How To Start Over on a New Domain
Affiliate business is not always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. And sometimes, the circumstances can force us to start over again with a completely new website and domain instead of continuing to build up an existing site.
Here’s how to do this from start to finish in the shortest amount of time possible:
Reasons For Starting Over
In general, the practice of removing an old site and putting up a completely new one in its place is not that uncommon on the web.
One of the most popular reasons for such situation is rebranding. Over time, goals and direction change and sometimes, such changes need to be reflected in the website’s domain and its whole identity.
Nowadays, however, we’re also noticing many website owners taking their sites down for much more negative reasons. And that is either manual penalty imposed by Google or some automatic rankings decrease due to the algorithm changes like Panda or Penguin. In the end, it’s because the old site is failing at SEO.
Although starting over should always be the last resort in such a situation, practice shows that building up a new site can often be quicker than trying to fix a previously penalized one. Especially for new sites that tend to get a head start on Google.
Getting a New Domain
Getting a new domain for a site re-launch is a standard process (your new website starts with a domain). You should start with keyword research, look into names that leave some place for branding, and also pay attention to how long and how easy to remember and spell the domain is.
You don’t necessarily have to get a domain that’s similar to the old one. In Google’s eyes, a different domain is simply a different domain.
New IP And Server
The most important rule is to get a completely new hosting account and IP address for your website.
This is especially important if you’re re-launching the site due to some kind of an SEO failure. If you used the same hosting, Google would quickly get a grasp on the situation and tie your new site to the old one.
You can either sign up to a different hosting company or contact support at your existing company and tell them about your need for a new IP.
Backing Up The Old Site
Regardless if you’ll end up reusing your old site or not, it’s always good to create a final backup of your site’s content to start with.
The backup process is as straightforward with CodeGuard as it is with the backup plugin but site restoration is way easier to handle with CodeGuard. The service comes with a price tag though, so the choice is yours.
For example, when you have Online Backup for WordPress installed, you can simply go to the Online Backup section in WP Admin, then to the Backup tab, select “Local” and click the Start manual backup button. After a while, you’ll have a ZIP package waiting for you and ready to be downloaded. This package will contain every piece of content published on your site.
Speaking of content…
Handling The Content
What you should do with the existing content of your site depends on the reason for re-launching it.
If you want to keep things stealth and not associate the new site with the old one directly, then you should either start over with new content or copy the old content but delete the old site at the same time (so you’re not penalized for duplicates).
If you’d like to reuse the content, a good solution is to copy only the best content (scoring the best rankings). And then create new content in place of the lower performing articles.
If you don’t care all that much about being stealth, you can set 301 redirects for your older domain to point to new versions of the articles on the new site. That way you won’t lose the SEO juice and all the backlinks you built for the old site. (You still need to delete the content from the old site though.)
In WordPress, you can set such redirections with the Pretty Link plugin. It’s quite easy to use and you also get click stats of how many people visited the links.
Once you know which path you want to follow, you can take the backup package you generated with the Online Backup for WordPress plugin or the CodeGuard service and proceed to restoring your old site’s content on a new domain.
With CodeGuard all you have to do is follow the instruction inside the tool. On the other hand, you’ll need to do some manual work with the backup package from Online Backup for WordPress.
This can get a bit technical, so it’s advisable to get a professional’s help or read a good how-to on WordPress migration.
Start With Good SEO
No matter what you’re doing with your content, you should always remember about proper SEO and good accessible design.
The best approach to making it happen is to use a quality WordPress theme. If you’re looking for something optimized for online gaming, you can go straight to Flytonic. If you want to get a quality general theme and then tweak it to your specific application, feel free to visit ThemeFuse or StudioPress.
On top of that, remember about a good SEO plugin like WordPress SEO.
We advise you to be careful with the methods you’re using to promote your new site. Let’s keep in mind that the old one got penalized for a specific reason. So maybe not all of your promotion methods are in tune with Google’s guidelines.
A good idea is to start by evaluating the things you’re doing and check what the general opinion about them is on various SEO and online marketing forums and blogs.
One more thing. If you’re planning to do AdWords campaigns for your new domain, make sure to start over with completely new campaigns and ads instead of just changing the target URLs in your old campaigns.
Have you ever been forced to start over with your affiliate site on a new domain due to any SEO-related problems?