Discover a seamless migration to WordPress for a more efficient website management experience. Our expert guide ensures a smooth transition, empowering you to harness the full potential of WordPress for your online presence.
Making changes and alterations to your website may seem like a very hard process.
Every move needs to be well-planned to preserve your website management. That is from adding HTTPS protocols to modifying your domain name after a rebranding process.
After all, if your web pages go down, your organic traffic could decrease, you may lose search result rankings, and your business could lose revenue.
The stakes are high in migrations, but so are the rewards.
Benefits of a successful migration to WordPress include:
- Long-term gains in acquisition and conversion when providing an improved user experience and an SEO-friendly website.
- Potential boosts in brand awareness if you’re attaching your brand’s name to the majority of URLs within your domain.
- Stronger international online presence with the correct setup of hreflang tags and multilingual versions of the site content.
- Planning Phase: Paving The Way For A Seamless Transition
Every migration to wordpress project can be complex. However, building a detailed strategy is key to avoiding complications.
Consider some of these factors during the planning phase.
Changing CMS Platforms? Align the CMS to Your Brand Assets.
When considering your future CMS, it’s essential that the platform is consistent and flexible with your brand’s unique assets.
Make sure your future CMS makes it:
- Easy To Implement New Content: Some CMS software has rigid structures that limit the addition of features that can expand your brand’s content creation process. Try tools that offer multiple themes and layout templates that aren’t time-consuming to implement.
- Easy To Structure: The chosen platform should also offer intuitive resources or building blocks for structuring the content of a page. This will let search engines and users to read it easily.
- Easy To Learn: Your team needs to be familiar with the new CMS platform you are implementing to avoid errors and a drop in productivity.
Changing URL/Domain Structure? Know The Differences Between Subdomains and subdirectories.
Your website’s management architecture has a strong influence on the crawling process of search engines.
Accurately selecting a subdomain vs. subdirectory structure allows search engines to understand the correlations between pages and how important they are within the domain.
By providing a solid URL/domain architecture, you ensure that Google’s crawlers will have no trouble finding the pages you want to be indexed and ranked on SERPs.
The search engine will also understand the logical hierarchy of your site’s sections, which helps Google determine which page is the best fit for each query.
To determine the best structure for your new website, it’s crucial to know the best use cases of subdomains and subdirectories.
A subdirectory is a folder inside a root domain, and it’s used to manage categories and individual pages of the main website, like a blog or an e-commerce store.
It can also work to store international versions of a website, such as “/es” for Spanish.
When To Use Subdirectories
This structure is quite efficient to showcase parts of your business you want everyone to know about.
Other use cases:
- You want to strengthen the main brand’s online authority by putting all your pages under its name on the URL.
- You have a simple site structure with a small number of sections and want to provide a straightforward navigation path for users.
- Your IT department or web admin team isn’t large enough to manage and monitor the performance of multiple website management on multiple subdomains. Subdirectories are easier to manage because they are stored inside a single root domain’s file structure.
When To Use Subdomains
Subdomains work well for specific web environments that live on different platforms than your main website management plan.
Some more use cases:
- You have various product lines or service streams that have totally different purposes, and each one has its own positioning. E.g.: maps.google.com or analytics.google.com.
- You want to expand your site internationally in totally different languages — a subdomain will have its own set of keywords to rank for on the new market, but you’ll maintain brand consistency in the URL.
- Your online business operation requires a more robust structure, with clearer separation between sections and unique performance analytics for each part of the website management.
- Execution Phase: Set Up Your Redirects, Test Your Plan In and out, Go Live
Now, it’s time to take the strategy you created and see how it flies.
You can do this safely by creating a sandbox environment.
A sandbox environment will give developers the green light to test every aspect of the migration to WordPress without compromising your current online operation.
Set Up Your Redirects
One of the most important factors to check during migration to WordPress is the list of links to be redirected.
Implementing 301 redirects is the x-factor of successful migrations. Redirects determine the right destination for the old site’s URLs on the new site.
Response codes, like 301 redirect codes, appear when a user (or web crawler) lands on a page and is automatically sent to another page.
Traditionally, you would need to manually create redirects. Now, however, you can automate that action by using a specialized plugin like Redirection on WordPress or a similar solution on another CMS.
First, you’ll need to create a list of all the URLs from the old website that will need to be redirected to the right page on the new site. Web spider tools like DeepCrawl can gather these URLs automatically.
Then, you’ll need to evaluate how to prioritize the way URLs should be handled:
- Deleted Content: Decide which pages won’t be on the new website, such as discontinued products or irrelevant blog posts. These URLs could be directed to a parent category page or to more relevant URLs with similar topics.
- The same Content With New URLs is bad. You should map out content pages that should be preserved. This is as they are, and find a proper URL for them under your new structure.
- High-ROI Pages: Notate the pages that drive more direct ROI for your business. It is like pricing landing pages. Also, be sure to redirect the old URL to the new one so you don’t risk losing revenue.
- Existing Redirects: Prior to testing, you’ll need to identify existing redirects on the legacy website. The reason is to avoid redirect chains that delay search engine crawlers and users from accessing new URLs.
Finally, implement your redirects and test.
Best Practices For a seamless transition
Choosing the right moment to launch the new website is an important part of the process.
Pick a date far from the key sales seasons of your business. You do this to reduce the risk of losing major revenue. The reason is that a decrease in traffic and keyword rankings is typical after a site move.
Another good practice is to control the creation of new pages close to the day of the seamless transition.
Determine a specific date to wrap up the list of URLs to be redirected. This is to make sure no pages are published after that deadline. This precaution will spare you the risk of generating more than 404 errors on the new website. This is due to URLs that weren’t redirected.
- Post-Launch Phase: Don’t Panic, Act Quickly, Correct Errors
Once your newly migrated site launches, be sure to regularly monitor new pages. This is in order to quickly catch anything that may compromise the user experience and search engine crawl.
A thorough testing process will have mitigated most of the problems that need to be solved post-launch. However, some inconsistencies may not have been noticeable until your new site’s launch.
Common Crawling Obstacles
These unnoticed crawling factors can prevent search engines from finding your URLs:
- Outdated robots.txt file: Map relevant URLs and sections that are accidentally blocked for web crawlers, then remove them.
- Accidental “nofollow” & “no index” tags are a problem, If these are implemented by mistake on pages that you want to be highly ranked in SERPs, delete them.
- Missed redirect chains: Reduce the number of 301 redirects as much as you can while checking your new URL’s status. Accumulating these error codes can keep crawlers and users from accessing your content.
- Analysis Phase: Determine If The Migration to WordPress Was Successful
Finally, the most difficult part of the process is done. You’re eager to see the results.
To get an accurate perspective, a comparative analysis of relevant performance metrics is necessary.
This process can take one to three months, depending on the URL profile of the new website and the size of the migration.
Focus on these main points:
- Organic traffic: Drops aren’t unusual right after migrations, but a drastic decrease can indicate large-scale problems in indexability and crawling.
- Site speed and usability: Monitor speed and usability for both desktop and mobile devices. Google Search Console can help with monitoring Core Web Vitals, and Google Analytics can help you uncover average page load times.
- Conversion rates: Significant changes in these numbers might indicate if the user journey is smoother or more complicated than before.
- Keyword rankings: Check if relevant pages that were well-positioned before lost their places on SERPs and reinforce internal linking to attract crawlers to the URLs with more ranking potential.
- Backlink profile: Map all pages that receive valuable backlinks and check if their redirects are working correctly. 404 errors in these links will not only your domain’s rankings but also the domains that send them.