migrate a web site

To stay current with online standards and style trends, web design professionals advise redesigning a site every two to three years. Often, you can do this with just a facelift or re-skin. However, you can face a site migration in some circumstances. Migrate a web site to ensure that it stays up-to-date with changes in search engine algorithms. Here are some helpful tips for migrating your website.

Site migration: what is it?

migrate a web site
Photo by Christopher Gower

A site migration is a word that SEO practitioners frequently use to refer to any situation in which a website experiences major changes to elements that have the potential to have an impact on search engine visibility. These alterations typically involve the site’s location, platforms, layout, content, design, or user experience (UX).

Why would you migrate a website?

Following are some scenarios where a site relocation is preferable over a straightforward redesign:

  • You must switch the server where that hosts your website.
  • You are updating the CMS platform that powers your website.
  • You are updating your URLs or domain name.
  • You need to significantly alter the architecture of your website (not just aesthetics).

Website migrations can be carried out by a professional or on your own.

Types of site migration

There are numerous types of site migration. Everything relies on the type of changes that occur. Google documentation covers most migrations involving site location changes, divided into the following categories:

  • Site changes as the URL
  • Site changes without altering the URL

Potential hazards of site migration

Even though each site migration is unique, there are a few similar threads. They connect the most frequent site migration calamities, with the following being the most significant:

1. A poor approach

Before the new site ever goes up, some site migrations may fail. A plan that is based on ambiguous and unattainable goals is considerably less likely to be successful.

2. Inadequate resources

Calculate the time and effort needed to execute a site migration project successfully before you commit to it. Make a decision about whether it is worthwhile to move forward with a migration that is likely to fall short of its set goals and result in revenue loss if your budget is tight.

3. Insufficient SEO/UX consultation

Consider every choice concerning making improvements to a website from both a UX and an SEO perspective. To improve UX, for instance, eliminating a lot of information or links could make it harder for the site to target keywords that are crucial to its business or cause problems with crawling and indexing.

4. Absence of testing

Prior to releasing the site, invest some time and energy in extensive testing along with a strong strategy and well-thought-out plan. If testing has found important problems, delaying the launch is much more beneficial than hastily putting a poor solution into use.

Website migration procedure

Six major, crucial phases make up the site migration procedure. They are all equally crucial, and by neglecting any of the following jobs, you may compromise the migration’s success to varying degrees.

Phase 1: Planning and Scope

Whatever the motivations for a site migration project, you must be very clear about the purpose from the start because they will assist you in establishing expectations and creating them. The goals of switching a website from HTTP to HTTPS and completely overhauling the site should be extremely distinct from one another.

Phase 2: getting ready for launch

These include any tasks that you must complete while building the new site. The new site’s SEO requirements ought to have been identified by this time. Long before the new site is made accessible in a staging area, you should start communicating with the designers and information architects and provide comments on wireframes and prototypes.

Phase 3: testing before launch

It is better to begin testing as soon as possible. Testing requires some things to be completely implemented, but not all things. For instance, problems with the customer lifecycle could be found as early as the creation of prototypes or wireframes.

Soon after the new website has gone online, poor testing and failure to allow the time necessary to completely test all building components that can affect SEO and UX efficiency can have severe effects.

Phase 4: Activities on launch day

It is likely that the live site will be briefly unavailable as the new site replaces the old one. The downtime should be maintained to a minimum, however, any URL requests should receive a 503 (service unavailable) server response from the web server at this time.

In the absence of a completely responsive site, technical spot checks must be performed on both the desktop and mobile versions of the website.

Phase 5: Review after launch

After the launch of the new site, additional thorough inspections should be performed.  The primary distinction during this stage is that you now have access to a lot more information and resources. Don’t undervalue the amount of work you’ll have to put in during this stage because any problems you run into now have an immediate impact on how well the site performs in the SERPs. On the other side, a problem will be resolved more quickly the earlier it is recognized.

Phase 6: Evaluating the success of the site migration

When the new website launches, everyone involved wants to know the answer to this crucial question. Since visibility over the initial few weeks or even months can be extremely fluctuating depending on the size and authority of your site, the longer you wait, the clearer the answer gets.

Conclusion

A website migration involves significant changes to its URL, structure, content, user experience (UX), design, or platform. It could involve anything from modifying the URL structure to improving your website’s design to switching to a different domain or content management system (CMS).

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