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3 Common Problems with Website Migrations and How to Solve Them

A website migration is necessary when any part of your website goes through a key transformation. The old version of the site needs to be migrated to the new platform. But, more often than not, a migration is not a straight forward process with many potential pitfalls.

23rd Mar 2018
James Foote SEO Strategy Director 23rd March 2018

A website migration is necessary when any part of your website goes through a key transformation. The old version of the site needs to be migrated to the new platform. But, more often than not, a migration is not a straightforward process with many potential pitfalls. 

The smallest error in the HTML or URL redirects being poorly managed can cause significant problems to search engine visibility, traffic, and revenue loss.

Here at Infinity Nation, we work with many of our clients to successfully guide them through the website migration process. Time and time again, we see the same problems occurring. Read on below to see three potential pitfalls you may encounter, and how to navigate your way around them.

Interested to find out more about Website Migrations?
Read our latest Digital Insight: SEO Website Migration. Strategy Planning & Performance

Resolve Legacy Performance Issues

As a first port of call for any migration process, ensure previous website issues aren’t transferred to the new website. You don’t want to be hurt by the ghosts of websites past. 

Common legacy performance issues include:

  • Poorly optimised and/or duplicate meta data
  • 404 errors and dead pages
  • 301 redirect chains
  • Lack of category content
  • No subcategorisation 
  • Crawl Issues
  • Key pages with low site visibility

If not resolved, these issues will affect the performance of the new site the same as the previous site, but without the added benefit of the site being fully established.

This can cause performance issues to your new website, affecting key metrics and ultimately hurting general business performance. It goes without saying, but this is something you’ll want to avoid. So always ensure that these legacy performance issues are rectified, to enable your website migration success. 

Don’t Migrate Your Website During Key Trading Periods

We don’t mean to sound obvious, but it’s worth ensuring that your schedule for website migrations aren’t too tight and that they don’t affect key trading periods. 

Stakeholders may decide that new websites “must go live by a set date” (to align with press coverage, re-branding, or a product launch). But bear in mind that most developments and migrations do not go as planned and the migration may not be completed fully or the new website may not be completely stabilised. 

We therefore recommend that you don’t launch a new website at any key trading periods and allow for flexibility during website migrations. Therefore, avoiding potential problems caused by delays that may cause negative knock-on effects. 

E.g: If your company generates most revenue around Christmas,

Don’t launch a new site within a 6-week period leading up to this event.

Where possible, launch sites ahead of key trading periods and work out where potential development bottlenecks are so you can allow for problems before they occur.

Update Internal Links

When migrating a site to a new domain structure or re-categorising products, one pitfall you may encounter is that a lot of the internal links may no longer work as intended.

Developers may create redirect rules to ensure that customers and visitors to the website won’t end up on a dead page at the start, but there is the potential that links within the navigation, on-page copy or even breadcrumb structure may not be updated properly by the redirect rules.

There is a chance that either links will go through a redirect chain, or may not end up being redirected at all and customers end up on a 404 page. Both of these results are VERY unhelpful for SEO purposes.

To prevent this from happening, crawl over the original site before migration and make a list of every link on every page so that these can be properly addressed in the migration.

Website migrations are crucial to all website growth strategies, so it’s of vital importance that the process goes smoothly. Many companies underestimate the impact of a migration and can experience the negative effects of doing so. 

However, the above three guidelines are just the start of road of your website migration journey. Before embarking on any website migration project ensure to understand the process that you’ll be undertaking to ensure your best chances of post website migration success. 

Read guide our guide SEO Website Migration, Strategy, Planning & Performance to understand the steps and perils that website migrations can involve. Discover more detailed information on the website migration process, key considerations and resolutions. 

Or if you need help with migrating your website, then please get in touch! Email your queries to chat@infinitynation.com or give us a call on 01793 238697.