Website Migration

Website migration is a naturally-occurring process for most business. A small website that sees its traffic spike may need to migrate to a new server that is able to handle larger traffic volumes. Businesses may also decide to change names or rebrand, causing a business to migrate from one domain to another.

What is Website Migration?

Website migration may be a complete change from one domain to the next, or it can be structural changes to a site to make the site easier to navigate. Redesigns and recoding can also be performed and require some form of migration.

Replatforming may also occur, changing from one platform or CMS to another.

Migration, in the simplest terms, is an event where a site undergoes substantial changes. These changes may be:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Structure
  • Platform
  • Domain
  • UX

What are the Benefits of Website Migration?

Our website migration service has several benefits, and we discuss all of these benefits with our clients so that they have a complete understanding of the migration process. At DIGICA, we work with clients that want to migrate their website for:

  • Branding purposes
  • Content migration
  • Hosting transfers
  • Replatforming
  • Structural changes
  • Website redesign or recording

Migrations can help make a site:

  • Faster
  • More robust
  • Rank higher in search engines
  • Easier to update or add content
  • Handle traffic better

Our team’s process is well-planned to limit site down time, monitor a migration’s success and have minimal impact on your traffic, sales and SEO.

If a website migration is not executed properly, it can cause:

  • Organic traffic losses
  • Loss of user experience
  • Drop in sales or revenue
  • Loss of search engine rankings

Our Process

At DIGICA, we know that your site’s migration needs to be as fast and streamlined as possible. We start each process with a full site audit and benchmark so that we have a baseline to compare against when the migration process is complete.

Our team will complete a pre-migration process, which includes:

  • Database backup
  • Site backup
  • Audit and analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • URL mapping
  • Site crawling

We’ll perform additional tasks as necessary before we move into the migration process.

During the migration, we aim to migrate your site with as little downtime as possible. We'll also alert users to maintenance and perform the migration at a time when your site regularly has the least amount of traffic.

Once the migration process is complete, our team will perform additional checks, including:

  • Audit and analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Crawl error
  • Server logs

We’ll take the time required to compare your site’s SEO rankings, traffic and sales pre- and post-migration.

If any lingering issues are found during the post-check, we’ll correct them promptly to verify that your website migration is 100% complete.


Will My Website be Down During the Migration?

The goal of our website migration service is to minimize downtime and migrate your site without hurting your SEO in the process. But even with emerging technologies and a proven plan of action, a migration will usually result in some downtime.

Temporary impacts, such as the two above, are short-lived. You may have a drop in traffic during the migration process, but the traffic should return to normal once the migration is complete.

Downtime will vary depending on the type of website migration being performed.

Domain changes may have to wait on DNS propagation, which can take 12 to 48 hours, or you may get lucky and the propagation is faster. Subdomain or folder changes may be able to be performed without any downtime occurring.

A hosting provider change may also cause downtime. Every migration project and change of address can cause downtime. Following a site migration checklist is the best way to improve your success when migrating a website.

Will a Website Migration Impact my SEO?

Website migration SEO issues can occur. Rankings may fluctuate or drop, and the goal is to implement website migration best practices to have as little negative impact on SEO as possible.

Over time, with the right migration, rankings may even rise if site speed is faster or structure is cleaned up. Digital marketing efforts can be improved thanks to migration that provides a faster, more responsive site.

Careful planning needs to be taken based on the type of migration being performed. URL redirection can help make the transition smoother when redirecting an entire site or changing URL structure.

What are the Different Types of Website Migrations?

Website migrations can occur for a variety of reasons. You may have to change domain names, site structure may need to change, you may want to change from one CMS to another, or your site has grown to the point that you need a custom solution.

Every website hosting migration requires one of the following migration types:

  • Subdomain or folder changes
  • Domain change
  • Top-level domain change
  • Protocol changes
  • Site structure changes
  • Replatforming, or changing from one CMS or platform to another
  • Taxonomy changes
  • Content migration
  • Site redesigns
  • Mobile setups
  • Web hosting changes

If your transferring to a new site, WordPress, redesigning your website or switching CMS platforms, the migration needs to be performed with as little issues as possible. Analytics can help you detect some errors, but you’ll also have to look at the robots.txt file, check Google search to ensure that the site is being crawled and indexed and that users are able to access the new site.

What Should Be Done Prior to a Migration?

Website migration plans have been made, you’ve made the decision to transfer to a new host, or you’re going to be changing your top-level domain for branding purposes. In all migration cases, it’s important to have a pre-migration plan in place.

A site migration plan will include:

  • Audit and analysis of the site to know exactly what changes are being made
  • Database backup to allow for database retrieval if an issue occurs during the migration
  • Site backup, including all files, to allow for a quick return to the old site state as needed
  • Benchmarking to have a pre-migration data point for SEO, sales and traffic

A checklist should include the points above as well as:

  • Crawl the site to compare the site after migration
  • XML sitemap creation
  • Map new URLs before migration
  • Create custom error and temporarily offline pages
  • Examine robots.txt to ensure crawlers can assess the appropriate pages of the site
  • Inform users of website maintenance and potential downtime

Migration should be performed during low-traffic hours to minimize the impact on your site’s traffic and sales.

How Can I Tell If a Site Migration was a Success?

Once a migration is complete, and your site is up and running again, it’s time to make sure that the migration was a success. Tweaks may need to be made for a URL structure that was not redirected properly, or there may be:

  • Crawl errors
  • Server errors

A full audit of your site will be able to locate these errors so that they can be corrected. Crawl errors will alert you to issues with the site’s new structure, and server errors can provide a more in-depth look of what’s going on behind the scenes when someone visits your site.

But benchmark comparisons should also be performed.

Benchmark comparisons will include:

  • SEO rankings
  • Website traffic
  • Sales

Google search console and Google Analytics can help you better understand any issues that may go unnoticed after a site migration. Search console will alert you to common issues that may impact your ranking on Google, and it also makes it easier to find issues that may go unnoticed when following a basic website migration checklist.

Screaming Frog can also be used alongside Google search console and Google Analytics to crawl your website. Technical SEO and duplicate content issues can be detected using these tools. Screaming frog also offers a snippet emulator tool that allows you to edit meta descriptions and titles with greater ease. Redirect audits, a common issue with migrating, can also be monitored.

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