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Website Migration Checklist

This checklist help you:

  • Changing site architecture and design
  • Moving to a new framework or CMS
  • Moving to a new Ecommerce platform
  • Adding a Mobile version
  • Moving to a new server
  • Changing the domain name

Before you start the migration

  • Benchmark your current site – page-load time, bounce rate, avg. time spend, avg. page views, unique visits, conversion rate, position tracking of high traffic keywords, position tracking of high traffic landing pages and keywords from organic results, avg. keywords position, Click through Rates
  • For Ecommerce websites, record page-load time for Home page, Cart page and Shopping cart page.
  • Make a URL inventory of all existing URLs
  • Make a list of new pages add to the site after migration
  • Make a list of existing pages remove from the site after migration
  • Make a directory structure of present site architecture
  • Make a list of all heading tags commonly used site wide
  • Make a list of all Meta robots attributes commonly used site wide
  • Make a list of site tracking codes
  • Run the Schema test and create a list of Structured Data available on the site

Website migration checkpoints

Directory structure

Directory structure should remain same. If you remove or rename any directory, redirect using 301 to a new directory name or parent directory.

Main navigation

Main navigation is typically your Top menu. This is the primary source of your site navigation. Any change in main navigation leads to affect your site internal link juice and accessibility. And the results are drop in organic rankings and conversion rates. If you have good rankings, organic traffic and conversion rates, recommend adding more links but not eliminate any links.

Secondary navigation

Secondary navigation is your pages in the group or filters. For Ecommerce websites, secondary navigation is sub-categories and filters. If you have good conversion rates, recommend remain the same your secondary navigation. Yes, you can add more filters and links but not eliminate the links.

URL structure

Make sure URLs remain same. If you migrate to another platform and new platform doesn’t support your existing URL structure, you should map the existing URLs with new URLs and then redirect using 301.

Page Title

If your pages have SEO-optimized Title, make sure they remain same.

Meta data

If your pages have SEO-optimized Meta description, make sure they remain same.

Hreflang tag

Typically used for for multi-lingual or international sites. Make sure all Hreflang tags available in appropriate style and format.

Headings

If your site has good rankings and SEO-optimized heading tags, make sure all heading tags remain same.

Meta robots attributes

Meta robots attributes are defined at the page level for index, noindex, follow or nofollow. Make sure all they are set to new site pages.

Internal linking

Internal linking are from within the site page content. It strengthen the internal link juice and rankings. If your present site has internal linking, make sure all they are to the new site pages.

Image URLs (path)

Images are generally store in Media folders. and every framework has its own path of these Media folders. For Ecommerce websites, Image URLs and path name are critical. Like pages, Images also index in search engines and drives traffic to the site. If new framework doesn’t support the existing Media path, redirect the Media folder to new Media using 301. Create XML sitemap for Images and submit in Google Search Console.

Image ALT tags

For Ecommerce websites, typically product names are given as ALT tags to the products’ images. If existing setup has SEO-optimized ALT tags to the images, make sure carry to the new setup.

Canonical

Canonical tags prevent your site from duplicate content issues. Like Ecommerce website, filtered URLs and paginations should have canonical tags. If present site has canonical tag, make sure new site have canonical tags.

Robots.txt

Every CMS or Ecommerce platform has its own framework. Therefore Robots.txt is different for each framework. Make sure you should have Robots.txt in place to block non-SEO pages and sections from search engine crawling & indexing.

Google Analytics code

Make sure Google Analytics code is in place. Every Ecommerce stores have own checkout and goal conversion page. Make sure you goals and funnel is set in GA.

Other tracking codes

If other 3rd party tracking codes installed on your present site, make sure all those codes installed in new site.

Page-load time

Test your page-load time and match with older site. If it takes more time loading a page, reduce the page-load time.

Custom parameters (Google Search Console)

Ecommerce websites generates dynamic URLs because they have used filters, paginations and search functions. All those dynamic URLs are not SEO-friendly and should stop from search engine indexing. Using Robots.txt or Custom parameter handling in Google Search Console, you can easily control those pages.

Custom 404 Page

Make sure Custom 404 Page is set on your site and properly redirect when a page is not available or found a broken link.

Schema markup

Some platforms have designed their code in Structured Data which means you don’t need to write a special code for Structured Data. When you add the content, it automatically set in Structured Data format. If the content on the present site is in Structured Data, make sure all Structured Data should be carry to the new site.

Site Search tracking (Google Analytics)

Typically Site search track by query filtered URLs in Google Analytics. Every framework or Ecommerce platform has its own setup for site search. Set your site search tracking in Google Analytics.

Post migration checklist

Benchmark report

In post migration checklist, you generally match the data with the benchmark reports.

Broken links

If you find any broken links fix them immediately.

Crawling errors

Common crawling errors are – search engine bots can’t access your certain section of site, pages can’t crawl, redirection pages etc. If you find any crawling errors fix them immediately.

HTML errors

HTML errors are Title and Meta errors. If you find errors like missing Title or Meta, duplicate Title or Meta, fix them immediately.

XML sitemap

Check if sitemap is updated to Google Search Console and error free.

Google Search Console

 Make sure your website is verified within Google Search Console.

Google Analytics

Make sure traffic data start reflecting in Google Analytics.

Goals & funnels

Test your inquiry forms and other lead generation forms to validate if goals and funnel set. For Ecommerce stores, place test orders and check revenue reflects in Google Analytics data.

Site Search tracking (Google Analytics)

Make sure site search queries data reflects in Google Analytics reports.

Duplicate content

Check website for duplicate content and if found resolve using appropriate techniques like add canonical tags.

Redirection

If you have any directory or pages renamed, (for Ecommerce category and product pages) check those redirected using 301.

Structured data errors

Test Structured Data and resolve if any error found.

Tools for tests

Page-load time

https://gtmetrix.com

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Schema

https://search.google.com/test/rich-results

Mobile-friendly

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Crawling

Google Search Console

Monitoring after migration

  • Check if your site has issues
  • Check the performance of your new site
  • Track indexing of your pages
  • Track positions of high traffic keywords
  • Track positions of high traffic landing pages

UX / Design

When you redesign a website and site has good conversion rates, here is the list of UX checkpoints you should think over before redesigning a site.

For Lead generation site

  • Menu structure
  • Call-to-action
  • Heading
  • Main copy
  • Images / graphics
  • Inquiry form
  • Trust markers and social-proof

For Ecommerce site

  • Menu structure
  • Products listing page
  • Product detail page
  • Trust markers and social-proof
  • Right or Left column
  • One-page checkout or Multi-page checkout

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