Planning to Migrate Your Website? Beware of These Risks
Websites are undoubtedly the most accessible and popular forms of digital technology. They are convenient, easy to use, and can be accessed through any device. Ever since the introduction of the world wide web, numerous websites have been developed, and more are under development. Speaking factually, more than 1.88 billion websites were available on the internet by the end of 2021.
Therefore, it is safe to say that websites have tremendous potential and scope, owing to which numerous businesses are investing in web development and are taking their operations online. However, merely developing a website is not enough. Certain websites require technical reformation, which makes it essential to migrate them.
However, what is website migration? Let’s start this blog by understanding this concept in detail.
What Is Website Migration?
In lay terms, website migration is the process of transferring data or information from one website to another or shifting a website from one technology to the other. As simple as it sounds, migrating a website is a complex and challenging process that requires high technical expertise and skills.
There are numerous types of website migrations that a website owner can undertake. Protocol migration, top-level domain migration, and website redesign are a few of the most popular forms of website migration.
Every website owner at one point considers migrating their website. This can be because of numerous technical as well as business reasons that can make migrating a website a necessity. Regardless of the reason, you must know that migrating a website can be a risky process, especially if neglected or rushed.
As a result, the website owner needs to give ample time to the migration process. However, how much time can we expect website migration to take? The following section will provide an answer to this question.
How Long Does it Take to Migrate a Website?
How long your website’s migration will take will largely depend upon numerous factors, such as the website’s complexity, the type of migration intended, technology expertise, human resource availability, etc.
Most of the types of website migrations are quick and take less time, which can be as short as 30 minutes. However, if you are planning to migrate a website from one technology to another, the migration process can take as long as 5 months to 6 months. This is because you will have to follow the complete development lifecycle again to migrate a website’s technology.
As a result, a business needs to be well-prepared for the migration process, as in certain types of migration, the website might not be available for use. Moreover, migrating a website comes with numerous risks, many of which can have severe long-term effects on the website. The next section will cover the top 10 risks of website migration in detail, so read carefully.
Top 10 Risks of Migrating a Website
Declined Organic Traffic
User traffic is an integral part of a website’s success. Moreover, organic traffic holds high value among website owners, as a lot of work goes into a website to generate quality organic traffic.
It is highly common for the website’s organic traffic to fluctuate and decline during and post-migration. The rate at which the traffic will decline will vary from one website to another. However, with a well-planned migration strategy, it is possible to regain the lost traffic and minimize traffic loss during the actual migration process.
You can achieve this objective by having rigid URL mapping of all the links of your website, old and new ones. Moreover, double-check and ensure that the new and old website has as few gaps in the content as possible.
Increased Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is every website owner’s nightmare. In case you aren’t aware of what bounce rate is, it is the percentage of users that leave the website after a single-page session.
An increased bounce rate is one of the major risks that a website owner faces after its migration. Generally speaking, the bounce rate of a website increases if the website’s host or design has been changed during its migration.
Technically speaking, certain pages of a website end up getting redirected to irrelevant content after the conclusion of the migration process. As soon as the users detect that the content is irrelevant to their search queries, they quickly leave the website and add to its bounce rate.
Temporary Website Unavailability
Downtime is an inevitable part of the website migration process. As we discussed earlier, migrating a website is a time-consuming process. A website under migration is down and, therefore, cannot be used.
This aspect of website migration can turn out to be an expensive affair for business owners. To explain, eCommerce businesses sell their goods digitally to their customers through a website. A prolonged website downtime period means loss of business and revenue for these eCommerce retailers.
Moreover, certain users who might visit the website during its downtime might consider it to be shut. As a result, a high downtime can also decrease the user retention rate of a website and is a factor that needs to be evaluated well before conducting migration.
User experience is the most critical part of a website. A good UX guarantees high website success and more market acceptance. As a result, website owners try their best to deliver a top-notch experience to their users by focusing on UI (User Interface).
Many times, website owners resort to website migration and redesign the entire UI of the website to achieve this objective. While this is good for the new users of the website, the old users might not like this sudden change in the website’s designs.
This is because the old users are accustomed to the old design and are aware of its navigation and features. In this case, redesigning a website can, in turn, degrade the experience of these users and defy the purpose of redesigning and migrating a website.
Analytics are of high value to every website owner. Detailed analytics enables website owners to understand how successful their current strategies are. This understanding forms the foundation of future strategies and helps in delivering a top-notch UX.
However, it is commonly known that website migration can have a devastating impact on the quality of analytics. To elaborate, it is common for the analytics or tracking codes of a website to be removed during the migration. This irrecoverable data loss can turn out to be a tremendous setback for the business.
As a result, it is suggested to have the same tracking codes throughout the migration process to avoid the loss of analytical information on the website.
Broken links are a website disaster in terms of SEO and ranking. As a result, it is always a good idea to eliminate broken links from the website and optimize the technical SEO of your website.
If you are migrating the URL of your website, it is certain that the existing internal and external links on the webpage will redirect the users to the 404-error page, as the old links are now broken and not available on the internet. This will, in turn, degrade the overall user experience of the website and will reduce its ranking on the search engine.
