Our thanks to Emma-Julie Fox for this guest post!
The Necessity of Relaunching a Website and Pre-Launch Reminders
Relaunching a website is done to an existing website that needs to be overhauled.
A website, especially one that fronts for an online business, is pretty much like a commercial building. It is where people “enter” to find out more about the products and services offered within. When the management feels that it is time for a redesign, or if it is discovered that there are several faulty wiring issues or structural defects, the establishment will have to rope off sections of the premises or close the entire store temporarily so that workers can begin correcting and improving on the infrastructure.
The same thing can happen to a website. The advantage here is that it’s possible to make people unaware of the ongoing work because a website can be redesigned without taking down what’s visible from the SERPs (search engine results pages). Website developers can work on the back end without touching the front-end, which is a good thing because it allows business to proceed as usual even though the website itself is currently under works.
Relaunching a website is a lot of work. You’ll need to invest a lot of time, effort and resources, so it’s always a good idea to evaluate whether or not a relaunch is necessary or not.
When Is a Relaunch Necessary?
Many writers get started on their author websites without putting much thought on its design, structure, content, and purpose. There are some who start out by creating something like a personal blog, and when it started to pick up, they realized they could actually make money out of it. Plenty of technical terms and concepts start pouring in, like SEO (search engine optimization), website stats, page rank, SERPs ranking, link profile, and so forth.
There are also others who have an idea what SEO is all about before they started to dabble with websites and making money online. These beginners start out on a better footing than the previous example, but nevertheless need to be guided in managing and structuring their websites.
Beginners are not the only ones who need to relaunch their websites. Even authors who have had years of experience in website creation and management may need a makeover. If they want to implement major changes in their business, if they want to change themes or concentrate on a different genre, they may need to do a major website redesign. In fact, it is the expert website developers who usually call for a website relaunch.
Relaunching allows websites to start fresh, but not on a completely clean slate. All the positive attributes your site had previously earned may be retained: Page Rank, link profile, some content, SERPs rankings, and authority rank, to name a few.
This now brings us to the first step of relaunching a website.
Recommended Steps of Website Relaunching
1. Compile all website data.
This has nothing to do with the technically overhauling a website, but it is necessary because it gives you a clear picture on where you currently stand. The stats you gather will be your new starting point. Naturally the goal would be to surpass those numbers and keep them going high (except for the negative stats of course, like bounce rates and broken links).
By outlining your starting point, it will be easier for you to evaluate and monitor progress after the relaunch. This is critical because your findings later will help you decide what will be the best or most lucrative course of action regarding your website.
2. Get everyone on board.
As we’ve already mentioned, relaunching a website is a lot of work. If you are a one-man operation and you can spend entire days working on the redesigning and audit, then at least you have the advantage of moving into the direction you want to go. Now if there is a team behind the website (i.e. your publicist, marketing manager, etc.), every one of them should be cooperative in the restructuring and redesigning the website and repurposing content, among other things.
One of the challenges here is to get everyone in sync with the entire process so that there will be no delays. By the time the design is done and the structure is ready, the content should have been corrected or changed as well and ready to be uploaded.
3. Look for opportunities for monetization.
When redesigning and replanning the new website, think about how you can maximize it for monetization. Can you spare space for PPC ads or paid banners? If you haven’t purchased a domain name yet and you plan on changing your old one, you might want to consider buying from domainer companies like Oversee.net, which was founded by Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee, Lawrence Ng. It has a huge portfolio of domain names that have already been monetized. If you decide to delay your plans to relaunch, you can also park the domain with the company and let them monetize it while it sits in wait.
4. Organize your domains.
Some websites change their domains when they relaunch. When that happens, the good record earned by the old domains will be put to waste if they’re going to be trashed. If they are left live and the new website is up, you can hit a technical violation with duplicate content (It doesn’t matter if the domains are very alike, or that both domains pertain to and are owned by a single entity. Google will still view them as two different websites.).
What you can do is redirect the URLs of the pages you can’t afford to lose because of the high stats to the URL pages of the new website where they are supposed to go. Map out the internal pages of your website and indicate which of the old pages will be redirected to where so that nothing will be left out. This record will be a useful reference for any future changes in the new website.
5. Preserve inbound links.
Inbound links beef up your link profile and pull up your PR and SERPs ranking. It would be a shame to lose them, along with the old pages of the website should you wish to change your domain. 301 redirecting will only funnel traffic going into the old page and straight to the new one, so you don’t have to worry about the traffic ratings.
The link value, however, will remain on the old page. What you need to do is contact the webmasters of the most valuable inbound links and inform them of your intent to relaunch your website to a new domain.
This is going to take a long time because you may have to remind those webmasters of the merits of linking to your site. It will be wise to begin this as early as possible. On a positive note, your partnerships will be re-established and your outreach efforts may open more opportunities for inbound linking.
Only after you have done these things should you begin working on relaunching the site. There will be less trouble for you later if you have your website records, have mapped out internal page redirects, planned the on-page real estate, and started the work on preserving your link profile.
Have you gone through a launch or relaunch? What surprised you most about the process? Has it improved your author platform? Tell us about it!
Emma-Julie Fox enjoys writing blogs on social media marketing, web design, and online marketing best practices. She writes for Pitstop Media Inc, Vancouver – a white hat SEO services company that caters to businesses across North America