If you are thinking about changing your website domain name you need to ensure you follow the Changing Domain Name Checklist below so that you don’t loose any SEO juice after the move. It’s a time consuming admin process but worth getting right, especially if you want to retain your page rank in Google.
Changing Domain Name Checklist
OLD SITE TASKS
- Clone the exisiting website and move to the new web hosting.
- Copy all existing URLs and ensure they are forwarded onto their new respective URL’s. You do this by creating 301 redirects in a htaccess file.
- Replace the original website with a HTML holding page letting people know you website has moved to the new URL.
NEW SITE TASKS
- Point the new domain name to the new website hosting space.
- Install the cloned website on the new web hosting account.
- Amen any instances that refer to the old domain name.
- Create a new Google Apps account for the new domain.
- Let all existing customers know of your new change of address.
- Set up email forwarding from exisiting Google Apps to the new Google Apps email accounts.
- Set up the Out Of Office to act as an autoresponder in the old email accounts that lets clients know the new email address they should now use.
- Keep the existing Google Apps for at least 3 months until people stop emailing your old accounts.
- If your site has a login area of any kind you shouldn’t need to do anything. They will still be able to log in at the new URL.
- Let Google Webmaster Tools know about the change of domain name.
- Let Google know about the change of page URL’s to replace the old ones.
- Update website logo and any instance where the old name is mentioned.
- Update your FB and other social media pages to reflect the new name change.
AFTER 6 MONTHS
- After about 6 months you can delete the original website hosting.
- Update the original domain name with the new name servers of the new website hosting account.
- Added the old domain name as a parked domain in the CPANEL
- Ensure you set up redirection of the domain during the process - then if anyone still types in the old URL they will automatically be redirected to the new domain URL.
The reason you cannot do this part at the beginning is because we need time to allow the change of domain name SEO with Google to take effect.
As you can see - there is quite a bit of work involved if you want to do this correctly. Get it wrong and it could cost your SEO efforts dearly!