Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?

by Sherryl Perry on August 6, 2015

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Do you have multiple blogs and struggle to maintain them? Have you ever thought about rebranding and combining your websites under one brand? How would you begin? Could it have a negative impact on your SEO efforts?

These are interesting questions and consolidating multiple websites into one is not a strategy that should be taken lightly. It is also a journey that I just went on with Doreen Pendgracs (a published author, travel blogger, speaker and freelance writer).

Over the years, Doreen found herself with four separate websites. Not only was it time consuming to create content for each site, she also found herself torn between which site the content belonged on. Was it about chocolate, travel, writing, lifestyle or one of her books? Sometimes, the answer was yes to all.

So, how and why did Doreen and I decide that the best strategy would be to consolidate her sites? Come along with us as I show you how we made the decision. Hopefully, you’ll gain some insight by taking a look behind the scenes.

Background: How did we get here?

Doreen Pendgracs | Chocolate Adventurist and Wizard of WordsDoreen and I first met in September of 2011 when she left a comment on my blog. At the time, Doreen had three websites. WizardOfWords.com was a self-hosted, static HTML website. Doreen’s two other websites were both WordPress blogs. DoreenIsTheWizardOfWords was being hosted on BlogSpot.com  and her site DiversionsWithDoreen.com site was hosted on WordPress.com. Both of her blogs were being hosted for free.

Doreen was struggling with not being able to update her HTML site. She was also frustrated at not being able to install some premium WordPress plugins on her BlogSpot.com and WordPress.com websites.

Together, we migrated her BlogSpot.com and WordPress.com sites to self-hosted WordPress installations. That gave Doreen the confidence to install WordPress (on her new hosting plan) and launch a third blog Chocolatour.net to promote her new book. (If you’re counting, this meant Doreen had one static website and three WordPress websites.)

Logistics: Why have separate websites?

Over the years, Doreen had responded to meet her needs. Want to promote your freelance writing and books? Create a website. Want to be a travel blogger? Create a website. Promoting a new book? That meant creating another website.

Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate

Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate

To be honest, that’s what many of us did then. Actually, people are still creating websites for different niches. It’s a strategy that can and does work for many people. However, if you’re trying to create a brand, is that the best strategy for you? Together, Doreen and I decided that it was time for her to consolidate her sites.

Before we talk about how we came to that decision, let’s take a look at the the four different websites that Doreen had:

Each website was designed to meet the needs of a targeted niche audience and many of Doreen’s readers frequented all of her sites. Still, as early as April of 2012, we began questioning whether it would be best to continue splitting her time and effort to maintain four separate sites or if her best strategy would be to develop a cohesive brand and bring all of her sites together.

SEO implications: Will it be worth taking a traffic hit?

The idea of consolidating multiple websites/blogs into one should not be taken lightly. If your websites are about totally different topics and there is no overlap in your target audiences, you may not want to even consider it.

When does it make sense to consolidate? Let’s take a look at this Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin:

For those of you who are familiar with my #FridayFinds series, there is no substitute for watching Rand Fishkin’s whiteboard video or reading his blog post Should I Rebrand and Redirect My Site? on Moz.com and reading what he has to say.  (Note:  Moz.com was originally SEOMoz.com.)

For those of you who are looking for the highlights, here are some points Rand Fishkin made that resonated with me:

  • You WILL take a SEO hit.
    • When SEOMoz.com made the move and rebranded as Moz.com, it was a short recovery time .
    • In six months, MOZ.com was ranking higher for SEO related terms and phrases than it had when it was SEOmoz.com.
  • You need to ask yourself these questions:
    • “How memorable or amplifiable is your current brand?
    • “Have you tested brand preference with your target audience?
    • “How much audience and content overlap is there?
  • Do NOT consider “topical” focus/authority to make your decision.
    • To quote Rand: ” . . if the content overlap is strong and the audience overlap is strong, you can do both on one domain.”

Strategy: Did consolidation make sense for Doreen?

As you can see, this was not a decision that either Doreen or I took lightly. We didn’t just jump into the decision. We approached it strategically.

Our answer to Rand Fishkin’s question on whether there was audience and content overlap was a resounding yes. On the other hand, our answer to Rand’s question on whether Doreen’s brand was memorable was a resounding no.

She had four different domain names and themes. Other than her name, there was little to tie her brand together. Sure, we linked the sites together when we could but looking at them individually, you would have no way of knowing that they were connected. Her sites were lacking brand recognition.

Branding: What was Doreen’s brand?

Over the years, Doreen had given her branding strategy a lot of thought. In her blog post Growing the Chocolatour brand, Doreen made the following two statements:

  • “I’m doing what I love to do: sharing my passion, knowledge of and enthusiasm for the world of fine/artisanal chocolate with fellow chocolate lovers and travel enthusiasts.”
  • “My primary focus is the research and writing of the best chocolate travel books on the planet.”

So, how could we encompass her brand? I could handle the logistics of merging her three WordPress sites into one. (We still have content on her static WizardOfWords website that needs to be incorporated.)

Graphic design by Jennifer Cook of CatsInTheBag.com What I could not do was create her brand. For this, she hired graphic designer Jennifer Cook of Cats in the Bag design in Montreal, Canada.

Jennifer designed the chocolate globe logo and graphic that you see at the top of Chocolatour.net. You also see this banner on all of Doreen’s social media pages. Having a consistent memorable brand was critical to our overall strategy.

Note: After publishing this article, I received quite a few requests to write a follow-up post. You can find it here.

Over to You:

What are your thoughts? Have you considered consolidating multiple websites? Is it time for you to rebrand?  (I’ll be the first to say that my site needs a refresh and a rebrand.) Do you like the new theme that we’re using on Chocolatour.net?

As always, I hope you found this article helpful. This is just the “tip of the iceberg” of what is involved in combining websites. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of information available on the Internet. Additionally, both Doreen and I have strong communities that we can tap into. I know that both Doreen and I will be interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas.

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Dana
Twitter:
February 14, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Hi Sherryl,

While I only have one blog, I know this info would come in handy for those who have more than one.

It’s gotta be a tough decision to make for several reasons. On one hand, I’m sure it’s challenging to try to tie in different niches in one place. However, having more than one website sounds like lot of work (and the expenses probably add up too).

