When businesses develop a new website to replace a tired old one, in the excitement of getting a sexy new website design and on-line look, its very easy to overlook how the transition from the old site to the new site will take place.
And, from experience you cannot rely on your IT team to know what to do, nor can you trust your design or development agencies if they do not have in-house SEO capabilities.
What is website migration?
A revised new website is known in the trade as a website migration. Website migration defines any event where a website undergoes significant changes that can significantly affect on-line visibility. This typically happens when a business invests in a new site, or decides to up the level of security to https protocols.
What needs to be done is obvious when explained properly, but even the biggest brands in the country get it very wrong.
For example, a major household name switched from http to https. The new website lost 35% of its on-line visibility in less than a month. It took fully six months to recover the lost traffic, suffering the consequences in a big drop in online sales. Other businesses have not been so lucky and suffer a permanent loss in visibility, traffic and sales.
Why do website migrations go wrong?
The short answer is that with all site migrations you are changing the URLS, the page names that the search engines uses to index your website. And if you don’t tell the search engines what the new page urls are and where that content used to be (the old url) you are relying on the search engines to use guesswork. I don’t know about you, but that scares the hell out of us!
But it is entirely possible to migrate your business to a new website, without losing traffic or revenue. In fact, done correctly, its possible to increase rankings, and growth in traffic after launching a new site. But that takes proper planning, and SEO expertise, before a single line of code is laid down.
In our experience, the problems can be broken down into these mistakes.
- Poor strategy, with no clear objectives
- Insufficient planning, setting unrealistic timescales
- Inadequate resourcing
- No SEO involvement
- Poor testing processes
- Underestimation of the importance of getting it right
Come back to our blog in a couple of weeks and read the next post on website migration to understand the steps needed to plan a successful migration for your new website.