There are many reasons why you may consolidate or merge two or more sites into one. For example:
- Perhaps your business has grown into different areas that need to come together under one umbrella.
- You purchased a new business or a new domain and want to bring that into your current brand.
- For whatever crazy reason you have two websites and you need to drive traffic to just one.
Regardless of the reason, this is not an undertaking to be taken lightly.
Today we will discuss the basic steps and precautions you need to take when merging two or more sites into one.
Merging Two Websites Into One
For this exercise on merging websites into one, we will use a simple example where you merge two into one. We will refer to the sites as:
- Site A: The main site – the URL that will remain where the other site will be merged)
- Site B: The secondary site that will be merged into Site A. This URL will disappear.
Crawl Both Sites
You need to do this in order to “take inventory” of the pages you’ll be migrating. You do this to ascertain that no pages are lost and to ensure that you don’t cause any unnecessary SEO errors at release.
Spin A Dev Server
You NEVER (EVER!!!) want to run a project like this on live. You will want to spin a development server and do all the work there. The last thing you want is to work on live site and create unwanted headaches.
Work On Site Architecture
It is incredibly important to plan out the consolidated website’s architecture. Make sure it makes sense from an SEO and User Experience point of view. This step includes mapping your URLs and making lists for redirects.
Migrate ALL Content from Site B to Site A
If you don’t bring over all the content from site B to site A, you can end up with 404 errors. This is an easy way to lose traffic, get a higher bounce rate, and end up with worse search rankings.
Update Internal Links
The site that is being merged to the new one will most likely have internal links to itself. You need to make sure those links are updated to the new links on the new URL.
Work On Redirects
Use your site scans to create 301 redirects. This will make it so the SEO from old links from the retired site is brought over to the new site.
PRO TIP: Make sure you redirect your images to reduce errors at launch.
Test the new site. This includes checking for broken links, making sure all functions work. Testing out all your plugins to ensure they are all working properly.
Release the New Site
Release the new consolidated site and be sure to have your team around to test. Do this during a time when you get little to no traffic. Also, don’t announce the new site until about a week after release. You don’t need to inundate the site with traffic while you may be troubleshooting items or when search engines are crawling your new site.
On the retired site remove all robots.txt directives so that bots can discover the new redirects to your new site. Make sure that your robots.txt file allows crawling on the new site.
Check That Analytics And Search Console Are Properly Connected
You will want to keep a keen eye on the site for the first month after the release, so make sure these tools are working properly.
Submit Your New Site's Sitemap
This will speed up the process of Google crawling, indexing your new site, and finidng redirects.
Update Website Links
Make sure you update links to your new website on social media, directory sites, and anywhere else sit B may be linked to. You want to ensure you don’t lose any of that link juice.
Let Binary Bits Consolidate Your Site
If you still feel nervous about merging two websites and need help with your website consolidation strategy, we can help.
We will sit with you to discuss your goals, your industry, and your clients in order to put together a website consolidation strategy that will be executed flawlessly.
We understand the importance of safeguarding valuable link juice from one website to the other, and we’ll work with you to ensure that the branding of your new merged site is consistent and beautiful.
Schedule a consultation below, and in the meantime, you can review this website consolidation case study.