As your business grows, so do the needs of your website. This growth can look like rebranding, incorporating features like e-commerce or wanting to switch over to a more user-friendly platform or provider. If your current website cannot accommodate your desired features or the needs of your growing business, it is time for a migration.
Building and maintaining a web presence takes time and effort. The success of any site is based on a wide range of factors, each of which contribute to your organic traffic and visibility. When migrating your website it is important to make sure that none of your SEO efforts are being lost in the shuffle. When done correctly, the migration process should be seamless with no negative impact on SEO, functionally or user experience.
Website Migration: Understanding the Process
Before committing to a site migration it is important to understand everything that is involved in the process, including planning and implementation, as well as any risks involved in the process.
What is it? At its core website migration is an umbrella term for any significant changes to your website, often with the aim to improve your site’s performance. This can mean
migrating to a new host, changing the domain name of your site, or migrations to a new content management system. On smaller scale, a site migration can be a simple way to incorporate multiple changes all at once.
Why Do it? The most common reasons for a website migration are user experience, location, design, platform or overall structure. If you are making the switch from .ca to .com for international reach or moving from HTTP to HTTPS for additional security measures, this counts as a migration. In addition to the structure and framework of your site, a migration can accommodate content changes and tweaks to overall designs that may improve layout, navigation and user experience. Website migration should be thought of as a fresh start, with better security options, increased functionality and is a way to sort any technical problems that your site may already have and correct them.
Why Hire An Expert For a Site Migration?
Every website is unique and that means migration should be catered to fit your site goals and your brand. Simply following a step-by-step online guide can mean serious consequences for your web presence and user experience (UX). SEO efforts take months to build and show results but only a single day to wreck. Something as simple as moving your website to a new hosting service can impact SEO if done incorrectly. From planning to technical setup and testing, website migrations should always be left up to the experts.
A site migration is not as simple as pressing a button and having all of your content, functionalities, site files and databases transferred over to a new site. In fact, any attempt to cut corners can have a serious ripple effect for your site and your business. It can take years of SEO effort to put your website on the map but an improper migration can have a negative impact on your rankings and visibility, as well as your position on Google search console.
In order to avoid serious consequences, it is important to break any migration efforts into multiple steps, each of which cater to a different aspect of the migration process.
Planning: The planning stage is the most important stage of any project. It is at this stage that clients would sit down with a developer to discuss the goals and scope of your migration. There is a big difference between moving content from one area to another on an existing site and having to transfer your website to a new platform or host. This is also the ideal time to discuss risks associated with any site migration. For example, a relaunch can result in a temporary drop in search engine rankings or lose information from the site itself. Creating a migration plan and mapping out tasks makes it possible to finalize schedules, assign roles and ensure that there are no missed steps.
Preparation: Quake Media believes that careful preparation is key to a smooth execution and that is why the migration prep stage is the most meticulous and detail-oriented, This phase focuses on risk mitigation.
SEO Preparation: If you are dealing with a full migration or change to your CMS structure, it is important to identify how this will impact your SEO. This means considering complex components, such as:
- URL Structure
- Meta Information (Descriptions, Titles)
- Body Content & Corresponding Headings (H1 & H2)
- XML Sitemap
- Structured Data
- Load Times
Design Preparation: If the design of your site changes, so does its structure. A design should be done loosely with wireframe drafts and run by an SEO specialist to ensure it can accommodate all of the necessary elements to drive organic traffic and rankings.
Content Preparation: Every piece of content on your website contributes to overall function. It is important to know what content needs to be transferred and what is going to be left behind. It is always a good idea to back up files in the event that there is an issue in the transfer. For example, if you are storing customer files and information it is important to export your database as a fail safe.
Redirect Planning & Preparation: This stage of a migration focuses on URLs and domains that need to be redirected when the new site launches. Improper URLs or domain redirects will become errors and have a severe impact on your navigation and SEO efforts. Setting up 301 redirection properly means avoiding soft 404 errors.
Marketing Preparation: When redirecting URLs and domains it is important to consider all of the different places that these are used. Everything from social media accounts, PPC ads, newsletters and more will feature links to your website. This applies to internal linking as well. Ensuring that each of your redirects is done correctly is time consuming but extremely important.
This is just a small sample of what goes into a site migration — and that is just the planning and preparation stage! There are more than a dozen similar steps that go into a website migration so it is incredibly important to consult an expert before taking any action. Before a new site is launched, there should be extensive testing done, any new domains will have to be searched within the domain registrar, and developers will have to review the hosting dashboard and control panel to make sure that there are no hiccups in your site launch.
There is a long path from the initial planning stages to final steps but the developers at Quake Media can help to guide you through your migration with the best possible results and with the lowest impact.
Quake Media: Experts in Website Migrations For All Industries
A website isn’t just a place to showcase your products or services, it is a place to connect with customers, drive your traffic and encourage sales. When you find that your current platform or pre-made templates aren’t able to handle your growing business, it is time for a migration. Shifting from a basic site builder to a custom built WordPress website, for example, can be the difference between limited functionality and all the freedom to add and adjust functionalities to your unique specifications. Build your brand and grow your online presence through a relaunch, preserve SEO efforts and incorporate new and exciting design options with a bit of help from the Quake Media development team.
Quake Media developers have years of industry experience and have performed successful migrations on large-scale websites as well as smaller, minimalist designs. From brand relaunches, a shift in hosting providers or content migrations, there is nothing that our team of experts can’t handle. Call today to book a consultation with our development team and find out how a site migration can help you.