How to smoothly change your domain without losing followers or SEO ranking

I think at some stage every blogger thinks about re-branding and changing domain names. Whether your topic or tastes change, you’ve grown out of it or it simply no longer represents your blog, switching to a new blog URL can be quite scary especially when you’ve built an audience and a following who know you as your current name.

A lot of blogging platfroms allow you to easily change your blog address, but there are a few things to consider before doing so. It’s not really something you should do frequently and I would recommend thinking longterm. I know it’s so hard thinking of a good name, especially now that most names are taken – my first five choices for this blog were taken! I do have some tips and tools for thinking of a blog name here that may help. This post will be divided into three parts. This post will cover the general things to think about and consider before switching as well how to go from one custom domain to another. The other two posts (listed below) will cover the steps in detail for each type of URL change so you can smoothly change your blogs URL without losing your readers.

Although the pros usually outway the cons, there are some things you should know about switching your URL. Not all of these will affect you and my next few posts will explain how to deal with or avoid some of these issues.

  • You could lose loyal visitors or readers.
  • You’ll lose your PageRank and Alexa ranking.
  • Bookmarks and other links to your blog could appear as broken or dead.
  • You’ll lose link juice if other websites and blogs have linked to you.
  • You’ll have to wait for your new site to be re-indexed by Search Engines.
  • Changing your blog name might confuse some of your readers.
  • Not all social media accounts allow you to change yor name.

How to prepare your blog for a domain change

This list will give you an overall idea of the steps for changing from one domain to another. If you’re changing your address on Blogger or changing from a blogspot.com address to a custom domain on Blogger, some of these steps either won’t be necessary or will need to be done slightly different as I’ll detail in my next posts. It’s really helpful to create a checklist when changing URLs so you don’t forget any steps or alterations that need to be made.

NEW EMAIL ADDRESS
You may want a new email address to match your new blog name so make sure to set it up in advance and change the contact details on your site. You may want to forward emails from your old account so you don’t miss any. You might also want to email your contacts letting them know that you can now be found at a new address.

TELL YOUR READERS
Let people know your plans via your blog, email and social media. When you do make the switch over to your new URL make sure to tell them. List your new social media links and remind people to update the URL if they have linked to you in blogrolls, ads, etc. This isn’t necessary for Blogger subdomain to custom domain changes as it will automatically redirect from the old subdomain to your new custom domain.

MOVE BEFORE EXPIRY + REDIRECT
If changing from an old custom domain to a new custom domain, try to plan the switch a couple of months before your old name expires. This way you can set up a 301 redirect that will automatically send visitors to your new domain. This is an important step! A 301 redirect tells search engines that your site has permanently moved. It will transfer ranking and link juice from your old site to your new site. If you let the domain run out and then switch, you could lose some readers who don’t follow you on social media.

UPDATE GOOGLE + BING
This step will help transfer your DA score from one domain to the other. Tell Google and Bing that your site has moved to a new URL, details for that can be found here for Google and here for Bing.

UPDATE SITEMAP
Set up a new site on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools. Use those tools to check that your new site is being indexed. From there you can submit a new sitemap to help your content be found, I’ve a tutorial on how to create and submit a sitemap on Blogger.

UPDATE YOUR RSS FEED AND BLOGLOVIN
You can set up a brand new feed for your new URL or change the old feed to receive updates from the new domains URL and keep old subscribers. You may need to contact Bloglovin to merge your old URL with your new one which will also merge followers.

UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA
This is obviosuly optional, depending on how you use social media but you can change your handles to match your new domain name or set up new social media accounts to represent your new name. Most sites make this change super easy and allow you to keep the same account with your followers. Other sites like Facebook can be trickier, but if your old name and new name are similar you could possible merge the two pages together.

EDIT GRAPHICS
We tend to use a lot of graphics on our blog and social media accounts like buttons and banners. Make sure these have your correct details on them. I’ve list of Photoshop and Illustator alternatives here if you’re creating graphics yourself.

UPDATE URLS ON YOUR BLOG
Although the redirect should do this, it is a good idea to update the old URLs on your blog to the correct new URL. If changing from a Blogger subdomain to a custom domain then this isn’t really necessary. On WordPress you can install a plugin to do this for you.

Next Set of Steps

Changing your address on Blogger…

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