From King Design to Crowd Favorite

One of the challenges of renaming King Design to Crowd Favorite was how exactly to handle transitioning from to the new web site. I think I’ve come up with a reasonable solution that covers both people and search engines.

It was important to me not to create a jarring or confusing experience for anyone who was accustomed to going to the King Design web site, so I decided to leave the King Design web site up with a couple of minor changes:

  • There is a Crowd Favorite logo :scare: pasted :/scare: over the King Design logo in the header.
  • There is a big sign at the top of each page noting that King Design is now Crowd Favorite, with a link to go to the page they are on at the King Design on the Crowd Favorite web site.

King Design to Crowd Favorite

Behind the scenes, there is a little magic happening. The Crowd Favorite and King Design web sites are running on a single WordPress installation. I created a different theme for each site, but both sites are using the same content. As the content includes some embedded HTML markup in places, I had to manage many of the visual differences purely with CSS.

Once I had the two themes working properly with the site content, I created a plugin to load the appropriate theme based on the URL that the visitor came to ( or

There are two areas of the site that aren’t WordPress driven: the forums and the PHP Doc System generated documentation. For these areas I decided to go with only the Crowd Favorite theme. I created a new template in PunBB and used PHP Doc System to export all of the static documentation using an the Crowd Favorite header and footer HTML.

Of course, I’ve also updated the URL in my e-mail signature and changed the prefixes, URLs and e-mail addresses in my automated e-mails, etc. I also plan to send an e-mail quite soon to all Tasks Pro™ and Tasks™ customers announcing the change.

I plan to leave all of this in place through the end of 2007, then I will start issuing immediate redirects to to people that visit in 2008 and beyond. All e-mails will also still work through the end of 2007,

That is my strategy for gently transitioning people to the new site/domain.

The other visitors I’m concerned about are search engine crawlers. Unlike the human visitors that I want to transition gently, I want the search engines to pick up the new site immediately. I created a mod_rewrite directive to immediately send 301 header redirects to search engine crawlers if they are not coming in to

## search engine spiders

# Google - googlebot
# Yahoo -
# MSN/Live -
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*googlebot.* [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .** [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .** [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

I’m no mod_rewrite guru1, but I did a little testing based on the documented user agents and this seems to be working as desired. Hopefully the search engines will pick up the moved pages and update their indexes quickly.

I’ll be curious to see how this all works out, but I’m optimistic and think I’ve covered the bases pretty well.

Have your own suggestions or tips? Share them with the group in the comments.

  1. I don’t even play one on TV. [back]