Restoring an old website on an expired domain can be an exciting yet challenging process. It’s akin to finding an old house filled with a history that could be shaped into a promising future. However, breathing life back into a dormant site requires careful planning and execution.
Here are five steps to guide you in revitalizing an old website on an expired domain.
1. Investigate the Previous State of the Website
Before embarking on the task of revitalizing an expired domain, it’s essential to delve into its history. Imagine yourself as a digital historian, piecing together the previous state of the website to better inform your restoration strategy.
A valuable tool in your investigation will be the Wayback Machine. This digital archive allows you to explore the former versions of your website, providing insights into its content, layout, navigational structure, visual design, and more.
In addition to understanding the site’s physical attributes, it’s crucial to study its previous SEO performance. Using an SEO analytics tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs, you can gain insights into the website’s past keyword rankings and backlink profile. This analysis can provide a wealth of information about the site’s historical SEO value, which can then inform your restoration plan.
To further comprehend the site’s past, consider using a domain age checker like Pr-cy.io. This tool gives you information on the domain’s age, a factor that search engines often consider when ranking websites. A mature domain can be advantageous for SEO, as it’s often associated with stability and reliability. Thus, the domain age checker can provide valuable information that contributes to your understanding of the site’s history and potential.
Remember, the more thoroughly you understand the old website’s state, the better equipped you will be to restore it effectively, preserving valuable elements and improving upon weaker ones.
2. Setting Up an Efficient Content Management System
Moving to the next step in the journey of reestablishing a website on an expired domain, you’re faced with the crucial task of installing a dependable Content Management System (CMS). A CMS plays a pivotal role in the modern web ecosystem. It offers an intuitive platform to create, manage, and alter website content, eliminating the need for specialized technical expertise.
The CMS landscape is vast and varied, with each platform offering a unique set of benefits, drawbacks, and distinctive functionalities. Your CMS selection should be aligned with your website’s specific requirements and objectives. Important considerations while choosing a CMS include user-friendliness, customization options, scalability, security provisions, and the presence of an active user community for support.
Three CMS platforms that have gained significant popularity include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
- WordPress leads the pack with a market share exceeding 60% as of 2021. Its popularity stems from its intuitive interface, a rich library of themes and plugins, and a vibrant community of users and developers. This versatility makes it an attractive choice for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
- Joomla offers a middle ground between WordPress’s user-friendliness and Drupal’s technical robustness. It is a flexible platform, particularly suitable for social networking and e-commerce websites.
- Drupal is the most technically sophisticated among the three, offering remarkable adaptability and scalability. It’s an optimal choice for intricate, high-traffic websites, albeit with a steeper learning curve and a need for more technical skills.
Beyond these, there are other CMS options to consider. Shopify, for instance, is ideal for e-commerce websites, while Squarespace is known for its beautiful design templates. Emerging CMS platforms like Contentful and Prismic adopt a “headless” approach, separating back-end content management from front-end display for greater flexibility in content presentation.
The decision to select the right CMS is strategic and will have a profound impact on your website’s functionality and operational workflow. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each platform and matching them with your website’s needs, you can choose a CMS that will provide a solid base for your resurrected website.
3. Restore Old Content as Thoroughly as Possible
The third step involves the painstaking task of restoring old content. This process will be significantly easier if you’ve done your homework in the first step.
The goal is to recreate the old website as closely as possible, with the same URLs, content, and structure. Preserving the same URL structure is especially important for SEO purposes, as it helps maintain any residual link equity from the original site.
Use the snapshots from the Wayback Machine as your blueprint for restoring the content. You might need to manually copy and paste the text and images or use a web scraping tool if the site is large.
Remember, content isn’t just text and images. Also consider any embedded videos, downloadable files, and forms that the site might have had. If some information is missing or corrupted, try to fill in the gaps with suitable replacement content.
4. Remove, Update, or Merge Bad Content
Restoring an old website doesn’t mean you have to keep everything from the past. The fourth step is all about quality control – removing, updating, or merging content that no longer serves a purpose or fails to meet modern SEO and content quality standards.
Bad content could range from outdated information and broken links to thin content pages and keyword-stuffed articles. For instance, you might find that the old site has multiple pages with similar content. In such cases, consider merging these pages into one comprehensive page to avoid keyword cannibalization and improve user experience.
On the other hand, some old content might be valuable but outdated. Update these pages with current information and best practices in mind. This process is crucial to ensure that your website aligns with modern SEO requirements and delivers a positive user experience.
5. Establish a Purpose and Move Forward
The final step in restoring an old website on an expired domain is charting a course for the future. Now that you’ve revived the website, it’s time to establish a clear purpose and direction.
First, define the mission and vision for the website. Are you looking to provide information, sell products or services, or build a community? Your website’s purpose will guide your content strategy, SEO efforts, and overall site development.
Once you have a clear mission, develop a content strategy that aligns with your objectives. If the old site was a blog, consider the types of topics and formats (e.g., articles, videos, podcasts) that would be most engaging and valuable to your audience. If it’s an e-commerce site, think about the products you want to sell and how to present them attractively.
Next, consider your SEO strategy. You’ve inherited a site with some degree of domain authority and a backlink profile, which gives you a head start. However, you need to work on keyword research, on-page SEO, and link building to improve your site’s visibility in search engines.
Finally, remember that a website is not a ‘set and forget’ project. It needs regular updates, fresh content, and ongoing SEO efforts to stay relevant and competitive. Monitor your website’s performance using analytics tools, get feedback from users, and continuously optimize your site based on these insights.
In conclusion, restoring an old website on an expired domain can be a rewarding endeavor. It’s a chance to bring back to life a part of the internet’s history, packaged with the benefits of existing domain authority and potential SEO value.
By following these five steps – examining the dead site, installing a CMS, restoring old content, removing or updating bad content, and establishing a purpose – you can set the stage for a successful website revival. Just remember that restoring the site is only the beginning. Continuous improvement and updates are what will drive the site’s success in the long run.