I know someone in specific who had three different websites for three different niches. She ended up consolidating them into one blog and from the looks of it, it was a good idea. The end result was not only a stunning new website altogether, but the topics are so neatly categorized that you aren’t confused when you visit.

I guess this is something that only the individual can discover for themselves once they’ve investigated it.

I’m sure there are pros and cons regardless of which way you go – but isn’t that what life’s all about?

Great stuff. Sharing with others 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 17, 2016 at 11:15 am

Hi Dana,

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. It’s helpful to know that this strategy worked for someone that you know personally.

It’s definitely a decision that can’t be taken lightly. Doreen thought about this for a long time before it became overwhelmingly evident to her that it was the approach she wanted to take.

Even then, she not only hired me to handle the technical aspects, she also invested in the services of a graphic designer to work on her re-branding. (If she was going to do it, she was going all in.)

The good news is that Doreen’s new site is serving her well. She’s gaining the sponsorships that she was seeking and new opportunities are opening for her. She’s reaching goals that she’s set.

I’m glad that the person you know is doing well also. Life is about taking risks and also helping each other. I’m grateful that you took the time to share your story with us.

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Case Study: Consolidating Multiple Websites Into OneMy Profile

Robin khokhar
Twitter:
December 23, 2015 at 10:34 am

Hey Sherryl,
I have been working on Two different sites own my own and i know how difficult is to write content for Both. Sometimes Even i get confused on doing Off-Page SEO.
But Somehow i am managing it.
And Post of Yours is Great it has helped to work a little easier. thanks.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Hi Robin,

Managing multiple sites can be challenging but lots of times, it’s the best/only route to go. I would certainly never recommend merging sites unless there were compelling reasons to do so. In Doreen’s case, there was a lot of overlap in both content and audiences. When we merged her articles from her three blogs, we were able to boil the number of her categories down (from in the hundreds) to under ten. That reaffirms that it was the right decision for her.

Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your experience with us. If you’re interested in learning more about the process that was involved, I’ve linked to my follow-up post below. Happy New Year to you (and my readers) and best wishes for a great 2016.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Case Study: Consolidating Multiple Websites Into OneMy Profile

Christina Lynn
Twitter:
December 12, 2015 at 5:30 am

HI Sherryl, Additionally, I didn’t notice anything in the post about asking linking sites to change their links. If they haven’t done this, now is the time. Otherwise, I think they risk a situation where the redirect will funnel the link juice from the old domain to the new for awhile, but eventually, the extra boost will go away.

It’ll be a heck of a task, judging by how many links OSE reports for the old domain, but even getting a fraction of the links switched will help them beef up the link profile for the new domain, and also give them a chance to comb through the profile for any lingering bad links.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Christina,

Thanks so much for your suggestion. I will definitely follow up on this. We could definitely identify those sites with the greatest number of backlinks and contact those webmasters. I’ll need to research this to find the best approach for our situation.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead. I appreciate your taking the time to add your insight.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Case Study: Consolidating Multiple Websites Into OneMy Profile

Katrin
Twitter:
October 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Even though I can image circumstances in which it would make sense to consolidate multiple websites, the task is and remains a complex one.
I would have loved to hear more of the technical implications and difficulties that you ran into, but I can imagine that when consolidating multiple websites into one, you need to be prepared very well. You need to be clear what to cut off (because with consolidation something is always cut off).

Now that you wrote about the process happening, I am sure you have something to share in another post what the biggest obstacles have been. – Thanks for the post anyway!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
October 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Hi Katrin,
Consolidating websites is a complex task. I have the entire process documented in an Excel spreadsheet and I still have it in the back of my mind that I may write an eBook about it. (I would probably publish it on Kindle for a small fee.) Believe me, it would be a time-consuming process to write it.

I can tell you that I relied on a lot of WordPress plugins that were designed for specific functions. For example, a simple search and replace for URLs but also one where I could search and replace in specific database tables.

One obstacle that I ran into was the limitations of the WordPress import/export tool. It’s inadequate when it comes to media that’s attached to posts.

Another challenge is that many of the plugins that I came upon are obsolete. Installing and using a plugin with a warning that it hasn’t been updated in years can be risky. Since most of these plugins were simple scripts, I chose to forge ahead and use them but you can imagine the testing and verifying processes that I went through.

One other tip that I can share is that we chose to host Doreen’s new site on a new web host. That gave us the luxury to build a new site using a fresh database and no remnants of any of the previous sites.

I do have a draft post written that goes into more strategy. It seemed from the comments that was the area of most concern. (I could be wrong but I don’t think there were many requests for how I did it just why.)

I’ll keep you in mind if I do write that eBook. I’ll be looking for feedback. (Maybe you’d be interested in a complimentary copy in exchange for your thoughts?)

Thanks for joining the conversation. It’s good to hear from you again.
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Katrin
Twitter:
October 30, 2015 at 5:38 am

Hello Sherryl,

yes, thank you for your reply.
I haven’t done that kind of project myself, yet. But what you describe somehow confirms what I figured the challenges would be.
Good idea writing a bigger piece about it, an eBook is certainly a great format. And sure, I am happy to give you a review. You have my email, just drop me a line. 🙂

All my best,
Katrin
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Thanks Katrin. All the best to you too!

Kathy Andrew
Twitter:
October 18, 2015 at 5:13 pm

This is such a timely post for me Sherryl as now that I’m also producing Coloring books for adults , and of course want to promote them via my website, then I’m wondering how that will fit in. I can see that my existing audience which is relatively eclectic, being ok with having posts about coloring, but I don’t see someone who is solely interested in coloring wanting to be on a mailing list for a blog that has stuff about writing and authors. As the coloring books is a new venture I don’t want to leap into any decisions, but it’s something I need to consider. Perhaps subhumans are the way for me to go at the moment. It’s been really interesting to see your work with Doreen. I love her new site, and for me as one of her subscribers, it’s now just so much easier. Thanks so much, and I loved the whiteboard video too.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
October 19, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Hi Kathy,

It’s nice to see you here again. Good luck with your new endeavor! Coloring books for adults seem to be the new rage.

I think you’re probably right that someone who is looking for coloring books may not be interested in writing and authors. Coloring seems to be a specific niche. Why not reserve a new domain and launch a new site?

