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5 Common Blunders To Avoid When Migrating to a New Website

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A poor website migration can cause traffic to plummet and rankings to dive. Suddenly, your worst nightmare can come true when your biggest marketing asset can’t be found by anyone.

Whether you’re running from a Google penalty, upgrading the platform or moving to a new domain, a detailed plan executed to perfection is the only way to avoid revenue loss.

Is a web designer equipped to do it all?

Think of your website as a physical store that needs to be designed, built and managed by people with vastly different skills.

  • Store design = Web designer
  • Store build = Web developer
  • Store Manger = Digital Marketing Agency

 

These three areas of expertise must work in unity to create the perfect store because:

  • If the design can’t be built, you have wasted your money
  • If the build quality is poor, the store manager can’t get people in
  • If the store manager can’t get people in, the design has failed

How do you know you have the right people for the job?

We have outlined our top 5 simple mistakes made during site migration and explained what each means to give you the knowledge to determine if you have the right people for the job

 

1) 301 redirects from every old URL to the new relevant URL

Think of this like moving shop and re-directing your mail. Customers will probably be lost if they visit your old store but can’t find your new one. Before your new site goes live, ask your team for the re-direction list and check it for quality control. Find the full list of old URL’S and the new URL’S they will re-direct to. It should look something like this:

Old New
www.myoldwebsite.com/product_1_page www.mynewwebsite.com.au/product1_page
www.myoldwebsite.com/product_2_page www.mynewwebsite.com.au/product2_page
www.myoldwebsite.com/ServiceA_page www.mynewwebsite.com.au/allservicespage
www.myoldwebsite.com/ServiceB_page www.mynewwebsite.com.au/allservicespage
www.myoldwebsite.com/ServiceC_page www.mynewwebsite.com.au/allservicespage

It’s not enough to do one mass redirect to the homepage. Close enough is not good enough. Each old URL must go to the most relevant page on your new URL.

 

2) Maintain unique titles & meta descriptions for every page of the website

Service A isn’t the same as Service B, so how could anyone tell the difference when looking at search engine results? Your titles and Meta tags are a huge factor in whether someone chooses your site over a competitor’s so make them descriptive and make them stand out. rental In the example above, one result is ‘car prices’ and the other refers to a movie. If both titles were “Cars | Brand”, how would you know the difference? If you were researching car prices, you would click on the second result because it’s more relevant. Similarly, if you were specifically looking to buy a car you probably wouldn’t click on either result. Mention this to your team, if there is advice this cant/won’t be done… you have a big red flag.

 

3) URL’s should describe what subject the page is about

The structure of the URL needs to follow a logical path such as /category/sub-category/product. The categories should be descriptive and easy to remember. URLs with lots of symbols or numbers would be confusing. If your developer is telling you that your system or CMS is not compatible with the naming regime above, the digital marketing and developer teams need to resolve this BEFORE the site goes live.

 

4) Create & upload new sitemap

This can be time consuming depending on the size of your website. However, this map helps Google find all the pages on your website and rate it. Check with your team who will be completing this.

 

5) Ensure the analytics code from the old website is installed in every page of the new design

Ever lost your sales history? Not having an analytics code on every page of the site is like receiving half a sales report. It also affects key decisions made by your digital marketing team because they will use an incomplete sales report to make future decisions.

As a business owner, knowing how to successfully migrate a website is not necessary. But getting the key members of your website design, development and digital marketing teams to co-ordinate the move is vital.