With the New Year and all the organizing and business planning that goes on, many business owners make a decision to change their website from an old URL to one that better reflects their current business model. This is a great idea, but there is always a question about what to do with that old URL.
Your gut instinct might be to just toss it out, let it expire, and start fresh. If you never did anything with it, then that is a perfect option. But what if you did? What if you worked hard to post your old blog posts to your social media sites? What if your old URL is listed on some directories or blog comments that you can’t even remember anymore? What if your old URL was actually ranking decently on Google? What then??
I made a change from my previous business name VaVaVoomph a few years ago. It reflected a direction that I no longer am going. But I still own that URL. If you were to click on it, you would find yourself back at KimScottWebDesign.com. I still own it, and plan to own it for at least the next 5 years.
This serves multiple purposes.
First, the most obvious, is that you redirect your old URL to the new one so that anyone who happens to follow that old link will still find you.
The second reason is so that nobody else can pretend to be you, on purpose or by chance. Now the chances of that being on purpose are pretty slim if you have a fairly small business. But let’s say you did some business here and there and a few people remember you by your business name. So they google that, and wind up on “your old site”. Except it’s NOT YOUR old site, it is now someone else’s site. They may or may not be in the same business as you, but they just got the customer you worked so hard to contact a few years ago.
So keep paying for that old URL, redirect it to the new site, and rest assured that all of your previous link building efforts will not be in vain.
One more tip! If you redirect it with a wild card redirect, it will send people to the new URL that has the same page name. Example, on my old website I may have had a page called Web Site Design. If the url was VaVaVoomph.com/Web-Design-Services and you followed that link, the wild card redirect will send you to KimScottWebDesign.com/Web-Design-Services. Pretty nifty for those old deep links you had made! Otherwise they will just land on your new home page. Not bad, but certainly not perfect because then they will have to hunt for what they were needing.
Confused about how to do this redirect? We can handle it for you! Click here to schedule a free consultation to explore this or other services we offer.
Update! 11/21/2015: Case in point: I recently decided to rebrand, again, and I chose to go back to an old brand and URL that I had not used for several years. And since I still owned it, and it was still sitting there in my GoDaddy account, I was able to just slap it back into use. 🙂
K. Lee Banks says
This is good info to know – thanks for sharing! I have watched sites redirect before, and really didn’t understand the internal workings of how that happened. Thanks for explaining the how it works and the importance of preserving older, established domains.
The normal thing for me would just to wait for it to expire and forget about it, but thank you so much for the information. Its great to have this handy when I happen to be in this kind of situation.
Thanks for the great advice.
I have seen some people try to sell their registered name, believing they had built up a following that would be of value to someone wishing to carry on.
The danger of buying a pre-registered name may be that there may be some unfavourable history attached to it.
My feeling is to follow your advice and keep all of your digital roads leading to home.