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Thread: Switching Domain Names - How to Smooth the Transition

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Raleigh, NC

    Switching Domain Names - How to Smooth the Transition

    My company is deisigning/building a new site and we are also changing to a NEW domain name. We have a plan together of how to transition everything over as smooth as possible so that the end user doesn't run into any broken links or doesn't have a bad experience.

    Key things to keep in mind: We will not be running two simultaneous sites. This will be a hard cut-over. The old domain will still be there in case anyone hits it and we'll redirect accordingly but we do not want anyone using the old site once the new one goes live. When the new site is live, we need to start using it ASAP. This may not be best practice, but that's what I've got to do. I realize we can do a 301 but we're not ready for that. We want people who hit our old domain to see a message that says we've moved and to please update their bookmarks/favorites, etc and then redirect them. We're of course going to let everyone know ahead of time that a new site is coming.

    Here's the plan:

    Homepage of oldsite.com: If anyone hits oldsite.com, there will be a page there explaining that we've moved and to please update your bookmarks and then we'll redirect them after 15 seconds or whatever.

    Custom Error 404: We'll change this to a similar message.

    URLs that we advertise in print collateral: These will redirect to the NEW corresponding link. Example: oldsite.com/orange will redirect to newsite.com/orange.

    3rd Party Sites: For other sites that link to us, we're going to create an XML file that says if you're coming from someothersite.com, then you need to be redirected to this specific page. We don't want people going to the page saying we've moved. If they're trying to get to oldsite.com/contactus.htm from some other 3rd party site then they should get to the new corresponding page. The beauty of doing this in XML is that we can control where these people go instead of depending on the 3rd party sites to change their URL on-time. We'll just have them change their URL's to oldsite.com/redirect.aspx?id=site1 or something like that. Does this make sense?

    All the rest of our OLD URLs: If someone has bookmarked some other URL within our OLD site they'll just get the error 404. We'll of course cover all the advertised URLs and popular URLs and do redirects but for the more obscure URLs/pages, we want to avoid do hundreds of individual redirects.

    Does anyone have any feedback for this? Is there an easier way to go about this? Do you know of a Web site that lists best practices for these specific issues?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by TheWebMistress; 08-11-2008 at 03:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    This link would be good to read, along with the related links. Also, a Google search turned up some other pretty good leads.

    ""Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."" -- Sir Winston Churchill

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