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When it comes to website migrations the best advice is making sure you don't need to do them.

Why?

Because they're tricky and because your rankings (= money) are at stake.

However, you're not always in the position to avoid migrating. In that case, it's important to understand the most important reasons that cause website migrations to fail:

  • A lack of awareness of the risks involved in website migrations
  • Poor planning
  • A shaky migration checklist (or no checklist at all)
  • A lack of knowledge by the parties involved

That makes sense, I guess most of us know that deep down inside but how do you put that in practice?

I wrote down everything I learned from doing 50+ migrations ourselves (when I was running a digital marketing agency) and from all of the migrations I see go down on a daily basis (in my role at ContentKing).

I then asked Barry Adams, Aleyda Solis, Dawn Anderson, Cyrus Shepard, Bartosz Góralewicz, Greg Gifford, David Iwanow and Patrick Stox to check it and add their own best practices.

This resulted in an 8-step process that covers each step in detail and highlights what to keep in mind and what to watch out for:

  • Step 1: Planning
  • Step 2: Pre-migration preparation
  • Step 3: Pre-migration testing
  • Step 4: Launch
  • Step 5: Post-migration review
  • Step 6: Post migration follow-up
  • Step 7: Post-migration monitoring
  • Step 8: Evaluating the success of your website migration

I hope you won't make the same mistakes I've made in the past. Honestly, most of the things going wrong with website migrations don't have to go wrong.

  • IG

    Igor Gorbenko

    22 days ago #

    Found a link to this in a slack channel. Thought I gotta save it but then remembered that slack was updated to paid version so it'll be there forever so why bother...

    Great guide btw

  • PM

    Pete McAllister

    22 days ago #

    You're super well connected with contributors for these articles Steven. Kudos!

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      22 days ago #

      It's super useful to have a few other sets of eyes go through the article to see if I covered everything. And at the end of the day, every SEO has his/her own way of doing things so everyone has different angles and different things they pay attention to :)

  • DG

    Dejan Gajsek

    22 days ago #

    This is a must when moving from different platforms!

    • DI

      David Iwanow

      22 days ago #

      or looking for gremlins as previous migrations might not have been handled correctly

      • SV

        Steven van Vessum

        21 days ago #

        +1

        That's indeed really useful. Especially the redirect part, e.g. looking for old domains that have links that may not have been redirected correctly.

  • DD

    Dale Davies

    21 days ago #

    Stunning bookmark-worthy guide.

    Really useful to have the recommendations and experience-based advice from so many industry-leading experts.

    I half expect to come back to this article again and again.

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      21 days ago #

      Thanks Dale, and I hope you'll come back every once in a while to the piece. I'll be updating it continuously with new information to make it even more complete :)

  • NA

    Neil Andrew

    22 days ago #

    Saved to read later! :)

    Had some massive issues with migrations in the past so really keen to read this.

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      21 days ago #

      Hi Neil, I hope this guide will help you with future migrations. If you have any questions or want to bounce some ideas off of me about your approach to the next one, give me a shout!

  • DI

    David Iwanow

    22 days ago #

    This type of guide is gold as far too many times I've had to salvage train wrecks where a website is migrated and the SEO team is not informed or no resources were provided to do the migration correctly. I've seen some of the largest websites lose 80% of their traffic due to not following some of the basic recommendations recommended in this guide. I've added a few points to the guide based on my experience and I hope you find it useful

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      22 days ago #

      Absolutely David! We've had great feedback on the article so far so that's encouraging us to keep on writing articles such as these. And as I mentioned in my response to Pete, it's very useful having others share the way they approach website migrations.

  • JP

    James Phoenix

    22 days ago #

    I really like how you took the time to highlight all of the potential elements that can cause a website migration to fail. This is a great guide, packed full of actionable content. Well done Steven! Really looking forward to your next piece of content.

  • EN

    E-Fei Ng

    21 days ago #

    sounds great, will use this when we migrate!

  • JM

    Joe Murfin

    21 days ago #

    Love seeing structure to a process from learnings like this, bit dry and not very sexy... but it works.

    Process.Process.Process.

    Thanks for sharing Ste,

    Hope you're well.

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      20 days ago #

      Thanks Joe, any thoughts on making it more sexy? I'm always open to suggestions, I aim to please so if anything comes to mind let me know :)

  • BM

    besana motha

    19 days ago #

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, I might need this for one of my blogs, i need to move it from one host to another. I don't want to loose traffic while moving it. Following this steps could help

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