What Steps Should I Take When Migrating a Website?
To ensure a smooth and successful website migration, we’ve gathered insights from top industry professionals, including CEOs, founders, and marketing experts. From seeking stakeholder feedback to creating a detailed migration plan, discover the top 10 essential items these experts recommend, including on your website migration checklist.
- Seek Stakeholder Feedback
- Implement 301 Redirects
- Use the Change of Address Tool
- Backup Site and Database
- Preserve User Experience and Rankings
- Conduct Post-Migration Testing and Optimization
- Enhance SEO During Migration
- Perform Usability Check
- Check Compatibility Pre-Migration
- Create a Detailed Migration Plan
Seek Stakeholder Feedback
After conducting tests and ensuring everything works properly, ask for feedback from key stakeholders, including developers/designers who worked on building up a base version of your site or contributed heavily towards achieving and executing specific goals related to optimizing user experience. If there are areas that need improvement based on said assessments, then address those promptly before transitioning completely over permanently, if time allows.
Implement 301 Redirects
One thing to include on a website migration checklist when migrating a website is to set up 301 redirects. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that ensures users and search engines are directed to the new page location when the original page URL has changed.
During a website migration, it’s common to change page URLs or delete old pages, which can cause broken links and negatively affect search engine rankings. By setting up 301 redirects, you can ensure that visitors and search engines are directed to the correct pages on your new site, maintaining the integrity of your website’s authority and preventing a loss of traffic and rankings.
Create a comprehensive list of all old URLs and their corresponding new URLs, and implement the 301 redirects in your website’s server configuration or through a plugin if you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.
Use the Change of Address Tool
During website migration, it’s crucial to include the Change of Address Tool on your checklist. This tool informs Google Search Console of any alterations to your website’s domain name. It also assists Google in accurately crawling and indexing the updated version of your site, which is vital for preserving your existing SEO rankings and traffic. To guarantee proper indexing, use the Change of Address Tool promptly after the migration.
Backup Site and Database
There are many things to include on a website migration checklist when migrating a website, but one thing to include is to make sure you have a backup of your site and database. This is crucial in case anything goes wrong during the migration process, so you can quickly restore your site to its pre-migration state.
Other items to include on a website migration checklist may include setting up hosting, DNS, CDN, and email, preparing a plan, having an overview of your website’s URLs and backlink profile, and including SEO in your migration strategy. It’s important to have a comprehensive checklist to ensure a successful and efficient website migration.
Preserve User Experience and Rankings
This is because of the possibility that users and search engines have linked to or bookmarked particular pages on your previous website. Your website’s user experience and search engine results may suffer if visitors experience broken links or error messages.
For instance, we had a team devoted to making sure all redirects were in place before going live when we moved our company website to a new domain. All previous URLs had to be mapped out, and 301 redirects had to be made to the new URLs. We could maintain both our user experience and search engine rankings.
Post-Migration Testing and Optimization
After the migration is complete, it is important to test the website to ensure that everything works properly. This includes checking for broken links, errors, and any other issues that may affect the website’s performance.
You should monitor the website’s traffic and performance to ensure that it is meeting your expectations. Finally, you may need to make additional optimizations to the website to improve its speed, security, and overall performance.
Enhance SEO During Migration
Website migration can prove quite a challenge on the SEO front, but if you do it right, you can also use this opportunity to review your existing SEO structure and introduce improvements. Some crucial components to pay due attention to include HTML sitemaps, internal and external links, URL structure, meta titles and descriptions, and crawling efficiency.
Lining up these elements and others allows you to run a clinical review of your current site’s SEO capabilities while offering you the chance to make improvements and introduce the right tweaks when drawing up the SEO blueprint for the new website.
Perform Usability Check
A frequently overlooked aspect of website migration preparation is the usability check. It may be time-consuming; however, manually checking the website’s functions is crucial for your users’ website experience. Check the functionality of the live chat, the navigation, and whether the content is easy to consume. Apply a critical approach to every part of the interface as your users will do when experiencing your website for the first time.
Check Compatibility Pre-Migration
Before migrating a website, you need to ensure the content and applications are compatible with the destination server. You need to check that the web hosting platform and software version used by your website are supported on the target server and test custom applications or plugins to ensure they’ll work when migrated.
You should also verify that any databases used by your website will be compatible with the new environment. By guaranteeing compatibility before migration, you can avoid unexpected errors or downtime after making the switch.
Create a Detailed Migration Plan
A well-defined migration plan can help ensure a smooth transition to the new platform. This plan should include a detailed timeline that outlines the specific steps that need to be taken at each stage of the migration process. It should also include contingency plans in case of any unexpected issues.
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