How to Successfully Merge Two Websites

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By Boris Dzhingarov

Digital consolidation can be a challenging world to navigate. But when done correctly, merging two websites can lead to increased online visibility, streamlined content, and improved user experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you execute the perfect website merger.

Understand the Why

Before diving into the process, it’s crucial to understand the reasons behind your decision. Are you consolidating brands? Did you acquire another company? Recognizing your motivation helps shape your merger strategy.

Comprehensive Site Audit

Before merging:

  • Inventory content: List all pages, posts, and assets. It helps in identifying duplicates and deciding what to retain or discard.
  • Performance metrics: Analyze traffic, bounce rates, and conversions. This will guide you on which pages are critical and which ones can be left behind.
  • Technical health: Use tools like Screaming Frog or SEMrush to detect broken links, 404 errors, or other issues.

Plan Your Website Architecture

Consider:

  • Hierarchy: Which website will be the primary one? Will you keep one domain and redirect the other or combine both under a new umbrella?
  • Navigation and user experience: Ensure easy navigation. The last thing you want is a cluttered site where users can’t find what they’re looking for.

Decide on Content

You’ve done the audit. Now:

  • Eliminate redundancies: If both sites have similar content, decide which one is superior. Remember, quality over quantity.
  • Update and optimize: Some content may need a refresh. Update outdated information, improve SEO, and ensure relevance.

Handle Technical Aspects

This step is crucial for SEO:

  • 301 redirects: Set these up from old URLs to new ones, ensuring that visitors and search engines know where to go. This maintains the SEO value.
  • Update internal links: Ensure links within your content point to the right pages on the new merged site.
  • Server capacity: Ensure your hosting can handle increased traffic from the merged sites without lagging.
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Test Everything

Before making the merger live:

  • User testing: Gather a group to navigate the merged site. Their feedback can be invaluable.
  • Responsive check: Ensure the site looks and functions well across devices.
  • Speed test: Sites like GTmetrix can help ensure loading times are optimal.

Inform Stakeholders and Users

Keep everyone in the loop:

  • Announcement: Let your audience know about the merger through newsletters, social media, and site banners.
  • Feedback channel: Allow users to report issues or give suggestions. It shows you value their experience.

Monitor and Adjust

Post-merger:

  • Traffic analysis: Monitor how the new site is performing. Any unexpected dips in traffic should be addressed.
  • Search engine ranking: Ensure the merged site ranks well and that no critical keywords have been negatively impacted.
  • Regular maintenance: Even after a successful merger, regular checks and updates are necessary for the site’s health.

User Experience (UX) Enhancements

Merging websites opens opportunities for enhancing user interactions.

  • Interactive elements: Introduce features like quizzes, polls, or interactive infographics. They can make your content more engaging and increase page dwell time.
  • Feedback forms: Implement forms where users can voice their experience with the merged site. This direct input can guide future improvements.

Branding Consistency

When merging two websites, there might be discrepancies in branding.

  • Visual audit: Examine design elements, color schemes, logos, and fonts. Ensure uniformity across the board for a coherent brand image.
  • Voice and tone: Ensure the content, from blog posts to product descriptions, reflects a consistent brand voice.

Security Measures

A merged website can sometimes create vulnerabilities.

  • SSL certificate: Ensure your merged site uses HTTPS. This not only protects user data but is also favored by search engines.
  • Regular backups: Ensure that there’s a system in place to back up your merged website data regularly.
  • Security plugins: Tools like Wordfence for WordPress can safeguard your website against potential threats.
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Mobile Optimization

A growing number of users access sites via mobile devices.

  • Adaptive design: Ensure your design adjusts to different screen sizes, ensuring a comfortable browsing experience.
  • Mobile load speed: Compressed images, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and cache tools can help your website load swiftly on mobile devices.

Social Media Integration

Integrate and streamline your social media presence post-merger.

  • Unified handles: If both sites had separate social media pages, consider merging or redirecting to a single unified account.
  • Social share buttons: Encourage content sharing by integrating easy-to-use social media buttons on blog posts and key web pages.

Community Building

Strengthen the bond with your audience post-merger.

  • Forums and discussion boards: Create spaces where users can interact, share, and discuss topics related to your niche.
  • Webinars and live sessions: Host live events where users can learn more about topics of interest and directly engage with experts or brand representatives.

Continual Learning and Adaptation

The digital landscape is ever evolving, and staying updated is key.

  • Webmaster tools: Platforms like Google Search Console can provide insights into how the merged site is perceived by search engines and highlight areas for improvement.
  • Stay updated with trends: Regularly read up on website management, SEO trends, and UX/UI advancements. Tools like Google Trends or SEM rush can provide insights into emerging search terms and topics in your niche.

Exploring New Content Avenues

Expand and diversify your content strategy.

  • Podcasts and video content: These mediums are growing in popularity. Consider creating a podcast series or regular video content, making sure it aligns with your brand and audience’s interests.
  • E-books and whitepapers: These can be valuable for users looking for in-depth information. They also position your brand as an industry thought leader.
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Affiliate and Partnership Opportunities

Post-merger, there might be potential for new collaborations.

  • Partner content: Collaborate with brands or influencers in your niche to create co-authored content or guest posts.
  • Affiliate programs: If not already in place, explore affiliate marketing opportunities. It can be a lucrative way to monetize your merged website’s traffic.

Training and Skill Development

Ensure your team is equipped to handle the new, merged platform.

  • Workshops: Conduct training sessions on the new CMS or any tools that have been integrated post-merger.
  • Feedback rounds: Regular team meetings where feedback is shared can help in identifying challenges and solutions.

While the process of merging two websites is intricate, it’s just the starting point of your digital journey. By continually enhancing, learning, and adapting, you can ensure that the combined website not only serves its purpose but also thrives in an ever-evolving digital landscape.