As a result, it is a good idea to optimize all the internal and external links to the new website and make them crawlable for search engines. You can do this by 301 redirects, but it is recommended to update the URL altogether in case of backlinks.
Running a website for a long time will leave you with a plethora of content and information in the form of posts (blogs), user comments, etc. Naturally, this content available on the website would be followed by a large number of users on a regular basis.
One of the biggest risks that a website possesses during migration is the loss of this content from the website. While some websites only lose a small part of their content, others are at risk of complete content loss.
However, it is worth noting that website owners can easily overcome this challenge by automating migration to eliminate the chances of human error. Moreover, numerous CMS also offer content migration services that guarantee safe and loss-free content migration.
Increased Load Time
Having a high load time has a negative impact on the overall SEO ranking as well as the user experience of a website. As a result, it is essential for a website owner to keep the load time as low as possible for optimum website success.
In case you are going for a full-website migration, you must know that certain web pages on the site will likely have an increased load time. Naturally, pages with a slow load speed will have an increased bounce rate and, ultimately, reduced organic traffic.
As a result, it is essential to conduct an SEO site audit after the completion of the migration process to keep track of the pages with increased load time. Moreover, you must pay attention to the fluctuating traffic of the web pages, as it can be an indication of decreased page load speed.
Loss of Meta Content
Meta information such as meta tags and description form an essential part of a website’s search engine optimization. Google uses this information to rank the website and divert relevant user traffic to the webpage.
In many cases, migrating a website can result in loss of meta information, due to which Google might fail to recognize the webpage and reduce its rank on SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Therefore, before migrating a website, it is a good idea to take a backup of all the meta information of a website and its web pages. This will enable you to avoid losing your hard-earned rank on the search engine in case the meta information isn’t optimally transferred to the new webpage.
Declined SERP Ranking
Website owners and digital marketers work day and night to earn a rank on the search engine. Having a high rank on the SERP is directly beneficial for the website’s organic traffic and conversion rate.
However, in many cases, migrating a website can negatively impact the ranking of a website. To explain, migrating a website’s CMS will result in all of its links getting changed. Therefore, you will need to inform the search engine about your website’s migration as well as the location of your new links.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this objective is to use 301 redirects and redirect the old links to the new ones. It is worth noting that this aspect of website migration needs immediate attention if you do not want to lose your website’s SEO juice.
These were the top 10 risks associated with migrating a website. However, it is worth noting that migrating a website does not necessarily have to involve all these challenges and risks. It is possible to safely migrate a website and benefit from it. In the upcoming section, we will thoroughly discuss the ways in which a website owner can undertake efficient, risk-free, and safe migration.
Tips to Undertake Safe Website Migration
Take a Backup
Before packing everything up for your website, it is a good idea to take a backup of all the information on your website. You would have realized in the above-mentioned website migration risks that a majority of the risks can be avoided by having a solid backup.
Content and meta information are two of the most essential aspects that require a backup on the website. This ensures that you do not lose any information in the migration process and that your rank on the search engine is secured in the long run.
There are numerous ways to take a backup for website migration, such as the CMS method, FTP method, cPanel method, etc. You have to find an approach suitable for your website to undertake hassle-free and smooth migration of your website.
First Migrate, Then Cancel
One of the most common mistakes of a website owner undertaking migration is cancelling or shutting down the old website without waiting for the new one’s migration to complete.
It is clear by now that migrating a website is a process involving numerous risk factors. A minor error in the migration process can hinder the overall website’s quality and bring major consequences. In this case, shutting down an already working website isn’t the best idea, right?
For this reason, it is always advised that website owners first migrate their website and test it before shutting down the old one. This will ensure that you have a working backup ready in case the migration process does not go as per the plan.
This is especially crucial for eCommerce and on-demand service websites where a long downtime can directly impact the revenue.
Hire an Outsourcing Agency
Apart from being risky, website migration is a highly complex process that requires high technical expertise. For starters, one must be well-versed in website programming to conduct the right and efficient migration of a website.
Naturally, business owners aren’t programmers and are not aware of how to actually migrate a website. In this case, it is the best option to hire a web development outsourcing agency and get your website migrated from the experts. These experts will not only create a top-tier website for your business but will also ensure that the entire migration process is swift and efficient and is free from data loss or human errors.
A database is the foundation of a website. As a result, it is in the best interest of the website owners to thoroughly test the database after migrating a website.
To explain, a website includes various forms with different fields. Users fill up these forms and submit them, and the information is directly uploaded to the database. However, when migrating a website, there is no guarantee that a particular field’s data is being optimally entered into the database.
As a result, it is essential to test the database after migrating a website to ensure that the right data is being entered in the right slot. This will avoid confusion and conundrums for the management and will ensure optimal usage of the entered data.
This was it for the ways in which a website owner can optimize website migration. By following the above-mentioned tips, you are certain to migrate your website successfully and within less time.
Summing It Up
Migrating a website can be a highly challenging task involving numerous risks and challenges. While some of these risks are negligible, others can turn out to degrade the overall quality of the website.
However, by thoroughly planning the migration and undertaking the right approaches, you are certain to migrate your website successfully and efficiently. All you need to do is weigh the pros and cons of each option and make conscious decisions, and you are ready to go with your website’s migration.