Two things, which are very important, and are often overlooked when companies are moving or redesigning their websites are email accounts and search engine links.
I have new clients every year who have existing websites and either want them redesigned or to have a content management system put in, and I am very conscientious about both making sure their email will still work after the migration and/or updates take place, and that I set up a server script to redirect all of their old site’s URLs to the new site’s corresponding pages. This ensures that when people google them, they end up on a valid page and don’t get a “page not found” error.
One site that I was hired to reprogram last year had several hundred pages on their old site, and I redirected every one to the corresponding page in the new design with a .htaccess script using 301 redirects. When a sites’ page links are drastically changed, with the URL redirection your search engine placement might dip temporarily, but without the 301 redirects, it will plummet. Plus, it isn’t professional if someone querying your site ends up with “page not found” errors.
I have found that not all design firms look out for their new client’s transitions. Many industry based website platforms don’t offer email accounts at all, and very often the support person assigned to a client doesn’t have the programming background to know how to ensure that the old site URLs will redirect to the new.
I had three clients who migrated from my hosting to other website platforms that specialize in their industry last year, and in two cases, the way I found out that the transition had gone through, was by them calling me in confusion because their email wasn’t working any more, and/or that when they googled their site, they ended up with a bunch of broken links.
So please, if you are migrating your site to a new platform or server, or having it redesigned in such a way that the site links will change, make sure to ask your designer/programmer about helping you both migrate your email accounts, and set up 301 redirects on the new server to seamlessly redirect the old site links to the new site. This will ensure neither your search engine traffic or your communications are interrupted.