You could always blog about your new venture on your current blog (and link to your new site). You could also create a graphic for it and put it in a text widget in your sidebar. I’ve used Fivver.com in the past for graphics if you wanted to have one created for you.

Thanks for the feedback about Doreen’s site. I’m glad that you’re finding it easier to read her articles now. There was so much content overlap on her site that it made sense.

I really enjoy Rand Fishkin’s whiteboard Fridays too. He’s one of my favorite resources to keep up on SEO.
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Francis 'Toke
Twitter:
October 14, 2015 at 5:21 am

This post to me is like a knock of reality and the comments point to that fact.

Over the years and may be up till now, website or blog is yet to be seen as a business entity (a company in itself) that sells product (or multiple products) which I would like to call brand for the sake of this discussion.

Now, a company can have multiple brands developed for unique markets. The operational structures and the audience each brand targets will determine its location.

For instance, I can combine manufacturing with sales of books if they are related. I’ve done something similar. We produce plantain chips and at the same time offer training and then sell eBook about it – all these on the same site. But, I cannot marry web design company with the manufacturing site. You see what I mean? I guess this is what Rand mean to say.

In my opinion, the Chocolatour and travel websites can come together, having different sub-domains. Then, the personal and the writing blogs can also be together.

Looking closely, I would suggest the personal blog be branded in such a way that it encapsulates other brands because that is where they actually emanated from.

The flair of writing and management skill would reflect her personality trait on all the sites whether they are in one location or not. Though this depend greatly on her plan down the line (may be which would bring in partners or introduce guest post, etc).
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
October 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Hi Francis,

What you’ve done with your website for plantain chips is an excellent example of offering related services and products to an existing product line. What you’re doing makes sense because your target customer could potentially be interested in your other offerings.

That’s the same line of thinking that Doreen followed. As the years went by, the content overlap between her three blogs grew. Many times, she could have published one of her articles on any one of her sites.

She was often torn because she would sometimes choose to post to one blog (instead of the others) simply because of her blogging “schedule”. She knew that some people who she may want to see a particular article may never know it existed. Of course, she did her best to link to her other blogs but it wasn’t the same as having one site where a reader could find all of her content.

What Doreen decided to do was create the “Chocolatour” brand and to bring all of her articles (including her personal and writing posts) under that umbrella. She knew that she what she wanted was to be known as “Doreen the Chocolate Queen”. So she hired a branding specialist and forged ahead.

As for her plans, they include selling more books, booking more events, getting more freelance gigs and getting sponsors for her traveling/chocolate research. She’s already been interviewed on both television and radio based upon her expertise in artisanal chocolate. Now, she has a brand to identify with.

Thanks so much for joining the conversation and sharing your insight with us. I am working on my follow-up article where I will address some of the thoughts and ideas that have been expressed here. It’s great to see such a lively conversation going on here! Merging sites is definitely not something that should be taken lightly.
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Tom Southern
Twitter:
September 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Hi Sherryl,You’ve touched on a topic that I’ve been thinking over for some time.

Starting different blogs at once or sticking with my current blog and finding a way to involve the topics I’ve been thinking of starting new blogs to focus on. A dip in traffic is probably expected as your audience adjusts to your change. It’s inevitable that you’ll lose some. What matters is that your change keeps in mind what’s at the heart of your audience’s needs. Will your change help or hinder them? Will you be better able to serve them? These are important questions to answer. It all comes down to if you and your audience are well matched.

Name matters as much as your message matters. If your message and what you offer doesn’t grab people, no one will remember your name. As I say, I’ve pondered starting second, third blogs, one to focus on Writing, the other to focus on a specific topic inside Self-Improvement.

Right now, I’ve decided to focus on my current blog while maybe using Youtube to test the other blog possibilities. Multiple blogs must be something of a stretch for most people. So I admire those who succeed at it. I think a good way to combining several blogs into one would be to see how and where they overlap with each other, then make that intersection the topic of your new blog.

Thanks for giving me more insight into this question, Sherryl.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Hi Tom,

It’s so great to see you here at my blog. We’ve been following each other on Twitter for a while now and I even have you on my “awesome blogger” Twitter list. So, it’s nice to get to know you a little better.

Looking at Google analytics of the first 28-day period of Doreen’s new site compared to that time period for the combined number of visits (when she had three sites), there was a significant increase in total traffic. I still intend to do a follow-up post to this article and I’ll be delving deeper into her analytics to see how bounce rate, length of visit etc. comes into play, So, this will be interesting.

Overall, Doreen has received a lot of positive feedback on her brand. We still intend to do a few things. For example, she still has the domain name WizardOfWords.com that points to an old static HTML site. That was the site where Doreen directed editors and people who were interested in her as a writer.

Our plan is for Doreen to create a page on her new site that will represent that area of her life. We’ll do a 301-redirect of her domain name to that landing page and we’ll chock that page full of internal links. (The page itself will not be part of the main navigation menu.)

Actually, this is a strategy that I used years ago when we had a site for a specialized piece of photography equipment. We were targeting two separate audiences (amateur photographers and professional photographers).

What I did then was have our home page have two separate entry points. Each link led to a mini-site of itself with separate navigation menus. The site itself shared the same brand and many of the pages were linked to from either stream.

It sounds like you’ve given this topic a lot of thought yourself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Combining multiple sites is certainly something that shouldn’t be taken likely. If there’s any way I can help you, feel free to contact me.
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Toby Danylchuk September 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

Hi Sherryl,
First time here – good post and an insightful case study for people struggling with this. As you eluded to, if audience overlaps and content is related it makes sense even if just from a website management perspective. You can still build out silos of content for each topical area and become just as authoritative. And as long as you transfer the content over and 301 it from the old site to the new one that will certainly help reduce any loss of organic. There’s no way of avoiding some short term loss of traffic when you migrate but it comes back as you indicated.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Hi Toby,

Welcome to my blog. I’m glad you found my post insightful.

I think most people who manage multiple blogs are dealing with separate niches and they would be best off keeping them separate. However, in Doreen’s case, she had created separate blogs for each of her major interests but over the years, those interests converged.

As she traveled more in search of chocolate (for research for her book), her travel blog posts could easily have been posted to her Chocolatour site or even her author site. Once she decided to brand herself as Chocolatour, it made sense to consolidate all of her blogs in one place.

