So you’ve decided to update your website—either through a full re-design or by simply moving it over to a more user-friendly (and hopefully search engine-friendly) platform. But do you have a plan in place to ensure that your move to a new website is a successful one?
There are a number of important things to consider when migrating your site—especially if you have already invested time or money into improving your website’s positioning on the web. Failing to take necessary precautions could result in a significant loss in rankings, traffic, and leads—essentially making your previous investment in search engine optimization obsolete. Below, we review several important dos and don’ts for a successful website migration.
What to Do When Migrating Your Website
Create a Backup of the Current/Old Site
Files can be lost in transition and a backup will help speed things up if anything goes wrong. Creating a backup file is simple, and for most websites does not take long.
301 Redirect Old URLs to New URLs
301 redirects will pass along page value to the new URL location (if applicable). This will also prevent broken links in the content that has been migrated. For more information regarding the importance of 301 redirects, read our blog post, “How to Change Domains and Keep Your Rankings.”
Migrate Meta Elements
Meta elements on the site like title tag and meta description are simple, but still have huge SEO value. Failing to transfer these with the site content can result in a loss of rankings and traffic.
Remove No-Index, No-Follow Tags
Generally, when you are building a new website, you will host the new site on a server. Ideally, you’ll have the website pages set to no-index, no-follow so that unfinished content or layout will not be crawled and indexed by search engines.
If you have done this, it is vital that you remove these tags after your new site is live. This is a very common thing that is often forgotten since it is hidden in the code and is often only discovered after traffic drops are seen in Analytics.
Test All Contact Forms, Thank You Pages, and Conversion Codes
The ultimate goal of the website is to drive traffic and leads, but if your contact forms are not working properly, then those leads will never reach you. Conversion codes and thank you pages should be tested to ensure that tracking works properly so reporting data is accurate.
Test Phone Numbers
If you use technology on your website that rewrites phone numbers based on traffic sources for tracking purposes, be sure to test the phone call tracking codes to ensure that everything functions properly. The key to any successful website is accurate data.
What Not to Do When Migrating Your Website
Do Not Put the New Site Live Until It Has Been Reviewed
Before setting any new site live, every page on the site should be reviewed by several members of your team to ensure accuracy. This includes:
Checking all links
Verifying title tags and meta descriptions
Testing contact forms
Ensuring that all content and pictures are present on the new page
Confirming URL structure and 301 redirects are set up correctly
Formatting issues are common with new site designs, so it is important that you go through every page type on your site to review for formatting mistakes.
Do Not Remove Tracking Codes
Tracking is the key to any successful website marketing campaign. If tracking codes are removed, then you could be losing out on valuable data. If you, or someone in your company, actively monitors your website’s performance, then you may notice this in a short period of time, but for many businesses, this can go unnoticed for weeks or even months.
A comprehensive and well-developed online marketing campaign will use multiple forms of tracking—most notably, customized Google Analytics profiles and phone call tracking. Even if your web migration company incorporates the Google Analytics tracking codes into the new site, phone call tracking codes may be overlooked because they are not as standard as Google Analytics tracking codes. With most businesses receiving 3-9 times as many phone call inquiries as they get from online inquiry submissions, it is vital that your phone call tracking codes are not removed (if you don’t have phone call tracking, we can help).
Need Help Rebuilding or Optimizing Your Website?
Thinking about migrating your website to a new platform or having a new website developed? We can help! Unlike many web design companies who focus only on the functionality and aesthetic of a website, Blue Corona is a comprehensive online marketing solutions provider—meaning we look at all aspects of your website to ensure that your website is working hard for you. All of the websites we build are created with analytics, SEO, and conversion rate optimization in mind.
Whether you are looking to migrate your current website to a more user-friendly or SEO friendly platform or you are looking for a complete website redesign, contact the web experts at Blue Corona today!
About The Author: Ryan Workman is a content marketing specialist and SEO analyst. When he's not working in Blue Corona's SEO lab, he enjoys hiking and biking.
View more blogs by Ryan Workman
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