Key Considerations for a Successful Site Migration

Site migrations can be daunting tasks with high stakes and potential pitfalls. To ensure a successful outcome, here are five important considerations:\


1. Understand Different Types of Site Migrations


Site migrations come in various forms, such as migrating to a new template, changing web hosts, merging websites, adopting a new domain name, transitioning to a new site architecture, or switching content management systems (CMS) or WordPress site builders. Each type presents unique challenges and potential complications.


2. Prepare Thoroughly


Before initiating the migration, it is crucial to prepare adequately. Ensure the old version of the website is properly documented. Download the database and website files, saving backups in multiple locations. Conduct a crawl of the site and save the crawl data, exporting it as a CSV or XML sitemap. Double-check that files are downloaded in the correct format (ASCII or Binary) to prevent corruption. Always maintain multiple backups to mitigate risks.


3. Perform a Comprehensive Website Crawl


Conduct a complete crawl of the website and create backups of the crawl data, storing them separately. This crawl data will be valuable post-migration for identifying missing URLs (404 errors), incorrect redirects, or any issues with URL mapping. Tools like Screaming Frog offer list mode, allowing specific batches of URLs to be crawled, including those from XML sitemaps.


4. Considerations for Migrating to a New Template


Migrating a site to a new template may seem straightforward, but it often involves customization and code modifications. It is crucial to account for these changes and thoroughly test the new template to ensure compatibility and prevent any issues during migration.


5. Acknowledge Limitations and Seek External Input


Clients or internal SEO departments may impose limitations or express concerns about the migration plan. It is essential to listen to their perspectives and reasons. In some cases, seeking input from a trusted third party can provide additional insights and validate the migration strategy.


Site migrations can be complex and challenging, but with careful planning, thorough preparation, and consideration of potential limitations, these tasks can be executed successfully.