Your point of creating silos of content is a good one and that’s one of the things that we did. Doreen had hundreds of categories on her blogs and many of them were either the same or variations.

Doreen was able to identify six categories that she could use across all three of her blogs. I used a plugin to organize her posts on her three blogs before I exported the data. Then, I imported the three databases into a fresh database on a new host.

Now Doreen has only six categories (or as you said – “silos”). Looking at her blog, you wouldn’t be able to tell which old blog some of the posts came from.

Thanks so much for adding your insight. At some point, I will be revisiting this topic. Hopefully, readers will continue to find it valuable.
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Kurt Kummerer
Twitter:
September 15, 2015 at 6:13 am

Hi Sherryl,

First time here on your blog and leaving a comment. At first glance the easiest thing to say for Doreen to do is consolidate to her own personal branded blog.

But, if each blog targets a different reader, then it is best to keep them separate in my opinion. Tough call to have to make. Thanks for walking us through how to arrive at such an important decision Sherryl.

Kurt
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Hi Kurt,

This was a tough call and one that Doreen and I had been discussing for years. When I met Doreen in 2011, she was already an established author. At that time, she was branding herself as both Doreen Pendgracs and the “Wizard of Words”.

In 2011, she hired me to build a WordPress site for her under the domain DoreenPendgracs.com. Meanwhile, she built two additional WordPress sites (one for travel and another for chocolate). However, the lines started blurring between her topics and there was definitely a lot of content overlap.

While trying to maintain three blogs, Doreen struggled with her brand. In reality, Doreen had started writing her first Chocolatour book in 2009. (She is now working on volume three.) So, earlier this year, Doreen engaged a designer to develop her brand identity. While merging sites doesn’t always make sense, Doreen is confident that for her, it was the right decision to brand herself as “Chocolatour”.

Thanks so much for joining us here and for commenting your first time around. I’m glad you found my post interesting. I still have plans on writing at least one follow-up article on this. I thank conversations like these for giving me more ideas for that post. 🙂
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Sanu Siddharth
Twitter:
September 12, 2015 at 3:35 am

Hi Sherrly,
This is really mind blowing post ! actually i am also running 3-4 blogs so i was totally confused to manage all and here you have shared all guide and something interested which i expect because you always share best and helpful post for bloggers.
thanks 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Hi Sanu,

Merging your sites can be a good solution if the audiences for your content are similar.

As many readers here have noted, if the niches are totally unrelated, then it’s best to keep your sites separate.

If you do decide to merge some (or all) of your sites and you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful and for taking the time to join the conversation.
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Hammo
Twitter:
September 8, 2015 at 12:26 am

It’s an interesting conversation to have with a potential client, but I’m still in the keep them separate camp. After all it’s still all about niching.

That said there are a few exceptions. If you are consolidating into a personal brand ie. just going with you name as your website. You run a magazine styled site.

Just because you have a few blogs it doesn’t mean you need to post every day. Once a week or every few weeks is still fine (consistency is more important than frequency). The other way around this is to get in regular guest posters and let them keep the websites ticking over.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm

Hi Hammo,

Welcome to my blog. I’m glad to see that you found this topic interesting enough to leave your first comment. 🙂

Combining Doreen’s websites was not a decision that we took lightly. Actually, we had been brainstorming about it on and off for a couple of years.

Doreen’s motivation for combining her sites was not simply the fact that it was difficult to publish content on three separate websites. Doreen was not seeing the results that she had expected. Some people knew her as the Wizard of Words (author), some as the Queen of Chocolate and others as a travel blogger. In fact, she’s all three things in one.

When Doreen was researching her book “Chocolatour”, she traveled extensively. She hosted chocolate events and traveled to luxury destinations. There was more overlap in her content than ever before.

It was at this point when Doreen found herself questioning her brand. She worked to create her brand before we melded her sites into one.

Thanks again for keeping the conversation going! I appreciate your input. I’m working on a follow-up post and it’s good to hear both sides. (Replying is also helping me to organize my thoughts for that post.) I hope to hear your thoughts when I publish that follow-up.
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Hammo
Twitter:
October 18, 2015 at 2:25 am

Still no follow up?

Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing the results she was expecting because blogging is becoming quite competitive now.

I’m starting to believe hobby blogging has had its day and you might be better served to start a community page on Facebook.

I’ll keep hanging around for your update to see how this consolidation ended up.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
October 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Hammo,
Sorry to disappoint you. I promise the follow-up will come. It’s still in draft mode though. I honestly haven’t found the time to tackle trying to analyze our Google Analytics data.

I did a preliminary run after 28 days and there was a significant increase in traffic but it’s very time-consuming to make a comparison. Plus, there are so many outside factors that come into play that I’m hesitant to say that the primary reason for the increase is due to the consolidation.

As it stands now, my follow-up post is more geared to the strategy behind it. I may not tackle the numbers part of it at all.

I still believe that blogging is strategic to driving traffic to any website (hobby or not). For one thing, it gives you content to share.

Thanks for letting me know that you’re still interested in this. I will definitely publish that follow-up but I do have a couple of lighter posts that I need to get off my plate soon. I just needed to take a break from blogging.
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David B
Twitter:
August 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Just ran into this site – one way to have 2 associated but distinct sites together. The Home page as a simple branching choice. I once saw 6 blogs handled this way but it was not as clear.

http://www.pinkelephantcommunications.com/

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Hi David,

This is a very interesting share. It reminds me of a static website that I created years ago (for a specialized photography business opportunity). My home page acted as a gateway for two different niches (amateur photographers and professionals).

I created a mini-site for each niche (in different sub-directories). The entire site was under one domain name.

The site you linked to involves three different domains. It’s an interesting approach.

Rajendra Kumar
Twitter:
August 22, 2015 at 6:04 am

Hey Sherry…….
This is really helpful post. I have maintain a blogs and want to create two – three single niche blogs. I have learn many more to your post…
Thank you very much for sharing your great thoughts…..

