For almost 20 years, MR. DETAIL Appearance Centre has been doing business in Calgary, AB. They sell wheels, tires and aftermarket parts. They also provide services like window tinting, detailing and paint polishing to their customers.
You can visit the website at mrdetail.ca
Another long time client, the website has grown and changed quite a bit. Over the years, the company has made changes to what it does, and has even moved locations. The website has been updated along with it, so a WordPress conversion was the next step.
As the number of services they offer has grown, I have worked with the owner of the company to create new pages, update content and add pictures. Most of it is specific information about the services they offer, and it goes over prices and policies.
How people use the website
This website’s content is read by customers doing research online. They usually want to have their car worked on, and are looking for a company to do it.
Some people come into the store at that point, but more often they will call to discuss what they see on the website. On the other end, the person who picks up the phone needs to familiar
with what’s there – so they can quickly give answers.
In a case like this, redesigning the website means leaving (leaving everything in the same spot where it can easily be found. The look can be updated, but the owner wanted to leave the layout of each page more or less unchanged.
Moving to a responsive layout meant I had to think about how to best preserve the way the layouts look with the static site. When viewing on smaller screens, the layout shuffles and resizes to view info in a single column.
SEO Concerns when Moving a Website to WordPress
SEO must be considered when converting a static HTML website to WordPress. This is especially so when it has been around a long time.
There are steps that must be taken so you don’t negatively affect the search engine rankings for the site. This can sometimes happen from careless mistakes when the site is moved.
What WordPress enables with SEO
In general, moving a site to WordPress can often help your SEO. Google doesn’t necessarily prefer WordPress over other options, but the available plugins make it so much easier for you to optimize each page.
Plugins such as the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress will give you hints on what to put in the content. It can also remind you to properly fill out the proper title and meta information for each page. It can help you identify missing values when copying and pasting over the content from your static HTML website. Tools such as Screaming Frog can also help with this process prior to the move.
What to update when moving a site
If you are going to be overwriting an existing website, then you must pay particular attention to make sure all the pages are found by Google again. In web designer terms, this means that your page URL’s must either be named exactly the same or have redirects set up so they do not give 404 (page not found) errors.
For this website, there were some changes made to the site’s architecture. A few pages were put into categories and became Sub-pages. This just makes the site easier to navigate for the users. With all the changes to the URL’s, I used the Redirection WordPress plugin. This was done to make sure the pages all routed the right way after the switch.
The plugin can also help you find errors once the new site is launched, as some pages might not route correctly after the switch. In the settings, there are a set of tabs where you can see what pages are giving a 404 error and how often. You can use this info to go in and fix the bad links on your site. For bad links pointing to your site from other pages, you can create a redirect. These are for links pointing to your domain, but not to an actual page that exists.
After a few weeks, there were no significant impacts to traffic and it started to grow again. The more errors you can correct on a website, the better it will fare in the search engine rankings.