Migrating your website from one host to another can be a daunting task. And when your website gets bigger, it can become an even more complicated task. If your website is the way you make money, you must do it as quickly and seamlessly as possible to avoid losing money or customers.
When you are migrating your website, the whole purpose is to ensure that it is better than your old one. You might be upgrading to a new CMS or a new website host to better fit your growing website needs. To ensure that is the case, here are four tips to make your website migration easier.
1. Create A Backup
Before you migrate your website, make sure to create a backup of your old/current website. In case something does get lost in the move, it is nice to know that all your files have been backed up. Doing so doesn’t take long, and it can help to solve any problems that might happen along the way! Even if you have done many site migrations, it is always smart to have a backup ready.
Just because you are creating a new website, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about the old one. As you were building up your old site, you likely have built up tons of links in the past. Use a tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to help you discover which external links are directing to your site.
It’s essential to find this out because you will want to redirect the pages on your old site to the new pages on your new website. The last thing you want is your visitors to run into 404s or not even getting to your website at all because you didn’t take the time to redirect the links.
Create 301s, or permanent redirects, from your old site to the new one, so that anyone who clicks on the old link is directed to the correct location.
3. Discovering Your New CMS
When you start to move your website, you might be moving to a new CMS (content management system). If that is the case, then check out the new CMS beforehand to make sure you don’t make any mistakes from day 1. You’ll want your website development time to be reversed in the CMS so you can hit the ground running and understand what the best practices are, where to add your pages and products, how to add photos, and any steps you have to take to change or add prices. The CMS that you choose might have different procedures then you are used to, so make sure you are well-versed in the CMS before you try to migrate your website.
4. Test, Test and Test again
More than one member of your team should complete this test. A few things you should look for include:
- All links are accurate and go to the correct location. You don’t want any broken links, as it will lower your SEO ranking and frustrate your site visitors.
- All title tags and meta descriptions are updated. These types of meta elements on your new site might seem insignificant, but they will have a significant influence on SEO. If all this information wasn’t transferred over initially, it might mean you are losing SEO rankings.
- All contact forms have been updated. Ultimately, you want your website to drive more leads and revenue to your website. If your contact forms aren’t working correctly, then you might be missing out on revenue.
- Ensure that your pictures and content are accurately portrayed. Now is the time to reevaluate your content. Analyze your data to see which content has been the most popular. Look at the 20-50 pages that are most popular with your visitors, and the 20-50 pages that are least popular with your visitors. That can help you determine what has worked in the past, and where you can improve. You should also pay attention to the pages that had the highest bounce rate because that can show you where you had good content, but you might need to restructure the page.
Formatting issues can be the biggest problem that website migrations can have. Take the time to make sure that you have done your migration right to ensure a smooth transition on both the backend and for your visitors.