While migrating your website is an exciting transition, it can also be a little bit picky too.
With so many variables to consider it can be more than a little bit stressful when attempting to secure a smooth transition.
Whether it be a domain change or a complete platform conversion, I’ve compiled a list of top tips in order to guide you through the pedantic process that is website migration.
Scrutinise Your SEO
Keep Your Content
It’s easy to believe that with a new platform comes brand new shiny content that makes the old stuff seem irrelevant.
However, this historical packing is the perfect foundation for your migration and is still extremely valuable. Throwing it away will only add to your migration issues.
Remember to Redirect
Migrating your site can be heck of an exciting (although tense) time, and it’s just so easy to give in to the urge to wave goodbye to your old, outdated platform and ignore anything and everything about it.
One of the biggest mistakes to make is to change every single URL without redirecting the old ones. Why? Well this can lead to a massive drop in both traffic and rankings.
When moving a page from one URL to the other, search engines will take their time to discover and recognise the 301s, meaning the rankings and trust that took so long for you to build will be lost if you don’t look after your URL’s.
You can blame the black hat SEO bad boys for this, their sneaky shenanigans have slowed us good guys down *passive aggressive sigh*. While there are a few ways to speed up the process nowadays, it’s still important to keep this in mind when migrating.
Stop, Drop and Crawl
Back to the aforementioned mantra, don’t abandon your old site before your new one goes live!
Crawling your previous platform is a great way to get an overarching view of all that meta data and your URLs. It’ll make matching them to your new site significantly simpler and support a smoother transitional process.
Allow Time for an Audit
Auditing that ol’ site of yours will allow you enough time to spot any issues that may carry over to your new platform. It’s also worth taking note of what can be retained and migrated through to your fancy new forum.
Time to Test the Test Site
Say No to the Index
You’ve taken the time to curate some creative content, found the perfect place above the metaphorical mantel place, and suddenly it’s worthless.
What went wrong I hear you scream?
Google, that’s what.
If Google indexes the site before the official launch, then all of that beautiful content will be wasted and deemed a duplicate.
For the sake of your sanity, please noindex your test site!
Queue the Crawl
If you’ve followed our tips to the T, then your previous crawl went wonderfully and you discovered all your possible problems well before they actually became an issue (you’re welcome BTW).
Now it’s time for another.
Taking the time to crawl your test site will allow you to understand every single finicky facet, including what works wonders, what doesn’t quite cut the mustard and if you’re actually missing anything before your migration.
Well That’s Rank
I sincerely hope you enjoyed my pun.
A rank check is the last step of the long process and I applaud you for reaching the final hurdle.
Measuring how the site performs for a host of keywords is essential for your estimations. You can also primitively spot any movements and move quickly to rectify the rankings before the big launch.
I sincerely hope this compact checklist of steps has helped in you de-compartmentalise and has allowed you at least a partially migraine free migration.