We had to tell Google that we officially changed names by using the change of address tool:
Part of the change of address form checks to make sure the 301 rewrite rules on the old domain to the new domain are working. The problem is that we were having was the fact we had a double redirect in place so their system couldn't confirm our 301 rewrite was working correctly. Basically tech-forums.net was being routed to techist.com which was being routed to techist.com/forums/
In order to fix this we put up a simple page at the root of our domain (www.techist.com
) that requires someone to click on the link to get to the forums. This worked and we were able to submit the change of address form. In an effort to give the Googlebot spider some time to crawl and understand what was going on we decided to leave that page up for 48 hours. We'll be pull that down and redirecting the home page to the forums here shortly.
Our long term vision is to use a content management system so we can blog about cool tech stuff. So our home page will be 1/2 a content portal to articles that Techist members submit and 1/2 portal to trending topics within our forum. It's going to take some time before we get to that point. Until then we will simply redirect the home page to the forums.
Basically, after each change, we have to be patient and let the search engines understand the change we just made. To our benefit they understand these changes quicker now than they did 5 years ago.
The next big change is something we had not officially announced to the public yet. ComputerForums.org will be joining Techist.com. ComptuerForums.org will be merged into Techist.com and the result will be an increase in posting activity of 33%. We've discuss this change with mod/admin team on both sites and everyone seems excited to make some changes and turn the tides on two sites that have been seeing lower posting level than in the past. Both sites have a core group of members who have remained active that appear to be a decent fit together.
This means we are currently in a holding pattern while the search engines digest the domain name change. I'll be monitoring Google Webmaster Tools and we will be addressing any issues that arise in the month ahead. Once we feel like the domain change has been processed and we are settled on the new domain name we will merge ComputerForums.org into Techist.com. After that we will start a holding period where we wait and monitor the search engines to make sure they have processed the change properly.
After the two sites have been merged and the search engines have confirmed the changes are understood and working properly we will then start working on the next change which will be a platform change to try and modernizer our community with something more modern. Once we have identified our new platform and we will do extensive testing and then finally switch. Once again, after the switch, we will enter a waiting period where we let the search engines process the platform switch. As you can see the idea is to make one change at a time and make sure that change has been processed properly by the search engines.
After the platform change has settled then we can start brainstorming ideas on what to do with our home page. Our home when this is all said and done is that our site will be totally responsive, look modern and have a wonderful community to help power a next generation general technology community.
To be honest, this is all a gamble but not taking any risks means we have very little chance to compete in the long run. It's going to take a group effort, we'll need our members to embrace the change and help us keep the site active. Everyone is going to have to deal with a little change but hopefully it will be worth it and we'll be the well be even more of a well respected tech community.
We are open to feedback and none of our plans are set in stone. Together we can think through ideas and come up with the best plan. So if you have any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc please post them lets talk them through!