 redirects weren't working. I tested them after I first put them up and they were fine, so I have no idea what happened in the meanwhile. That was I'm sure part of the problem to. So I guess it just goes to show, don't trust anything, start from scratch, test everything, etc...

Thanks,
Janell




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