We all work hard to build our brands. Business owners and managers spend countless hours and $$ to drive traffic to their websites. But what happens when you have to change your web URL? We don’t like to think about it, but sometimes it’s reality. Your business name changes, the company evolves into a different focus, or (the one we all try to avoid) someone forgets to renew your URL and it gets purchased by someone else. (eeek!) Whatever the reason, it might be necessary to change your website address at some point. To avoid as much confusion as possible, make sure that your current website address is listed in all of these places:
Your Own Website
Yes, it may seem obvious. But this is an easy one to miss… it’s too obvious! Go over your website with a fine-tooth comb. Read every page, check every reference to your company. Make sure that all text and links lead folks to your new site address. Don’t forget to check your blog while you’re at it!
Just this past weekend, I was doing research for a new project and came across a company that looked to be out of business. Every reference that I could find for them on the web sent me to a dead website. Then I found them on Facebook and noticed they had posted within the last few days. “Great! I’ll follow the link on their info page.” Wrong! Dead link! I sent them a note telling them their website was down. They responded saying they checked into it,their site was functioning fine, and provided me with a link. Guess what? It was a different web address than was listed everywhere… including on their own Facebook page! I commented again so they would check their information link and they thanked me for catching the error. Again, most folks are not in the habit of reviewing their About, Profile or Information pages in social media. They are focused on interacting with folks, so this is a very easy one to miss. Be sure to check the profile of all of your social media accounts.
If you advertise online, always be sure to check not only the contact information listed on your ad, but also where the ad links. This is also important if you have an ad linking to a particular page of your site. Always make sure that your ad is linking to an appropriate, live web page.
Online Business Directories
Internet based business directories can be a great (often free) source of advertising for your business (examples: Yelp & TripAdvisor). But they do you no good if they link to the wrong web address. Every so often, go to a search engine and conduct a search for your business to make sure that the directories have you listed correctly.
Now that you’ve taken care of your online brand, don’t forget about your printed materials. Take a look at everything that you send out via print media: brochures, postcards, business cards, ads,… Make sure your website, all of your other contact information, and any dates/times are current and accurate. For example, if you are a church, you don’t want folks showing up for a 9:30 service that has moved to 9:00. Don’t forget about all of your “auto-pilot” ads… those ads that renew automatically each month, quarter or year. Ask the publisher for a copy of your ad so you can make sure that everything is accurate.
These 6 steps may take a little bit of time, but they will go a long way in keeping your traffic flowing. Good Luck!