A website migration is something that most websites will eventually undergo. It can also be one of the more tedious and frustrating processes you’ll ever take on. But with the right approach and attitude, you can master it with ease.
The Purpose of a Website Migration
According to Marcel Digital, 75 percent of all websites are going to experience some type of website migration at one point or another. In some cases, these transitions are minor. Other times, they involve hundreds of moving parts working together.
A website migration is a broad term used to describe an event whereby a website experiences significant changes in site location, platform, content, structure, design, or SEO. It can take on any number of shapes and forms, including:
- Changing URLs so that they’re more readable and SEO-friendly.
- Redesigning a website for a new launch – often involving significant changes to content and other core elements.
- Merging content from multiple pages to create a simpler website that’s more heavily concentrated on key content assets and pages.
- Switching a website from HTTP to HTTPS in order to improve security.
- Switching to a new CMS to increase functionality.
- Switching or merging domain names and websites.
Website migrations can range from minor – like changing a few URLs – to a complete overhaul. But regardless of which end of the spectrum your migration falls on, it’s important that you take the process one step at a time.
5 Tips and Tactics for a Smooth Migration
Every migration will have its own nuances and unique elements, but here are a few tips and tactics that come highly recommended:
A good plan can help you establish clarity and purpose in your migration. It may also prevent long delays and unnecessary problems. But regardless, there will always be some level of friction.
“No matter how well thought out and detailed your plan is, it’s highly unlikely everything will go as expected,” SEO expert Modestos Siotos writes. “Be flexible with your plan and accept the fact that there will almost certainly be delays. Map out all dependencies and make all stakeholders aware of them.”
A website migration typically isn’t a cheap endeavor. And if you’re doing a full website migration from one domain to another, or merging different sites together, it’ll probably be quite expensive.
Prior to committing to a migration, ensure you have the necessary resources in place. Better yet, include a buffer of at least 20 percent in additional resources so that you can address unforeseen issues as they arise.
Time it Right
Be smart about when you perform the migration. You want to do it at a time when it’ll have the smallest impact on your business. This might be the weekend, but it could also be during the week. It just depends on the ebb and flow of your traffic and revenue. Study the data and make an objective decision based on the numbers.
Hire a Website Migration Service
Very few businesses have the want or know-how to manage a comprehensive migration internally. Thankfully, you can always hire a website migration service to handle the move for you. The key is to do your due diligence and be selective with the service you select.
There are absolutely no guarantees that your website rankings will return to the same level after a migration. However, you’re much more likely to retain high rankings if you choose a service that has extensive SEO experience and skill. (Ask for a list of references and past work.)
Keep an Eye Out for These Errors
If you aren’t careful, certain errors can complicate your website migration and prevent you from achieving successful outcomes. The most common types of errors are:
- Content errors, which involve things like broken redirects, bad SEO, duplicate content, and poor indexing.
- Website errors – like 404 redirects and design errors that impact user experience.
- Domain errors, which suppress site speed and/or lead to unforeseen crashes and downtime.
Are You Ready to Migrate?
Timing is everything with a website migration. It’s critical that you wait until you have the time and resources to master the migration process. And if you don’t have the internal capabilities to facilitate a widespread migration on your own, you can always outsource it to experienced professionals who will do it on your behalf. How will you proceed?
Interesting related article: “What is a Website?”