Websites are never static. In fact, a good website should be tweaked and updated continually depending on your desired outcomes. However, it can be a daunting prospect to shake things up if your site is functioning well and racing traffic. So what must you consider if drastic changes are required?
Why You Might Want To Change Your Website Set-Up
A website’s purpose is not to be static, and it needs to be updated with new features, functionality, and content regularly. If a website doesn’t get updated often or at all, it can quickly become outdated. This will lead visitors away from your site and eventually negatively impact business growth. Some website changes are made to improve a specific concept, redesign and optimize performance, or make the site more user-friendly for search engine ranking. The most popular reasons for changing your website are:
- Website design is obsolete
- You want to change your domain name
- You want to migrate your site to a different host
- Adding or updating content
You Want To Change The Design
You Are Rebranding And Need To Change Your Domain Name
It is possible to change your domain name for various reasons, including SEO or rebranding. However, changing your domain name can be a headache. A website URL is like an abbreviation of your company’s name. If you change it without having a plan, you will have to spend time and money on marketing again to get your new website ranked in the search engines. Most cases will necessitate a 301 redirection to direct your current visitors to the new address. A 301 redirection is a type of permanent redirecting. It is an indication by the webserver to the client (browser) that the requested URL should be redirected permanently, and they should expect it to not exist in the future.
You Have Outgrown Your Host
In some cases, you might find that you have outgrown your initial host and need to upgrade to one who can handle your requirements. However, it is essential to remember that changing your website host can be complex. The first step towards moving your website to a different host is deciding whether or not you want to move away from hosting with your current provider. You should only consider changing hosts if the service you are receiving is inadequate.
Changing hosts should be done with care because it has many moving parts. The process of moving servers is referred to as a website migration. Migrating a website is a daunting task, and it needs to be done with care. One thing you should do before the migration process is deciding on your website’s purpose. If you plan on migrating your site yourself, you should refer to a detailed website migration guide. However, if you are not tech-savvy, it might be wise to ask your new host to perform the migration on your behalf. In some cases, this is free, while you will have to pay for it in others. Whatever option you choose, you should ensure that you make a full and complete backup of your site beforehand.
What You Should Do Before Making Any Changes
Before you make changes, make sure that the changes are relevant and that there are no significant consequences for the users of your website. It is also important to know what other websites or companies use your website so that you do not negatively affect their branding or content.
Make a plan
As with anything in life, you should begin the process by making a thorough plan. This can include:
- Understanding what you need to change
- Who do you need to inform before the process begins
- Make a map of your exciting URLs
- Create an overview of existing metrics (traffic, speed, structure, backlinks, etc.)
- Set the deadline the changes must be completed by
Create A Full Backup
When changing a website, it’s essential to take the time to consider what you might need to back up before making any changes. However, not all website owners are aware of the importance of backing up their websites. Some of the main reasons to have a good backup plan in place include:
- Things can go wrong: This is the most obvious point, and with something as complex as a website redesign or migrations, things are bound to go wrong.
- You can revert if necessary: If things don’t turn out as planned, or your customers hate your new site, you can revert to your saved version.
- Peace of mind: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, is typically the day in the life of a website administrator. Having a backup can give you peace of mind that you have prepared for the worst!
- It is straightforward: Creating a backup is the simplest part of any change. Many hosts offer free services that backup your site every day. Many also provide an option for you to back up your site whenever you need it manually.
Many factors need to be considered when making changes to a website. There are no simple steps to follow, and many websites will be built differently depending on the use. While this guide has provided an overview of what needs to be done and things to consider, it is in your best interest to consult with a professional if you need to do anything significant to your site. Knowing what needs to be done is the first step, but it is much more critical to ensure that it is done correctly.