Obviously when you launch a new website, it feels like a great opportunity to think about all your site content: you may want to re-write some of the articles, create some fresh pages, set up a new navigation structure on the site… and even think about changing your branding. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are up in the air, so everything seems up for grabs.
We understand that approach, and there are some good reasons to support it:
- You’re in the mood for change, and doing the work, which provides the necessary impetus to get on with it.
- You can improve and sharpen up your articles, with less text, more imagery, and more focus on selling the benefits to your vendors and landlord customers.
- Heck, the nice modern, responsive design for your website will probably work better with this newly trimmed, chunked and illustrated content.
BUT… We think there is a strong argument for launching your new site with the same (or very similar) content and navigation structure as your existing site.
One thing we often suggest to clients for the fastest launch is to carry over the existing content and navigation structures as closely as possible. We use the analogy that the site launch is the “first move in a game of chess”. If we agree about that, then the aim should be to get live asap, and launching with existing content achieves that.
And there are a good number of reasons to support this approach too:
- You are probably upgrading your site for strong reasons (lack of mobile / SEO / out of date design / chronic speed issues, etc.), and fixing those properly is worth £10ks to your business each month, especially if you are a big business. If you do it properly, the returns (which are hard to track, of course) completely dwarf the cost of the website project. And you want to get into that fresh breeze as soon as you can. So anything that adds delay to your launch, delays the time until you get that sales and instructions uplift.
- You have enough to worry about with testing your site, so it’s wise to separate the tasks. Keep it as simple as possible – so you can do one thing well.
- And you are taking a risk migrating your site – the disruption to the shape, pages and content of your site will un-nerve Google initially. There is a strong argument that the minimum disruption to content during the migration, the better; then prune and plant from there. Google gets stimulated by progressive change and crawls more often, rather than scared by a bulk change and re-organisation.
- (This of course all assumes that your new site is built on a flexible content management system, which allows you to go as far as editing the menus – you’ll need to be sure of that)
Besides you have an online marketing manager in your business these days, right? He or she is going to have enough to do with testing the site, preparing for the migration, setting up the SEO, and so forth. And they’re going to have plenty of time and resource to sort out the content AFTER launch.