1 Nov · 6 min read
Every business website has to go migration eventually sooner or later. A website often gets migrated during its life cycle. Well, migrating a website to a new domain can be a problem solving necessity and can also be risky sometimes. That is why it is crucial to go through a proven process while migrating. However, a simple modification cannot be considered as an act of migration. The update needs to be significant enough to affect a few core functionalities of the website.
Moreover, website migration can be a confusing process. It is a broad term that describes an event when several aspects of the website can be changed. Being said, it can be a great opportunity for your business. You can see improvements in your SEO strategy and migrating to a different domain will offer more security, scalability and longevity. You will find more about migration in this article that includes a checklist to know while migrating your website. Before that, let’s look into the definition of website migration and get ready for migrating.
Website Migration is a process of change to your website in terms of 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 serious changes and being a challenging process you should have a good reason to implement the same. Some of the common reasons to migrate a website are -
Change in your site’s structure, 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 whole new framework.
Moving to a new server : Switching to a new host to speed up the overall website, especially when it is growing. A speedy and improving website attracts more customers and scores good rank in search engines.
Changing your domain name : As a part of rebranding, you may have to change your domain name and changing that involves website migration.
Moving from HTTP to HTTPS : No one wants to visit 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 may want to restructure the website’s URL or fix the incorrect URLs, all needs to be migrated first.
Merging websites : In case of any business related acquisition, you need to consolidate its website into the existing ones, you have to go through all the process of website migration.
While migrating the website, the most important element to keep in mind is 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 on some important key points to be considered before :
When it comes to migrating, there should always be a pre-plan developed within to avoid some common pitfalls. Before starting, there should be a clear understanding of what needs to be done and a great way to do this is to develop a checklist for the same. Planning is essential so take your time to allocate enough resources for the migration, educate people within the team and make them totally aware about the risk being involved while moving to a different or new domain.
For migration, the major changes include changing URLs linked in the website. It may be optional in case there are no connected links in your website. Before you go ahead to migrate your website, you must possess all the contents present in your website like the URLs or links that need to be directed to some other sites. For this, you should perform an inbound link analysis in order to see the links that are coming to your website from an external website. There are a couple of tools you can use to pull all your existing URLs and create a content map.
It may have happened with you a lot that you have clicked on a link and it brought you to 404 page. You can prevent this from happening 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 optimise 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.
Before you go on with migrating your website, it’s time to set a sensible budget, a timeline and team responsibility. Having clearly defined strategy is critical as migration won’t happen in a single day. Assuming the right skills in-house, the migration shouldn’t require a huge amount of budget. There are several tools that can streamline the process, but they aren’t very expensive. 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.
The most crucial part of website migration is getting the audience understand that the website is moved to a different domain. However, the 301 redirect will make sure that the outdated links aren’t a complete waste, but will lose impact from customers and once confuse them if they remain outdated 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 through several ways like by creating a ‘coming soon’ landing page on the new URL while continuing working in the background. Also, take care of the fact that the old URL shouldn’t be lost until and unless the migration is done and the website is up and running.
You need to track certain metrics to see how successful the migration is and for this purpose you have to set the tracking before executing the migration. You may need a few analytics tools to perform the procedure like Google Analytics to track your site’s performance. It will help you in tracking the performance and traffic benchmarks that you can use to judge the impact of the migration going forward.
Migrating the whole content of the website to a totally new domain seems to be daunting, but it is achievable with utmost care. Even though the website content remains the same, search engines like Google will treat it as an entirely new identity. Careful migration and significant considerations will keep your website in good graces. Having said the fact, with the right migration your website can get benefits of better web hosting services which can boost its speed, security, SEO etc. In order to ace your migration plan you need to have a solid plan that is executed with military precisions. And always remember - planning and testing before migrating!