New or Improved? Mapping Your Author Website Relaunch

author-website-decisionsI’ve worked with many authors who have had websites or blogs in the past, and want to start over again. Maybe they have a new book coming out and want to re-focus their author website or blog. Or they know that their previous efforts weren’t as professional as they’d like, and they want to do it right this time. In some cases, they haven’t touched the old website or blog for years and want to start fresh.

In many of those instances, I get asked the question: “Should I start a brand new website or blog? Or should I simply resurrect and improve the one I had before?”

While “starting fresh” always feels and sounds nice, there are a variety of reasons why I recommend that you lean towards working with the site domain or blog you already have and simply planning an author website relaunch.

1. You get to keep whatever SEO value you’ve already built up. Do you know which sites Google (unfairly) punishes? Brand new ones. And do you know what makes your site climb in ranking (without you having to do a thing?) Time. In other words, the longer a website is around –whether or not it’s being touched — the higher it will climb on Google’s search rankings. So by shutting down an old site and starting fresh with a new one, you will lose any SEO value that you’ve already built up.

2. There’s no need to direct old followers to a new domain. You probably built a list (even a small one) of followers on your old site or blog. There’s nothing they’d like better than to have your site be new and improved. Why would you want to redirect them so that they have to visit a new site in order to continue to follow you? Just give them more of what they already like.

3. You already have a mailing list/followers on the old site. Again, you’ve probably collected some email addresses on your old site or blog. Maybe you have a few subscribers who receive email updates whenever you post a new blog entry. You have a legal right to continue emailing them through your old site. You do NOT have a legal right to continue emailing them from a new domain. This is yet another thing you’d be forfeiting by starting anew.

So how can you make this old site new again? Here are some steps to take (without changing the URL, of course)

Step 1: Redesign. Make sure that the new design is also mobile-friendly, as more and more users are using mobile nowadays.

Step 2: Integrate your new site with social media. Make sure there are links to Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest on the new site, and announce your website “relaunch” through those social media channels.

Step 3: Write a first post on your new site/blog explaining the relaunch. Talk about why you were away, what has changed, and what you hope visitors will get from the new site.

Voila! You have a new and refreshed site, without losing all the benefits you gained from having your first site or blog. It’s a win-win.