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Website dilemma

If this is deemed to be the wrong place for this posting, I can only say that I cannot access the posting option on any of the discussion groups, despite being a member.

I am about to run my sole trader business under a limited company name which is different from that of my sole trader name. I have purchased a domain name for the new company and my website hosting company have "pointed" it to the sole trader website. (Don't really understand what this means!).

I think it best to have a new website on the new domain name, but keeping the old website for the time being, as it has worked itself up the rankings to a very small extent. I think when the new website is ready, I need to have a one page notification on the old site pointing to the new site. Perhaps I need to have some of the key search words on this page to keep up with the ranking? On the new website, would it be a good idea to mention the old soletrader name either prominently or discreetly, for both search engine reasons and also to reassure people who are looking me up based on an old mailshot letter that only showed my old website name and address?

Can you comment on my plans please? And do you have better ideas? I have had such problems with website design in the past I thought I would ask people who know first, before committing myself to yet another IT person.

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05th Aug 2011 07:54

Update existing website

Since the sole trader business has ceased to exist, is there a reason why you are not simply updating your existing, highly ranked, website to reflect the change of legal entity? This very much seems like a case of, it isn't broken, don't fix it. I presume all your existing customers and suppliers are simply changing over to work with the Limited company so why not the website.

When your website host say that the new site is "pointing" to the old one, what they mean is anyone entering the new website address is automatically redirected to your old website. Once you've switched over to the limited company, you will need to display the company name in a moderately prominent way on the website. See the Companies House guidance here.

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05th Aug 2011 08:40

Make use of the page rank of the old domain - plus some advice

@Moonbeam

There are a couple of ways you can do the redirect - they are usually just options in the admin panel from the particular domain provider.  When someone keys in the new domain it points to the IP address of the old site (wherever it is sitting/hosted) or replaces the address with the old address - either way your prospective customer gets to your old working site.  

You want to keep the old domain because it has achieved a Google page rank - that makes sense.  When you get the new domain properly up and running with the new site, you need to create a link on the old site to the new site.  Your new site is starting from scratch in terms of SEO (that's search engine optimization) and so pointing the old site to the new will mean the new domain inherits some of the Google page rank goodness from the old site.  This is part of the basics of SEO - you need to get your new domain linked to by as many good/important sites for your topic as you can, and that gets you nearer to the top of a Google search - the search crawler gives you a higher rating/importance.  

Adding new keywords to the old site is a good idea.  Making it clear on both sites why you've changed and where they should go now (with a link) makes sense, particularly as you'll get hits from that old mailshot and they need to know where to go now.  

For your new site, please make sure you are in control.  Whoever is doing it for you needs to be providing you with a content management system (CMS) so that you can change anything on the site yourself (as a non-technical task), and so you can experiment with new ideas.  The CMS should also give you access to the internal code and tags that are important for SEO too.  Avoid the scenario where you have to go back to the agency/expert and pay every time you need to change a word.   

Hope that helps.  Track me down if you want some more advice or free help with the SEO topic.

David Terrar

D2C

Disclosure: We make websites for accountants, businesses, practices

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05th Aug 2011 09:13

301 Redirect and/or domain parking

Hi Moonbeam,

In order for your new site to inherit some of the "strength" (SEO-wise) of the old one you might want to redirect the old to the new (when this one is up and running).

To do so, you need to

either ask your domain host to attach the old domain to the new by creating it as a parked domain and redirecting traffic.or, use what's called a permanent redirect (301) on the old domain to point to corresponding pages on the new one.

Hope this helps

Leo | NetAccountant | AccountantWebsmiths

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08th Aug 2011 18:36

Thanks for your Comments

Because I haven't found it easy getting to grips with the new Aweb site your comments weren't forwarded on to me because I hadn't clicked the button. (Poor old soul!).

So this afternoon I was delighted to have had replies from the usual experts.

I have had some dreadful experiences with web designers as you know, and half the battle has been that I didn't understand what was required first so that I could ask the right questions.

David - I will pm you, as it is clear I should not be let loose on the market place without help!

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