If you think that you want to move to a new web host, you should understand that when sites move, they might break. This could mean downtime for your site and the loss of service to some of your visitors. Sometimes you can’t keep from moving because your current hosting service is not performing the way you need it to. If this is your case and you have to move you need to be thorough when you move your site.
If you are using WordPress, there may be a plugin that you are going to use to move your website. Make sure that you backup your website before you move anything. If something goes wrong, you want to have all of your files so you don’t have to rebuild your site again.
When you are moving your site, you have to have a good plan in place for the migration. In addition to a backup, you should also see what your options are for tech support in case something goes awry.
Do you know which of your pages or posts has the most inbound links? If you are thinking about changing the URL of that page, you don’t want to do that if you are getting a lot of backlinks. If you change the URL then the backlinks are going to go nowhere which means that your site lost links. If your site loses links it can lose authority and search engine rankings.
For those of you that feel it is important to change the link of this page, you want to create a 301 redirect so that people who go to the old link will be seamlessly redirected to your page at the new location. If you aren’t technical, you can usually find someone to does 301 redirects on the cheap. Just make sure they are reputable since you are letting them into a sensitive area of your website.
When you migrate your website, there are a lot of risks and if you can keep from moving your site, that is the best option as I stated above. Once you do decide to move it and your site has changed from one host to another, you need to check for missing content. It is easy for files to get misplaced or deleted. Hopefully you’ve made a backup so if something did go wrong with your site, you have the backup to fall back on.
Check all of your most important pages first. Pages that are vital to your site navigation as well as most popular pages should be checked to ensure that they are there and that they are formatted properly. If something goes wrong in the migration process, you might find that your page structure or website theme is not as it should be.
404s & Proper Redirect
If your URL structure is not exactly the same on your new hosting as it was before when people go to visit those links, they are going to see 404 errors. Even if you have your page customized and cute, you don’t want them to go to your 404 page. You either need to fix all of the URL structures to be the same or do proper 301 redirects.
301 redirects for links that are currently going to 404 pages will allow users to be directed to the proper link where the content is hosted without most people noticing it. When you move your site, you don’t want to lose visitors because of technical mistakes so make sure you do a proper check through your site or hire someone to check your site for you.
If Google doesn’t know about your new website pages, they can’t be indexed. You need to make sure that Google is able to crawl each of your pages. If they aren’t being crawled then something has to be wrong and you have to figure out what it is so that you can fix it.
Look in Google Search Console to see if there was a spike in crawls around launch day. If there wasn’t, there could be some sort of trouble brewing that is keeping Google from accessing your pages. Someone might have accidentally even blocked search engine discovery.
Hopefully when you changed to your new server your site speed went up, but there could be things keeping you from getting the speed that you should be getting. If you aren’t optimizing your site for speed you, you could be hurting your conversion rate, losing visitors and pulling down your search engine rankings.
To check your site’s speed, you can use the PageSpeed Insights tool which will enable you to see what areas you need to work on to make your site faster. With the latest Google Update on speed being a ranking factor in mobile search, you need to make sure that you are ready for this roll out if you want to get search traffic.
Making sure everything transitioned and is working properly on your site after you’ve done a site migration is important. Leaving your site unchecked after you have changed to a new server is unwise. Make sure to perform the above checks and anything else that is recommended by your new host. You want to make sure that your site is up and running for business.