Site migration can be a difficult process on both a technical and marketing level, but it can sometimes be necessary to further grow your company and your brand. Site migration that isn’t handled in the right way can have devastating effects on a company’s online marketing and lasting effects on a company’s growth.
What is Site Migration?
Site migration occurs any time a website is moved from one URL to another or from one host to another. It’s important to understand that site migration could occur on either a user level or a server level. A URL can change from one URL or another without any physical change to the location of the website’s files. At the same time, the physical location of the website’s files could also change without a change to the URL. Before committing to a site migration, you should properly understand the type of migration you require.
Why would you need to Migrate your Site?
Site migration can become necessary for a few reasons. You may be changing your company’s branding or you could be merging with another company. Both could necessitate the adoption of different domain names and a change in the structure of your website.
If you’re not changing the URL of your website, you may simply be changing hosts. Changing hosts can become necessary if your prior host no longer suits your needs. When changing hosts, many will offer seamless transitions that occur during your website’s slowest hours and do not affect your users at all.
How does Site Migration Affect your Company?
If you are abandoning your old domain, you may find that much of your search engine optimization will be lost. This can be extraordinarily detrimental to your online marketing strategy. To minimize this loss, ensure that all of your URLs from your old website redirect appropriately and make sure that everything on your website is functioning as it should.
When keeping your domain and simply migrating your files, your task is much easier. You simply need to ensure that you transfer your files correctly. If you don’t test your new website thoroughly, you could find unexpected issues that could cost you customers. You might even lose some data permanently if you didn’t backup your data from your old host properly.
The DNS transition from your old server to your new server may take as much as 72 hours, so you shouldn’t take down your old site immediately. Instead, you should transfer your old site to your new server and then thoroughly test the site on the new server. Once you are certain that all of the data transferred correctly, you can start the process that will send users to your new site.
How can you make your Site Migration Easier?
External hosting services can make the entire process of site migration much easier. External hosting services often offer features that will automatically transfer your website from host to host. This takes the burden off of you and your IT department and ensures that everything will transfer correctly, no data will be lost and your users may never even realize that there was a change. An external hosting service will be able to mirror your website from server to server, eliminating the potential for costly mistakes.
If you’re transitioning to a cloud server, make life easier for you and your IT team by switching to the same or similar operating system. For instance, if your servers all run Windows right now, find a Windows cloud host that has baked-in support for your platform so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
Site migration is best done early on in a company’s online development. Once you begin to feel that you are outgrowing your current host or that you will eventually need more than your host can give, you should begin your migration. A preemptive migration will save you from larger costs down the line.