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I have currently just finished building a website in notepad for my company (one which I'm very proud of!) and now my next assignment begins: hosting it! We want to use the same domain name as our old site, but have them just see the new site instead. I've done a little research on this topic already but I feel far from comfortable with my current knowledge. What exactly do I need to do?

Here's what I 'think' I need to do:

  1. Upload all new files to my internet provider (Earthlink)
  2. Learn how to implement 301 redirects from my old site to my new one (if this is correct and you know how to do this, let me know!!!)
  3. ???
  4. Profit

I also want to make sure that I don't lose any SEO from our old site, as it is 13 years old and I know that counts for quite a bit in Google etc. I think 301 redirects magically cover this as well but I'm not sure. It is a complete rewrite of the webpage, so all the URLs are different.

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I'm leaving a comment here so you will see it in your profile, but in reference to your comment below about naming your page "Home Page.html"...DON'T USE SPACES!!!! They can cause unpredictable behavior and make your life a nightmare. Underscores are ok, but seriously, make sure there are no spaces! –  Chris Thompson Oct 15 '09 at 18:10
    
Many of the replies are assuming you have the login information to access the old site files on the existing host. Please confirm this is correct! –  Michelle Oct 15 '09 at 20:01
    
Really? I haven't had any trouble with spaces in the name of the actual page, but I make sure any inside code has underscores. I'll have to keep this in mind. As for the login information to access the old site files, I'm fairly certain that we do have this. –  Karl Oct 16 '09 at 16:46

3 Answers 3

Sorry, not an insult but how can you create a site in Notepad but not know how something like this works!

Anyway...

You need to call the main page - default or index, .htm or .html depending on what your hosting provider supports.

Next get the log on details for your account from them, typically it will be FTP and you need some sort of FTP program such as Filezilla.

Type in the details of the server and delete all files (may want to take a backup first) then upload all your new files.

Typically to retain SEO (although not sure how efficent a thirteen year old site would be as Google doesn't really look at many of the old methods any more) you want want to copy over all the meta tags and other information.

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Because I've never had any formal training and simply learned by research / doing. Now I'm on to the implementation part, so I'm back to researching / doing. Also, I've read that although google doesn't pay much attention to meta tags, they DO pay attention to a websites age, as an older page indicates stability. That's where I heard 301 redirects will 'save' the relevence (but I still don't know how to create one). –  Karl Oct 15 '09 at 13:48

You won't need 301 redirects for your main page: once you have replaced the old files with the new ones, the server will show the new index.html or index.php unless a specific other page is requested.

For other pages it can probably be set up using Apache URL Rewriting, but this really depends on what has changed. So: what has changed for the URLs (not the content)?

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It is a complete rewrite of the webpage, so all the URLs are different. Also is it necessary to name my home page "index.html"? Currently it is just named "Home Page.html". –  Karl Oct 15 '09 at 13:46
    
use index.html if you don't want to reconfigure your webserver. –  quack quixote Oct 15 '09 at 13:56
    
Yes, if you want to tell Google (and whoever bookmarked specific pages of your site) where to look for the same content then you need to map all old URLs to new ones. How many pages are you talking about? It's probably just fine to have Google figure out the new structure all by itself... –  Arjan Oct 15 '09 at 14:24
3  
And to extend on ~quack a bit: if you don't tell the server what page you want, the server will just show you the index of the site, which often is just a list of all files. To create a better looking "index", you need to tell the server what that index should look like. You can do that by creating a file index.html yourself. Thus indeed: rename that Home Page.html to index.html. –  Arjan Oct 15 '09 at 14:29

Arjan is right. Don't use redirects, just replace the old site with the new. You can resubmit your page to Google if you want (http://www.google.com/addurl/) but it isn't necessary. Google will reindex your site within a few days. You only really need to worry about pages that might be directly bookmarked or linked to. For instance, if you have a page that's a "guide to networking the frizzlehumper device" that people have linked to, you might want to keep something at that page that redirects to the new URL, or depending on your host just have a symbolic link with the original name that points to the new page.

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+1 for letting Google do it's thing. –  Paulo Oct 22 '09 at 15:37

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