Good news everyone who just migrated their website to live after switching to a new CMS. You don’t have to worry, since a fresh portion of tips for post-website migrations activities has arrived. In this post, we will discuss how to make the process of switching from one CMS to another as smooth as possible.
Right after you’ve migrated your website…
Keep calm and check your new website
Yes, exactly, don’t worry that everything looks different up here, on the new platform. You and your data that you put there will both get used to it. It doesn’t matter if you migrated manually or used an automated migration service, but it does matter to the first check if everything is in its place.
By everything I mean investigate your new website in the following order:
1. Find out first if all the legacy website content entities (like pages, posts, articles, taxonomies, users, comments, menu and menu items, media files, internal and external links) have been moved to the right places on the new website;
There was an image once on your existing website:
But now, there’s no, on your new website:
2. Perform links analysis, crawl your new website for broken links (like 401s, 400s, 403s, 404s, and 500s). Those might emerge in the process of migration when you choose what content you want to move and what is better not to.
3. See if the redirected URLs to the new website have the right destination and check whether 301 Redirects from the existing website are presented correctly on the new website; for this task, you can use Xenu Link Sleuth tool or any other alternative.
5. A lot, in fact, depends on a hosting provider you choose, so always monitor how your new website feels on the hosting you’ve selected. Change it in case your new website requires more resources and bigger speed.
6. Monitor your new website for content duplicates, if there are any, eliminate them. Content clones confuse search engines which URL to show in the search results.
Quick fact: according to Raventools, duplicates make up ~ 29% of the web. (it’s probably ‘!’, right?).
The duplicated content causes are numerous like it’s provided here by Yoast. Use Google Webmaster Tools to spot and fix content cloning issues.
To successfully run a new website, grab some basic of so many optimization tips:
Tip1. If we consider migration from and to CMSs, (especially, to WordPress) the topic of plugins here is delicate enough. Try not to overload your new website with add-ons. For instance, one of the reasons why WordPress is that popular, it’s because of the plugins amount it contains (~50k). You should know though, not all of them work properly or safe. Trust only the reliable ones. Install only a few necessary ones. (Continue reading to find out more about plugins).
Tip2. Cache helps reduce website’s loading time lowering a number of queries made per page by saving website’s copy on your computer. This way, the next time you enter the same website it loads faster. There is another side of the moon, though, too many cache copies can cause slowdowns and drawbacks in your website’s functionality, so you should clean these copies from time to time. As a result, cache cleaning is just the right prescription you need. Running your new website on WordPress? Install cache control plugins like Super Cache or W3 Total Cache to help you deal with the current issue.
Tip3. Web-pages optimization takes another important place in the life of your new website. Split large posts with all the content and media inside to several smaller posts and place each piece to separate pages. Perform the same action for comments under your posts or integrate comments system with such 3d party services, like Disqus to avoid bonus load on your servers.
Tip4. Optimize images on your website by cropping them, reducing their size or compressing them. There’s a large variety of tools, like TinyJPG (image compression online service), and WordPress plugins, like WP Smush (reduces the pic’s size) or Lazy Load (images load only when they become visible for users).
Tip5. Regularly monitor your website’s content relevancy and (warning here) delete useless or obsolete content (like images) if there’s such opportunity of course.
Website migration and SEO
Preserving SEO strongly depends on what measures did you take before the website conversion.
Here’s a checklist of SEO to-dos ahead of launching the actual migration:
- Determine the pages with the highest rankings (use tools, like Google Analytics to see what are the most visited pages); aim to move them to the new website. Moving only the most critical pages also means housecleaning, you can choose what to migrate and what is better to leave in the past.
- Perform inbound links analysis first on your legacy website and then on your new website to know whether they moved to your new website too (use tools like Site Explorer or Open site Explorer by Moz or any other alternatives);
- Implement 301 Redirect to the most important pages and inbound links too;
- Watch if URLs on your current website have SEO friendly structure and recreate them on your new website. Beware of ‘ugly’, ‘non-readable’ URLs and create meaningful and clean ones. Here Moz answers how to do it.
- Make sure your theme is well SE-Optimized and responsive.
301 Redirects and why they matter
Implementing 301 Redirects during website’s migration is probably the core of keeping your website’s SEO strong. Why is this important? Because once a URL from the old website is redirected to the new one with the help of 301 Redirects, users along with 90-99% of ranking power are transferred to the redirected page. Now search engine’s spiders crawl your site’s pages, determine rankings and pages’ trust in the world of web.
Give it some time
Slight traffic drop-downs of your website is quite a natural process since search engines need some time to ‘adjust’ to your new website and crawl it entirely to estimate the place of your website on the Internet. No worries here, but more observations and monitorings.
Got a new website already?
Grab a portion of some useful tools
After breathing life into the new website (in this case, we consider WordPress as the new platform), constant improvement is exactly what you need. Here’s a short list of plugins and tools that can make your website even better:
Security and backup – to take a proper care of your website:
SEO – to make it more reachable:
Personalization – to know more about your clients’ preferences:
Analytics – to track and digest everything:
Custom Fields – to create more engaging and customized content:
Gallery – to ‘visualize’ the content of your website at full power:
Contact Forms – to keep up the communication with your clients:
Widgets – to fuel up the functionality of your website:
Redirection – to make sure every user is on the right page:
Appearance – to create more engaging UI/UX:
Social Media – to engage with the world outside:
Translation – to get multilingual:
Editor’s note: At WLA, we have a set of plugins that we normally use and recommend, which can be found in our General WordPress Development Standards.
I know that you can sit at your WordPress website day and night browsing different cutting edge plugins and wanting to install them all, but always keep one thing in mind – don’t overdo.
Recently an automated CMS migration service, CMS2CMS asked a few WordPress experts what are their favorite plugins to install and the amount is not really that big. So once again, install only several plugins but safe and powerful ones.
Plugins here, plugins there, but what about themes?
The same as plugins, choose reliable theme producers. When exploring different themes pay attention for them to be:
- Get rid of unnecessary images or optimize them, and choose the right format (JPEG, PNG, GIF); try to use ‘light’ CSS more than images;
- Reduce the number of files required to display the page on your site if there’s such possibility;
- Optimize the load time to at least 1-1.8 sec.;
- Provide proper UI/UX experience by keeping your website reachable and usable via various devices, running A/B tests, experimenting with appearance and including feedback messages.
To stay informed, don’t forget to check out the list of 2017’s top WordPress themes at Themeforest.
It’s no way all folks, because there is an entire universe of tips on how to rapidly optimize your website after its migration. Start with the basic improvements and move to the smallest details. Your users won’t even notice that once there was a change if you lead them through this metamorphosis way smoothly. In the end, don’t be afraid of changes and always stay on the top 🙂
Guest author: Zoriana Senkovska
Marketing Manager @ CMS2CMS, loves writing a lot.