Top Steps in a Site Migration

Site migration

As an overview, the top steps of a site migration are:

  1. On-boarding,
  2. Pre-migration,
  3. Staging environment,
  4. Post-migration,
  5. Learning and analytics.

But How Do These Work in a Site Migration?

Let’s look at these a little deeper.

1. On-boarding

This is where you need to understand the purpose of the migration and make sure that everyone is aware of who the key stakeholders are in the process.

It also important to manage expectations here and set out how the process will work and what everyone can expect to happen and when. Without this, it can cause confusion or hold-ups further down the process.

2. Pre-migration

Before you start the site migration itself, it important to conduct a benchmarking and analytics review. This is because you can’t check what your old site speed was like after you’ve migrated the site, so make sure to get all of this data while you still can.

Put your roadmap together ready for when the process begins.

The most important aspect of all of this is URL mapping. This is where you map out what your old URLs and your URLs are. Once you have this list you can then match them up and plan out what 301 redirects are needed. Keep your list of 301s on one side for now – we’ll need this again later on.

You can identify any SEO opportunities here that you and the client may need to be aware of and take action on. This could be things to update, or new resources to create etc.

3. Staging environment

While you site is in staging, you can conduct a full website review and double and even triple-check your URL mapping. This is especially important as even though you have already done this, it is common for things to change as the site is built and decisions are made etc. You may find that you need to run several crawls throughout this whole process.

Identifying your SEO opportunities is one thing, but now you need to prioritise them and make sure everyone is clear on what is needed and when it needs to happen. Set deadlines and ensure that everyone agrees to and sticks to them.

4. Post-migration

Once the site migration has taken place, the first step is to make sure that all of the pages from the staging site have moved over.

What’s more, are all the necessary 301 redirections in place?

Is all of your content in place and displaying correctly too?

Don’t delete any of your old crawls. You may need them, especially in the event that there are any problems and the website has to be reverted.

Now you can check your new website against the benchmarks you recorded earlier. Start by fixing any page speed problems you encounter, this will help you make the biggest gains, and then move on to any other fixes after that.

5. Learning and Analytics

Continue to monitor the performance of your website and relay information to each of the different stakeholders in the process. 

Look at your competition and see if you can also learn anything from results pages.