10 Top Tips to Smooth Sailing: A Website Migration Checklist

by Figaro Digital

Redesigning your website can improve user experience, ensure your site is responsive and just generally improve its aesthetics and bring it in to the 21st century. However, when it comes to migrating your old site, there’s more to it than ensuring it looks snazzier than your competitors’ sites.

1. You Should Consider Your SEO From the Very Start

If your current site has been around for some time, then it is likely that it has built up some authority in your industry, gained rankings over time and even seen numerous organic links appear. Not considering any of this when migrating your website, could undo all of your hard work and leave you back at square one to start all over again.

2. Crawl Your Existing Site…

You’re getting rid of your old site, so why do you need to crawl it? Well, it’s essential to know what is changing, to what, and why. So, outline the current structure, URLs and meta data using a tool such as Screaming Frog.

3. …Then Audit It

Ok, so you now have a roadmap of your current site, but do you know which elements of this are working well and which aren’t? An audit will highlight any missing or duplicated meta data, canonical tags and broken links, as well as your site speed and performance and what pages are indexed in Google.

4. Don’t Forget To Noindex Your Test Site

Before the site migration, it’s likely that you’ll have a test site. This will allow you to tweak the design and get content just right before making the switch.

However, it is essential that you noindex this or you may find yourself in a tricky situation where you’re competing with yourself on SERPs and copy will appear duplicated once put live.

5. Crawl Your Test Site Too

So, you know how your current site works, but how does this compare to your test site? Time to do another crawl maybe.

6. Rank Check Before And After Content Migration

In order to compare data and whether the site migration was worth it, rank check your existing site and then your new one once live. Small keyword fluctuations are to be expected at first, but you may have a problem if you see a huge drop.

7. Review Content To See What Needs Migrating

If you have been blogging for a number of years, then you may have a handful of posts that contribute a large amount of traffic to your site. On the flip side, you’re also likely to have some articles which get very little traction at all.

Delve into your blog analytics and review current performance, and you may find it worth migrating some posts and scrapping others.

8. Don’t Forget To Add An Analytics Code

Before you launch your beautiful new site, make sure to place your analytics code in the <head> section of the site so you can check its performance.

9. Remember To Unblock The Site

Yes, noindexing your test site is recommended, but remembering to unblock it once live is essential if you want to appear in search results.

10. Test, Test And Test Again

Your new site may look visually pleasing, but does it work? We would always recommend testing it multiple times and monitoring performance over the first few months after a site migration.

Staying up-to-date will allow you to be responsive, notice issues and fix problems to optimise performance sooner rather than later. After all, could you afford to lose a considerable amount of traffic?

Need Help With Your Migration?

Whether you’re looking to migrate a WordPress site or something more custom, SEO can have a huge impact. Brush up on your digital marketing skills at our next SEO event or get in touch with our partner agencies, for their best advice on ensuring a smooth and problem free website migration process.