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Hi Rajendra,

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful. Will your niche blogs have a similar audience?
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Ravi Chahar
Twitter:
August 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Hey Sherryl,Its great to visit again after a long time.Consolidating multiple websites is not a good idea I guess. I mean how can you do that if you have all the websites of different niche? Re-branding is always good but combining multiple websites is quite unusual to me. But after reading Doreen\’s story it seems as if it can be done.May be I will do that one day with my websites.Thanks for bringing it into light.~Ravi

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Hi Ravi,

It’s great to see you here! I have not been as active this year blogging (and commenting) as I have in past years. I’ve been spending more time working with clients and on projects like Doreen’s. I definitely need to get back into a routine of blogging more consistently.

Merging multiple websites would certainly not be advisable for different niches. If the audiences are different, it definitely would not be a good idea.

Doreen’s circumstances were different. Much of her content revolved around chocolate, chocolate events or chocolate travel. While she’s been a published author for years, she had turned her focus to traveling in search of fine artisanal chocolate and writing about her experiences in her book “Chocolatour”. (She’s researching volume two now.)

Many of Doreen’s website visitors frequented all of her blogs and while many others didn’t, the topics could easily have been of interest to them. While we linked her blogs together as much as we could, Doreen was still lacking a brand. Doreen decided to brand herself as Chocolatour.

The one thing that I do want to mention again is that Doreen still has the static site where she directs editors. (The home page has links directing them to her three other sites.)

That static site no longer meets her needs but there still is value in keeping the integrity of that domain name (WizardOfWords.net). To handle this, we will be creating a new landing page for it. The page itself will be a part of the Chocolatour.net site but it will not be included in the navigation menu.

This will also give Doreen another place where she can showcase her work to anyone wanting to hire her for freelance writing.

Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on this. If you ever do find yourself with multiple sites that you’re thinking about merging, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to chat with you about it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Things You May Not Know About Google and SEO – #FridayFindsMy Profile

Mi Muba
Twitter:
August 19, 2015 at 2:21 am

Hi Sherryl

You picked a very irksome problem of especially those who manage several blogs at a time

They not only get confuse which contents relate to which blog but also they sometime write a content for the blog that is complete opposite to the niche of the blog.
Once I wrote a post on energy saving tips and wrongly uploaded on a dating website of one of my clients but luckily I noticed my mistake in a few moments and correct it.

For these reasons it is must to think about consolidation of one control panel of all websites and work from their by just putting the right contents to the concerned blog. For this purpose many solutions were offer by many but the best one surely is that which can fulfill all the needs of blogs admin as you pointed in your post.

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on such an important topic and guiding on us with your personal experience.

Have a great day
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 20, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Hi Mi,

It’s always a pleasure when you drop by and join a conversation!

I appreciate your sharing your experience with us about uploading a post to the wrong site. Thankfully, you quickly noticed it!

You’re (at least) the second person here who has mentioned managing multiple websites in one control panel. In Doreen’s case, she was managing her three sites with separate WordPress installations.

The option for managing multiple websites in one WordPress installation is to run a WordPress Multisite. To be completely honest, that’s a topic that had only slightly piqued my interest up until now.

Now that readers here are talking about this, it seems like there would be interest in that topic. It sounds like it would be perfect for a Friday Finds post.

That will have to wait though. I’ve already committed to writing at least one more article about what was involved in merging Doreen’s sites. There was a lot more involved than I touched on here. (I haven’t run a WordPress Multisite (yet).

Thanks so much for weighing in on this and thanks for sharing it on social media. I’m running behind making the rounds but I promise to be by your blog soon. Meanwhile, I hope you’re having a terrific week.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Choosing WordPress Themes: Security Risks, Code Bloat and Other IssuesMy Profile

John
Twitter:
August 18, 2015 at 11:47 am

I maintain many sites and I prefer it this way.

But when the post says “you will take an SEO hit” there is a difference between moving something to a new domain and consolidating into an existing domain. Moving into a new domain you will take a hit.

Consolidating several into an existing domain may well give you a boost – you retain the existing site and then get new items directed to that domain. As the post mentions topical overlap between the domains is critical to any sensible consolidation.

It is easy to imagine cases where your existing sites all end up far down the search rankings and by combining them you climb up a bit so that you are more likely to be found. If you dominate some search terms having multiple sites can help as you can get multiple of your pages in the top 10. But dominating search terms isn’t so easy for most sites.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Hi John,

That’s a good observation. When Rand Fishkin said “you will take an SEO hit”, he was referring to a domain name change not a merge.

The reason, I anticipated taking a SEO hit was because Doreen did not choose her most popular domain name (DoreenPendgracs.com) for the merge. By far, that site received the bulk of her visitors. So, I had concerns that it may take a while to build up the numbers for Chocolatour.net. (Especially, considering that this is a dot net and not a dot com domain.)

So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Looking at the analytics of the first 28-day period of her new site and comparing it to that time period for the combined number of visits (when she had three sites), there’s been a significant increase in total traffic.

I believe the majority of this increase is due in large part to Doreen’s social media efforts and not organic search. We’ll see. The terms that Doreen optimizes the most for are “chocolate” (which is highly competitive), “chocolate events” and “chocolate travel” (competitive) and “chocolatour” (relatively nonexistent but her brand). This will be interesting. Having her new branded graphics will definitely help.

Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us John. As always, it’s great to see you here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What SEO Tools Do You Use? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Theodore Nwangene August 18, 2015 at 11:03 am

This is a very nice idea Sherryl,
I understand how tedious and time consuming having and managing multiple websites or blogs can be. It can really be very overwhelming if care is not taken.

However, having a one stop through which you can manage all these sites is really a no brainier.

And I think that’s what I’ll do the moment I finish the new blog I’m working on right now.

Thanks for sharing Sherryl.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Hi Theodore,

It can be overwhelming to manage multiple websites. Often, it’s necessary though.

In Doreen’s situation, there was a large overlap in the content of her three blogs and she was often torn between which blog to post it. Sure, some readers subscribed to two or more of her blogs but she knew that she wasn’t reaching everyone.

By merging her sites and consolidating topics, a lot of her readers are now discovering content that they hadn’t previously seen. We’re already seeing an increase in her overall traffic.

Good luck with your blogs. The decision whether or not to merge them really needs to be approached strategically. Feel free to contact me if you think I can be of help.

I hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for joining us here.
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Anil Saini August 18, 2015 at 10:06 am

Hey Sherryl this is really helpful post. I have two blogs and want to create one more. I will think to consolidate them. Google also bring their all brand products under one brand name Alphabet.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Hi Anil,

Are both of your blogs targeting the same reader? If not, you may want to continue keeping them separate. If you do decide to merge your sites and have any questions, feel free to contact me. (I documented the entire process.)

Thanks so much for joining the conversation! I hope you’re having a great week.
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Enstine Muki
Twitter:
August 18, 2015 at 4:34 am

Hey Sherryl and Doreen,

It must have been a tough decision to arrive at and I think having seperate websites will affect your branding but that should all depend on content topics.

I appreciate you both coming together and looking into the issue. That’s the power of commenting and building relationships.

One more thing…

Doreen, I love chocolate so I’ll be frequent on your site.
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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
August 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

Thank you, Enstine. If you are a chocolate lover, I hope you will subscribe to my new site. As Sherryl mentioned in her post, part of the challenge of merging sites onto a brand new platform, is repopulating the site with likes, comments, and subscribers. We’d love to have you onboard!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 19, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Hi Enstine,

Not all of Doreen’s topics overlapped but many of them did. The most important factor behind Doreen’s decision was that she wanted to create the Chocolatour brand.

In addition to her chocolate and travel blogs, the other major “hat” that Doreen wears is that of author and freelancer. For that, she is known as the @WizardOfWords on social media.

Doreen still maintains her WizardOfWords.net site but that isn’t a WordPress site and she never had a blog there. So, our plan for that domain is to create a landing page (on her new site) and do a 301 redirect. That way, we can meet the needs of those website visitors (primarily editors and people who are interested in hiring her as public speaker and author) while also exposing them to Doreen’s other works (through internal links).

Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on this Enstine. I just came back from a quick getaway and I promise to be by your “place” soon.

David B
Twitter:
August 12, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Recent comments remind me of when I started a new media business many years ago. Among various services I also offered was web design, which in those days was all hand coded HTML only. My 3-fold brochure had a section for each service.

Only later did a learn that if a customer can’t easily categorize you, they won’t remember you when they need your services. The “guy that does that stuff” just doesn’t do it compared to the “marketing” person or the “web guy”.

I still see this all the time, people cramming everything into their ad (or web site) rather than sending one clear message. I have 2 sites with 2 different markets.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Hi David,

3-fold brochures! Oh yes, I had one of those for my first consulting business. I also had CD-ROM business cards for a photography business and a fancy folding business card for that same business. My goodness, time flies!

I agree. People need to know who we are and 2 sites for 2 different markets makes sense.

Doreen has decided to be the Chocolatour brand. I just replied to Adrienne to let her know that I’m going to be writing a follow-up post to this one. In that post, I’ll share a little more of the thought process behind the Chocolatour brand and how we (Doreen, Jennifer Cook and I) worked together on the branding strategy and implementing Doreen’s decision to merge her sites.

In my reply to Adrienne, I also mentioned taking a look at Doreen’s Google Analytics. While there are so many variables coming into play here, I can say that her overall traffic to Chocolatour.net increased significantly over the past 28 days (far surpassing the total traffic for all of her sites when compared to the prior 28-day period).

So, look for my next post. I’m sure the conversations will prove interesting. As always, thanks for being a part of the discussion. I hope you’re having a great week.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Ready To Take Your Blog to the Next Level? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Adrienne Smith
Twitter:
August 12, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Hey Sherryl,

So now I know who this client is and I’ve met Doreen a few times as well. She does have a lot of interests and I did know that she had a few sites as well.

I’ve only known a few people who did this personally and I felt it was a huge mistake for them but it’s what they wanted to do and of course it was their decision. In their cases though I didn’t feel that their audiences were overlapping. Sure, they had some support from friends that would visit and comment on their content but if you’re after new readers and a new audience I felt all it would do is really confuse them. They’re the only ones of course that can tell us whether it was a good decision or not but I also know at this point they’re not going to be truthful with me either.

I think it all does boil down to what is best for us because like you said, this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. If you started four or five different sites for different reasons then you either need to keep up with them or let some of them go. If you can incorporate a few together then that would be the smart move to make. I do know you had a lot of work to do and I hope it all went well.

Thanks for sharing this with us Sherryl and I only wish Doreen the very best.

Have a great week.

~Adrienne
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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
August 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Hi Adrienne and thx for your comment.

I did lose 10% of my subscribers when we merged the sites, but I have pretty much made that back with new subscribers who are interested in what I’m doing.

I am confident that we made the right move in merging my sites and defining my brand.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Hi Adrienne,

It’s always good to see you here and you know that I appreciate hearing your point of view.

I started to reply to you last night but I wanted to make sure that I went into enough details so that you’d understand why Doreen and I arrived at the strategy that we implemented.

Well, my draft of my reply to your comment is up to 488 words at the moment. It’s taking me a while because I wanted to give you (and anyone else reading this) a clear picture of why we undertook this.

Of course, being a “stat” person, I had to delve into Doreen’s Google Analytics. That is proving to be tricky because we’re now tracking data on one site and I’m attempting to compare it to data from 3 sites over a similar time period. Also, there isn’t a lot of data on Doreen’s new site. (I’m looking at a 28-day period.)

I’m up to the challenge though. However, instead of replying here, I’ve decided to publish a new post.

Thanks again. Doreen will be happy to get more links and I think a lot of people can benefit from this topic.

Susan cooper
Twitter:
August 11, 2015 at 8:38 am

Sheryl and Doreen, I don’t have multiple sites to consolidate, but this post is really helpful too for people thinking of starting an additional blog site. It really makes you stop and think and weigh the pros and cons of a new additional site vs. Is this something that can be consolidated with what I am already doing on my current site?
While the process sounds far from easy, the end product with your new combined websites, Doreen, is outstanding. The chocolate globe logo is so creative and the graphic at the top of your blog and social media sites that ties it all together are so colorful and attention getting you don’t forget them …or you. Congrats on an outstanding job ladies! So impressed.
Susan cooper recently posted..Chocolate Pie In A Jar Three Ways: #RecipeMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 11, 2015 at 11:44 am

Hi Susan,
Thanks for pointing out that my post could also be helpful to someone who is ready to launch another site. (I’m now thinking that I should have tweaked my title to communicate that.)

