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About Website Migration
A website migration is an alteration to your website that is so significant that it affects the site’s structure, performance, or traffic. The most common way of website migration is to move from one domain to another. But transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS and moving your URL structure are also types of migration.
In SEO terminology, a transition is called a migration, any time there is a fundamental change to the URL structure of a site. Changes to a website’s location, platform, design, content, architecture, or UX typically constitute a site migration.
Need of a website migration
- Change of accommodation
There can be many reasons for website migration that require a change of hosting. You may have outgrown your host’s current capabilities and need a host to offer more. Host change for site migration can also be done to achieve higher profitability. It is one of the simplest forms of website migration, as you migrate your database and files to a new server.
- Platform update
The platform your website operates on determines the features, user experience, and more you can offer your users. These platforms release regular updates to provide better website features and functions, which also require site migration. These updates can range from minor bug fixes and small feature updates to major version updates with brand-new features, UX, and more.
- CMS change
One of the main reasons website migration could be triggered for businesses is a change in their CMS platform. There are many CMS platforms out there; for companies, some may offer better e-commerce capabilities and functionality.In addition, to grow and gain these new features, many e-commerce websites undertake site migrations as they find better CMSs for their use cases.
- Website redesign
Website redesign is independent of other reasons for website migration. Since you still have your files and database, it might not even be a complete site migration. However, website redesigns often come with their own set of consequences for better website functionality. These involve getting new hosts, switching to new platforms, and even getting a new domain. This requires the website to set up competent 301 redirects to redirect users to the new URLs.
- Domain change
Many businesses are looking to rebrand or update their URL for various reasons. This requires them to change their domain name; you need website migration to achieve this. Changing the domain is quite similar to changing the architecture of your website and incurs many of the exact needs.
Types of website migrations
- Protocol change
Migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS is an example of a protocol change.
2.Subdomain or subfolder change
When a company chooses to move from a ccTLD to subdomains or subfolders. E.g. www.example.com.au to www.au.example.com or www.example.com/au
3. Domain name change
This usually happens when a company changes brands and has to switch from one domain to another. E.g. www.example.com to www.example.com
4. Top-level domain change
This happens when a company launches or limits the business abroad to a particular country: E.g., www.example.com to www.example.com.au or vice versa.
This can be anything from minor design changes to a complete website overhaul with primary code and copy changes.
Things to keep in mind while looking to migrate your website from one domain to another:
- Calculate the risks and prepare for the consequences.
- Create backups and download them.
- Pay attention to the structure of the URL.
- Consider the possibility of redirecting the URL as an essential factor for SEO.
- Use the redirection tool in the search console to communicate the site migration at the domain level.
- Keep the same directory and folder structure.
- Remove broken links and 404 pages.
- Set up a new guide for robots.txt.
- Prioritize websites with higher authority.
- Plan your rebranding strategies.
6. Platform change
This type of site migration involves moving to a new platform or CMS. For example, if your website previously used WordPress as its CMS and you switch to Magento, that would require a website migration. This type of website migration can also involve website redesign and URL changes.
7. Changes in mobile settings
Many technical procedures for the mobile configuration of a site may also involve the partial or total migration of the website. These procedures include creating an AMP site, enabling app indexing, coding a PWA website, and more when an existing mobile website is replaced by an app, PWA, or AMP, which also requires site migration.
8. Content migration
This type of site migration involves a significant update to a website’s content. This can include primary content rewrites, content removal, and consolidation. These activities significantly impact a website’s SEO and search visibility and can affect your website’s taxonomy, internal linking, and more.
9. Structural changes
Basically, this type of site migration is due to significant changes to the taxonomy, navigation, and therefore changes or updates to the website’s architecture. This can affect your website’s internal linking, overall navigation, and user journeys.
10. Hybrid migrations
As the name suggests, this site migration combines several different types and reasons for upgrading a website. For example, the types mentioned above can be combined in any way, and it would be a hybrid migration. This type of migration often increases the process’s complexity and the risks in the results.
Advantages of migrating a website
- Website migration can be a great new start. It can allow you to rebrand or grow your business when done correctly. As we have seen, site migration will enable you to improve your website. Eventually, by migrating to a new platform, you might get better functionality or advanced features.Eventually, migration is also an opportunity to improve your UX. As your business evolves, it is also advantageous for your website to develop.
- If you are migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, you will add a layer of security to your data. Improving safety is also always a good thing. Site migration is also an opportunity to update your copy and track down any technical issues your site may have.
Risks of migrating a website
- If done incorrectly, a website migration could be disastrous. One of the most significant complications could be a drop in your visibility. And your revenue can drop significantly when users can’t find you in an organic search. You may or may not be capable of recovering from such a loss.
- Your site’s authority could drop if your old web pages are incorrectly redirected. This could happen because the newly migrated pages do not have old backlinks. If you had external sites linking to your old web pages, those pages need to be redirected to the new ones, or the backlinks won’t appear.
- You might also have issues with analytics tracking, mobile responsiveness, or page speed. To avoid the problems like these, thoroughly prepare for your website migration and work with a web developer as needed.
Hence, Website migration is an important aspect and should be handled carefully. It is always good to list the key areas to focus on during migration, like content, Meta tags, etc., and also take necessary precautions while migrating them to a new setup. If mishandled, it can often lead to significant damage to rankings and vice versa.