It finally happened. You’ve fallen out of love with your website creator. Things were good at the start, but then you started to notice pain points. Maybe it was being stuck in a rigid template that did the trick, or the limited customer support. Regardless of the reason, the spark is gone, and it’s time to move on.
Switching website creators is a big project, there’s no denying that. But it doesn’t have to be as scary as you might think. With proper research and preparation, you can make the switch. The key is to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Here are some things to consider when moving from one website creator to another.
Transferring Your Current Website
You may have fallen out of love with your website creator, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left between you and your website design. Maybe you still love the layout of your current website, and want to keep it in tact moving forward. This is why you should look at whether or not your new website creator has the ability to import an existing web page layout.
It could be through the source code, or some sort of import page layout feature, like the one PageCloud offers. Or maybe the program will let you bring in content from a graphics program, so you can import your website’s mock-up.
Either way, make sure it’s possible to work with your existing website layout, if that’s your plan going forward. Otherwise, you might end up recreating your website design from scratch. This could add a lot of unnecessary work to the transition process.
Much like domain registration, you’ll need to look at whether or not your website is hosted through your current website creator. You may build/edit your website through one program, but it may be hosted (stored and displayed online) through another company. In this case, you’ll obviously need to look at another hosting service.
Your new website creator might provide website hosting as well, and in that case, you won’t have to worry. But if not, you’ll need to find a third-party service to host your website. Some domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, provide website hosting as well.
If your domain registration is run through your current website creator, you’ll need to find a new registrar for your domain name. It would be your new website creator, or a third-party service that will register it separately, and allow you to point it at your new website. Of course, if you already registered your domain through another service, you don’t have to worry about this.
This will prevent broken links going forward. Any changes to link structure could cause problems if the old links are still posted publicly. Link structure is basically the order of your URL. So let’s say your blog used to be hosted at example.com/blog, and is now blog.example.com through your new website creator. Any links posted with the first structure are now going to be broken.
In the event that you have to change the URL structure of your web pages, you’ll need to set up redirects for the links that are already public. For example, if you shared a link to your pricing page on Facebook a few weeks ago, and had to change the link structure with your new registrar, that link will no longer work. But if you set up a redirect, your old link will be redirected to the new one. Visitors who click on that link going forward will never even know there was a disruption.
So make sure that your new website creator, or domain name registrar, gives you the ability to redirect old links, if you have to change them in the first place. This will ensure visitors are not disappointed when they click on a link and see an error page, and make the transition process a little smoother.
Maintaining Search Ranking
Where your page ranks in online searches plays a key role in your regular website traffic. You may have spent years building the SEO (search engine optimization) of your website. Losing any ground you’ve gained because of a change in website creator could mean you’ll have to rebuild everything you’ve worked for.
In addition to URL maintenance or redirects, which will both play a role in keeping your SEO the same, there are a few other things to consider when making the switch between programs.
Keep in mind that it’s normal to experience a change in search rankings when you switch website creators. There are a number of things you can do to ensure the effect is minimal, but don’t be too alarmed is a slight change occurs, even for a couple of days while Google re-examines your website.
Look at the SEO options offered by the new website creator. Do they match the ones available through your current platform? Will you have the ability to transport meta descriptions, tags and image tags that already existed in your website?
[For more information of SEO and your website, check out our SEO guide]
You’ll also want to check your hyperlinks as you transport content from one program to another. Make sure that any link to another page within your site, or to pages elsewhere on the Web, is maintained once you transition to the new program. This will help preserve the relationship your website has with other sites.
Don’t stay with a website creator you’re unhappy with. Your website is such an important part of your business, that staying with a program that causes you frustration is just not worth it.
With a little preparation and research, you can ensure the process of switching to a new website creator is as smooth as possible.
While you’re giving your website an overhaul, why not take a look at our website design must-haves, to ensure you are maximizing the return on your website.