I think answering Rand Fishkin’s question “How much audience and content overlap is there?” would be a great place to start. If there is a lot of overlap, it could easily make sense to concentrate your efforts on one site and use categories or possibly sub-directories to handle your content. (I’d suggest sub-domains but that has it’s own SEO implications.)

Thanks so much for your feedback and encouragement. I’m very happy with Doreen’s new site and brand. I believe they will serve her well. I expect to see that (because all her content is now in one place) that she’s going to see that her visitors stay on her site for a longer time. Now, we have to get those calls of action in place.
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Catarina
Twitter:
August 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

Doreen’s new consolidated website really is fantastic. The two of you, and the designer, really did a great job. Am sure it will not only save time for Doreen but will be a huge success.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Hi Catarina,
Thanks for the positive feedback! It was definitely a team effort. Doreen also ran her own focus groups to make sure that both the brand and site delivered.

Working with Doreen is a joy. She’s always receptive to new ideas and she looks at challenges as opportunities. She’s also patient. Throughout the process, I would make suggestions (such as consolidating and reorganizing her categories) and she embraced the opportunity to do it.

Believe me, there was a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. Often, I would document the steps/process and Doreen did the work herself. It definitely was a collaborative effort.

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and join the conversation. I’ll be by your place soon. I hope you have a great week!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?My Profile

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Excellent analysis of whether you should consolidate multiple websites. I’ve only ever had one site, but even then you need to re-evaluate whether the site is still working for you. Has your business evolved so that your website no longer accurately reflects your brand? Is the design looking dated and tired?

I asked myself those questions several months ago. I felt that my brand was still clear but my website definitely needed a design refresh which I did. I like the result, but now I’m re-evaluating my brand again for reasons that are too detailed to describe here. Let’s just say this is a never-ending process. I like Doreen’s new website and admire how you both collaborated so closely on the process.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 7, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Hi Jeannette,
I like the new redesign of your blog. It’s well laid out and it looks more vibrant and fresh than before.

It is a never ending process! I pretty much have stuck with this blog. Although, I often question whether I should launch my personal blog and start blogging from there. It’s a major decision and one that I’ve been avoiding.

I’m glad that you liked my post. I have so many notes and ideas to share from this experience. Merging sites have a lot of hidden complexities that you need to be on the lookout for. I intend to write more on this topic but I’m not sure if this is the platform that I’ll be sharing it on.

Working with Doreen is a joy. She and I brainstorm well together and she’s receptive to ideas. Projects like this need a collaborative effort.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and for letting us know that you like Doreen’s new site. She’s getting great feedback and her new brand is memorable. I believe that her Chocolatour brand is going to be received well and hopefully, she’ll get many more sponsors and opportunities.

Have a nice weekend!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Things You May Not Know About Google and SEO – #FridayFindsMy Profile

David B
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Just a further note or 2 on the subject.
One of the sites I work with is a large Wordpress based conference site. They run 6 blogs in the same WP installation. The standard one runs on the home page. Theres another video blog, a user-generated blog, and so on. All are listed in the dashboard. Not sure how this is set up but is more than possible.

Another site I’ve seen (sorry – can’t recall the URL) has one front end and 6 distinct blogs behind it. This was 6 WP installs by folder in one host. The front end was user-branded and linked to all the sub-sites. And all the subsites had their own domains. I would also set up subdomains from the main site domain.

A setup like that makes it all connected but may be overdone. But she does need a hub site of some sort for business cards, etc. Her personal brand. As she is an author, I would seriously consider developing her name as a brand, unless she plans to use her domain as an author on books, etc.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Hi Dave,
It sounds like that large conference site is using WordPress Multisite. That’s a topic that had only slightly piqued my interest up until now. (Of course, once you started talking about that site, I had to go and find out more about it!)

After a lot of strategizing, running focus groups and really delving into how Doreen wanted to brand herself, she decided upon branding herself as Chocolatour.

While Doreen is still available as a freelance writer, she is currently working on volume two of Chocolatour. All of her events, wine pairings and speaker engagements now revolve around her expertise in fine artisanal chocolate. (Doreen has told me before that one of her goals is to appear on the Rachael Ray show and I believe she’ll achieve that.)

Thanks so much for the feedback. We always have interesting conversations when you visit.

Leora
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Good luck, Doreen. Glad Sherryl is helping you out. New site looks great!

When it comes to SEO learning, Moz videos are great.
Leora recently posted..Local SEO for Local Business: Citations and NAPMy Profile

Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Thanks, Leora.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..Celebrating Milk ChocolateMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Hi Leora,
Thanks for the positive feedback and thanks for being my sounding board when I was going through the process of selecting a WordPress theme for Doreen’s site. Your advice was so valuable. I really appreciated your support.

I am a huge fan of Rand Fishkin and his Whiteboard Fridays. He is so animated and a great communicator. He makes SEO almost fun. (Maybe it’s his mustache that I get a kick out of. 🙂 )

David B
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Hi Sherryl
I’ve considered it. I’ve had 2 blogs for many years, originally converted from prior static sites. They started as pro and personal blogs but the 2 arenas have shifted around in my life. But I’ve realized the audiences are still distinct so I’ve maintained them.

I did end up migrating the more popular to a self-hosted site. That did take an SEO hit, and an RSS hit. Email subscribers were notified and migrated. Lost just one. But did a proper branding in the process. Thats been a major improvement over time. Glad I did it.

More recently, I’ve been debating doing the same for the other blog (a free Wordpress). I changed hosts (a story in itself) and could upgrade slightly and add the other blog and do a proper branding. Debating if its worth it.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Hi Dave,
It’s good to see you here again. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

If the audiences for your two sites are distinct, then it makes sense to keep them separate. In Doreen’s case, there was a lot of overlap. One of the things that we did was to identify common categories and recategorize many of her old posts. That way, when we merged the databases, we were able to focus on a limited number of categories.

When you took the SEO hit, had you gone from a static site to WordPress? Did you recover? I found it encouraging to hear from Rand Fishkin that in six months, Moz.com ranked higher for SEO related terms and phrases than SEOMoz.com had.

It’s good to hear that you’re glad that you made the move. I’m going to be changing hosts for several client sites. I used iThemes’ BackupBuddy plugin to migrate Doreen’s site from our test environment and I was impressed by how smoothly it went. I’ll be using that to move the other sites as well.

