Every commercial website needs to undergo a migration at some point, sooner or later. It can be a fantastic opportunity for your company. Your SEO approach will improve, and switching to a new domain will increase security, scalability, and lifespan.
But the procedure could seem complicated. In this post, which also includes a checklist to keep in mind when moving your website, you may learn more about migration.
Before moving to the checklist, let's look into the definition of website migration.
Website Migration is a process of change to your website regarding its setup and technology. These changes are so significant that it impacts the site's structure, performance, or traffic to have better online visibility. It includes severe changes, and being a challenging process, you should have a good reason to implement it. Some of the common reasons to migrate a website are -
Change in your site's structure and navigation: When you need a refresh in your website design, you can go for the migration.
Moving to a new framework: To improve a website's performance, security, or functionality, you may need to move to a new framework.
Changing your domain name: As a part of the rebranding, you may have to change your domain name, which involves website migration.
Moving from HTTP to HTTPS: People want to avoid visiting an insecure website. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS helps secure your site by encrypting the user's information and removing the alerts.
Changing URLs: You can restructure the website's URL or fix the incorrect URLs. However, all need to be migrated first.
Merging websites: In case of any business-related acquisition, you must consolidate its website into the existing ones and go through the website migration process.
While migrating the website, the most crucial element to remember is that the user experience should never be interrupted, and the transitions should be seamless. To help you migrate, we have listed a few checklists that you should remember.
When you have decided to migrate the website within a time scale, you must have a clear picture and idea of how to implement it. Let's take a look at some essential key points to be considered before :
#1 Develop a Plan
To avoid certain frequent dangers while relocating, a pre-plan should be prepared. Before beginning, there should be a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and creating a checklist for the same is a fantastic method to achieve this.
Planning is crucial, so take your time to designate enough resources for the migration, educate team members, and fully inform them of the risks associated with switching to a new or different domain.
#2 Make an Inventory of All Linked URLs From Tools for Website Migration
The main adjustments for migrating are updating website links' URLs. It could be optional if your website doesn't include any associated connections. Before you migrate your website, you must have access to all its contents, including any URLs or links that need to point to other websites.
For this, you should conduct an inbound link analysis to determine which external websites are linking to your website. Then, you can use a few programs to gather your current URLs and build a content map.
#3 Create a 301 Redirect Map for Your Website Migration
It may have happened with you a lot that you clicked on a link, bringing you to a 404 page. You can prevent this by creating 301 redirects while migrating your website.
Make sure you confirm the URL structure of your new site before you do anything else - then consider making changes to optimize your site's SEO. The last thing you want is to spend time mapping out content for URLs that get updated when the site goes live.
#4 Determine Website Migration Budgets, Timelines, and Teams
Before you go on with migrating your website, it's time to set a sensible budget, a timeline, and team responsibility. A clearly defined strategy is critical as migration will only happen in a single day.
The migration shouldn't require a considerable budget assuming the right skills in-house. Several tools can streamline the process, but they are relatively inexpensive.
Nonetheless, it is best to fence the contingency budget if the worst happens and your migration runs into any issues that only an expert consultant can solve.
#5 Promote Your New Website Before the Website Migration
The most crucial part of website migration is getting the audience to understand that the website is moved to a different domain. However, the 301 redirects will make sure that the outdated links aren't a complete waste but will lose impact on customers and once confuse them if they remain obsolete for long.
That is why any migration should always include a pre-migration promotional campaign that uses the new URL to reach customers and let everyone be on board with the move before it happens.
This can be done in several ways, like creating a 'coming soon' landing page on the new URL while continuing to work in the background. Also, take care that the old URL should be recovered once and unless the migration is done and the website is up and running.
#6 Test Your Website Migration
When the migration goes live, problems with the UX or traffic on your site could arise if faults or issues still need to be resolved. A thorough test in a confined environment will help you find these problems.
This is so that any modifications you make won't affect the live site. Additionally, keeping the previous site operational allows users to continue using it and provides a reference point for your updates. Additionally, you can always remove the isolated environment and retry if something goes wrong.
For example, you can start testing a new design as soon as it is created if you are launching it. The sooner problems are identified, the more time you will have to fix them. You can live with inevitable mistakes.
#7 Set up a Process to Track the Migration
To determine the success of the migration, you must track the number of metrics and set up the tracking before beginning the migration. To track the success of your site, you might need a few analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.
It will assist you in keeping track of the performance and traffic benchmarks that you may use to assess the migration's effect in the future.
Although moving the entire website's content to a new domain looks intimidating, it is possible with the utmost care. Search engines like Google will treat a website as having a completely new identity even while its material remains the same. Therefore, your website will stay in good standing if you migrate carefully and consider essential factors.
With that stated, a proper migration can help your website benefit from improved web hosting services, which can increase its speed, security, SEO, etc. However, you need a strong plan that is carried out with military precision if you want to succeed with your relocation strategy. Always remember to plan and test your migration!