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Complete Website Migration Guide for 2021

What is website migration?

Website migration is the process of making significant changes to your website including transferring the site to a new domain, updating the website’s structure and design, or adding new content to the site. These changes largely affect the website in such as way that it influences the site’s visibility in search results.

Why do you need it?

You need to migrate your website if you want the following:

  • Update the site structure, navigation, or design
  • Implement a new content management system (CMS)
  • Transition your website from HTTP to HTTPS
  • Transfer to a new server
  • Move to a different domain name

How to migrate your website in 6 steps

Get started with your website migration plan with this guide and take a step ahead in your business growth:

Step 1. Develop your website migration plan

Having a plan in place will help you breakdown the whole process into small achievable tasks. This can be as simple as the following:

  • Defining the scope and timeline
  • Deciding the teams involved and their roles in leading and support the migration
  • Creating a budget and list of resources 
  • Installing the necessary website migration plugins
  • Creating a budget and list of resources 
  • Finally, creating a website migration checklist to run by in the end

Step 2. Work with the design and development team on your site updates

The dependency and interaction on the design and development team on your site updates include reviewing wireframes, providing feedback, improving the overall speed of your website, etc.

Step 3. Prepare your technical SEO for the migration

After designing your website prepare the technical SEO specifications for your site whihc amy include:

  • URL structure
  • Redirects
  • HTML sitemap
  • XML sitemap
  • Internal linking

Completing the following points will help you achieve you technical SEO goals:

  • Crawl your existing website
  • Set benchmarks for the website’s rankings, speed, and other performance indicators
  • Export your website’s Google Search Console data for future reference
  • Document the planned redirects if transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS

Step 4. Launch and test your new site

Follow the below checklist to test the new site before its launching:

  • Review the architecture of your site
  • Recheck the site’s usability
  • Test the page on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets
  • Evaluate the internal linking, like its navigation, header, and footer links
  • Examine the site’s title tags, meta descriptions, copy
  • Test the site functions such as loading speed
  • Review txt file, XML sitemap, HTML sitemap, and structured data

Step 5. Migrate your website

Website migration takes weeks or months to complete. The speed is a key factor while undergoing website migration. The downtime affects your visibility and your interaction with your customer feedback.

To help your migration run smoothly, ensure the following:

  • Verifyyour robots.txt file does not block search engines
  • Ensure the redirects to all the valuable pages are working error-free
  • Upload your XML sitemap to your Google Search Console account

Step 6. Follow-up

The website migration is only complete after the following up after a specific time to observe your rankings and traffic. Even after the initial phase, the long-term drops can mean a problem with your site migration.

You may use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic and Google Search Console to track your rankings.

Final words

Run through these steps above and ensure that your website migration happens smoothly.

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