Good luck with your other blog! I need to make the time to do the same for this site.
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David B
Twitter:
August 7, 2015 at 1:48 am

Hi Sherryl
The SEO hit was going from free WordPress to self-hosted. SEO recovered, then grew, but RSS subscribers didn’t curiously. Twitter subscribers jumped though.

I recently changed hosts but there was not a hit with that – though I did have an unplanned downtime. I couldn’t get the site to migrate. The host stepped in and used Backbuddy which usually works but it didn’t either. (so I felt better with my fumbling) They ended up moving the database manually. I suspect it as the old host.

The move was promoted by the old host deciding to shut down their WP specialty service. They offered to migrate me to their usual web hosting and I accepted. 2 months later, I get a notice that my site is no longer supported and may be shut down at any time. eh? So the host change was sudden and did not go smoothly. Certainly not how I like to do things.

Performance is improved on the new site, especially for email. Happy with the move. The only adjustment required was one of the social media icons was confused. (manual links) Relinked and all was well.

I’ve helped a few sites with their move. There is often a plugin or 2 that needs to be reconnected or some such but I’ve been surprised how smoothly it usually goes. One friend moved to GoDaddy and his podcast feed broke on iTunes. It took weeks to sort that out – an issue with both of them.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Hi David,
Conversations like these always prompt me to ask questions. That way, I (and my readers) can learn from your experience.

I have migrated BlogSpot.com and WordPress.com sites before but I honestly don’t remember if there was a significant impact on SEO. In those cases, there really wasn’t a ton of traffic to begin with.

Did you keep the domain name of the free site with a 301 redirect to your new domain?

There is so much involved anytime you start forwarding domains and merging sites. I spent much of my time on Doreen’s site preparing my work plan so that I wouldn’t miss any steps.

As a side note, it amazes me that there isn’t more core functionality built into WordPress to help with site migrations. The import tool is limited and the function to import files into the media library is completely lacking.

I kept finding myself having to install plugins that were designed for specific tasks. Several of those plugins had not been updated in years and some showed the warnings from WordPress advising us not to use them. (Since they were basically scripts and I found that other webmasters were using them successfully, I forged ahead.)

Sorry to hear that you ran into so many issues with your host. That’s so frustrating and scary at the same time. I’m glad that you’re happy with your hosting now.

I have never moved a site to GoDaddy before. I have moved them from GoDaddy though. 🙂 I do not recommend them to anyone. My last experience with them was a nightmare. (The server that my site was on had known issues that caused an unacceptable amount of downtime. Yet, they refused to move my site to a working server.)

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. I love it when the conversations in the comments add so much value! Have a nice weekend. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What SEO Tools Do You Use? #FridayFindsMy Profile

David B
Twitter:
August 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Hi Sherryl
Sure – happy to share. I got WP.com’s redirect for a year. The old site was blogname.wordpress.com type. Not heavy traffic but some articles were in Google top 10. Still have a few from 2007 that get daily hits.

Funny how it evolved though. I discovered some sites were using scripted content theft of my articles, so I started adding a pen name inside the content (at the bottom) so it couldn’t be quite so easily lifted under someone elses name. I also normally have internal links within the articles (like term references) that would go to. This reduced that a lot.

But it had the unexpected consequence that the pen name became the #1 way people searched for the site. It evolved into the natural domain for the migrated site.

Also, those internal links didn’t convert with the site migration. But it was a simple, and carefully coded, search and replace on the database that fixed that quite quickly. Here’s the means:
https://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/

And yeah – I wrote a 4-part series myself on all the considerations for such a migration – plugins, host, domain, etc etc. Mainly for planning so the implementation isn’t a lot of Oh – what do you want to do about Contact forms? Login security? Moderation? etc

https://fornow.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/wordpress-migration-part-1/

And yes, the Wordpress Import tool could seriously use some work. And yes, I warned him against GoDaddy but their prices were attractive. They run a nonprofit that gets 5,000 hits a day. It does sound like GoDaddy has brought some WP specialization in house and built appropriate servers for it now. But they remain nonstandard and he had a heck of time getting someone to look at it. Turned out to partly be an issue with an incomplete implementation of https.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Hi David,
Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I really appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences with us.

That’s interesting that adding a pen name inside the content helped deter content theft. (I’m not exactly sure how you accomplished this but it’s something that I would pursue if I ever ran into an issue with content theft).

I love that your pen name became the #1 way that people searched for your site. When I registered the domain name for this site, I also registered my twitter ID as a domain name. I’m seriously considering rebranding as KeepUpWeb.com.

I honestly don’t know if people are searching on keepupweb though. I hate to admit it but I haven’t seriously looked at my analytics in a while now.

I had internal links and fields in database tables that needed to be replaced after the migration too. I used two plugins. I used the “Better Search Replace” plugin to handle tables and the “Velvet Blues Update URLs” plugin to handle content, attachments , custom fields and meta boxes.

If I had known about your WordPress migration series before I started, I would have definitely read it. I did find a few articles that walked me through the process but I didn’t find any one post that covered everything. Thankfully, the blogging communities are extremely helpful and reading the post comments added additional insight.

It can be frustrating when a client chooses to ignore recommendations. 🙂 One of my clients still adamantly refuses to address the fact that her site is not mobile friendly. (Ultimately, it’s her decision.)

Thanks again for sharing so much information with us! I hope you have an amazing week.

Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

Hi Sherryl. Thanks so much for profiling my site on your terrific site, but also for all the amazing work you have done for me, and the thoughtful guidance you have provided me with during the process. I have always felt complete confidence in the direction you have driven me, and have been amazed with your ability to problem solve. Let’s hope that all our hard work will help catapult the Chocolatour brand to a much broader audience than we previously had been able to reach with my fragmented approach.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Hi Doreen,
You’re welcome. I thought it was a great opportunity to share the process that we went through with my readers. I know there are a lot of people who are faced with situations that are similar to yours. Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by your new site.

Your site is only going to get better! You still have a lot of great content on your WizardOfWords site that we can incorporate. We can also work on pages that provide more information without having to include them in your navigation menu.

One thing that people can take away from this is your commitment to your new site. You looked at this as an opportunity to brand yourself and you were willing to invest in the new design for your brand. I’m confident that it will serve you well.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?My Profile

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