The (temporary) fallout from changing your website domain
Brent Renneke, Associate Editor
May 4, 2012
Filed under Brent Renneke
As your business stands today, you may not be happy with your website URL. Maybe your dream website domain was being used at the time. Maybe your business has changed from its original purpose. Or maybe the original URL was not as well thought out as you previously believed.
For those who decide to make the move to another URL, expect a temporary drop in visitors who find your site through Google, according to this New York Times article by Ian Mount.
In the article, Newark Nuts Company, a family-owned retailer of bulk nuts and dried fruit, changed their website URL from NutsOnline.com to Nuts.com after buying the new domain for a hefty price.
Despite what most would consider the ideal URL for the company, Newark Nuts took a huge hit in online business due to a 70 percent drop in unpaid Google searches two weeks after the switch. Almost three months later, traffic was still down 50 percent.
Although a portion of the decrease was unavoidable due to Google’s algorithm adjusting to the new address, Matt Cutts, chief of Google’s Webspam team, offered two suggestions to ease the transition in the article.
1. Move content over to the new URL before transitioning the entire website over. Even just a banner ad announcing the new identity would prepare users and Google for the site’s new purpose. (A YouTube video on how to do so is linked to on the site.)
2. Test the new website for problems by moving a portion over to the site. (Again, a YouTube link shows how to do so.)
The article points out a few more tips, as well as an interview with the owner of Newark Nuts on the challenges of becoming Nuts.com.