Website migration is the process through which a website substantially changes in its technology or setup. These usually include serious updates like changing the website’s design, location, structure, content, UX, or platform.
Migrating a website can become a necessity when it comes to fixing impediments, but there may be some speed bumps. These risks might range from a complete loss of parts of your website to pummeling down the list of search results. A website migration is a big undertaking, so you want to make sure that you have good reasons behind doing it.
Now, how do you prepare yourself for something this important without falling into common pitfalls?
Planning is key, and you need to take time to craft a blueprint before you begin. This includes:
- Allocating relevant resources to the project
- Composing a concrete migration checklist
- Educating the people involved in the project, especially making them aware of the threats involved
- Identifying concerns and defining the goals of a successful migration
- Choosing an appropriate time to launch the project
This is where you will do the heavy lifting, preparing everything that you will require along the way. You will have to do the following:
- Define your SEO requirements if the migration involves CMS change or redesign.
- In the case of a redesign, plan and implement the design.
- Perform an audit of your content to identify the top-performing pages.
- If you incorporate new content, fit it accurately into the architecture.
- Update your URL redirects accordingly.
- Prepare separate ad campaigns for rebranding, if necessary.
Also, maintain a recent backup that you can roll back to in case of any mistakes or problems.
After final arrangements are made, you will need to perform some tests to ensure that you are ready to launch, including confirming both access to the new environment and that redirects are working smoothly. At that point, you can start thinking about one of the most consequential aspects of pre-migration tests: SEO. To make your new website SEO-ready, you will need to perform a host of tests, including checking the sitemap, internal link structures, URL structures, domain redirects, body content, and meta tags.
During the entire process, there might be some hiccups, but that shouldn’t stop you from upgrading your website. You will need to triage each one to determine their urgency, whether they are too important to postpone the launch, or whether they can be fixed post-launch. However, be pragmatic and stick to your pre-determined migration goals, remembering that pushing back a website migration can be costly. Once you are totally satisfied and confident about launching, give your team the green light, and have a happy migration!