Updated: May 20
Keeping in mind that design is not only how it looks but also how it works, rebuilding or migrating your website requires some considerations.
Websites are "sensitive" entities: when relocated, a little like most of us, humans, they need a series of readjustments, resettlements, reconnections.
Because in the online word everything is connected (or better be that way). Because your website consist of at least one page that is nested on networks of nodes and their connections. Migrating or redoing your website requires that you adopt this interconnected mindset. And that to proceed accordingly!
When, a few weeks ago, we decided it was time for a complete change on MAG agency's website, I migrated the site to another system inside the same CMS platform.
This process was, once more, a reminder about the network-like structure and behaviour of the Internet.
Let's see why, and take the opportunity to review the things that you need to address when redoing or migrating your website.
1. EVALUATE - AUDIT. Moving houses is a good moment for checking on all that might have been working more or less well, and get rid of outdated, trivial, redundant, and not-so-interesting content or structure design.
Here you might want to evaluate and consider if you need a TEAM or the help of specific PROFESSIONALS to achieve the goal of having a fantastic website. And coordinate the workflow accordingly.
2. TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS:
Hosting. Choose among the more performant hosting services that are available right now. This might have evolved from the moment you've created your existing website, so it's worth checking it or reaching out to an expert for advice.
CMS: CMS platforms can be of perfect help when building or migrating a website. With these systems it is easier and faster to create and launch your website. Migrating or rebuilding your website might be the opportunity you've been waiting for to leave outdated structures that complicate the work or ruin your performance. Some popular options are WordPress, Wix and the newest EditorX and Canva, among others. Considering the platform plus the integrations available can be a good call to establish a smooth and simple workflow afterwards. That's another reason why you might want to plan in advance the overall process, taking into account all that your project or business needs right now or might need in the future. Anticipation and planning are good allies of a successful strategy.
3. CONSOLE. It will be imperative to reconnect your site to the search engine like for example Google, as it is not done automatically.
4. INTERCONNECTION - REDIRECTION. When you move something on the net, all that was connected to the item need to be reconnected or redirected.
Reconnect ALL your previous existing pages to the new website addresses where you want the users to land in. For this purpose, you can conduct a 301 redirect process, linking by groups of links or by individual links to every specific (new) page. That will avoid you from encountering the "404 error page - this page no longer exists" message.
Depending on the type / purpose of the website, you might need to think about proceeding some vanity URL maintenance, and redirect all offline advertising that drives traffic into your website.
Pay attention to possible issues concerning the Domain or "Domain Name Server" (DNS), that could have been contributing to lower traffic to your site.
5. CONTENT. What is valued by search engines, and by people, is quality content.
Migrating your web will need a good strategy for content migration, whether you want all the existing content, a part of it, or almost nothing to be available on the new website.
If you don't want to migrate the content and rather prefer to create something new, it would be a good call to start producing it in advance.
For more complex website designs, this aspect might also involve backend developers to complete or to enable the process at all.
Take the chance to build a better design (there's usually room for improvements, if not rebuilding from scratch). Make it more attractive and dynamic, for example with videos and images. Take into account that videos are among the most-attractive type of contents on the Internet. Many visual contents can be bought or even added for free from verified or official providers that comply with intellectual property standards. A good design, with a nice typography, the right combination of colours and tones, and all that makes for an aesthetically achieved website, that at the same time leads to a pleasant and informative journey, are important for building your brand image and create engagement.
6. KEYWORDS & SEO. The World Wide Web that we access through the Internet it's basically a vehicle driven by language (and maybe that's why the most used search engine's business legal name is Alphabet).
Rebuild your SEO by entering the name of each page, in the correspondent place to do so in the editor, as it would appear in the search engines, together as their descriptions. This is a good opportunity to build a stronger SEO with keywords and the name of your company or project. In any case, you could take the chance to correct any technical issues associated with it. Some platforms offer a SEO guide that can be of good help.
If you are adding images and videos, all of which is highly recommendable from an aesthetical and user-experience point of view (good quality images, with its proper intellectual property protocol), you might think about adding the Alt text to them.
Even if it's related with connectivity, unnatural links to your site might impact your SEO, as Google would be penalizing the site where this exists.
7. MARKETING AND CUSTOMER SUPPORT.
No matter what type of website do you have, you might need to guide the users to the new place to find what they would previously find elsewhere. Don't let the important things disappear from the pages, and also rethink the path that needs to be followed to reach it: it might be the opportunity to make it simpler (and faster).
Also, you might need to rebuild the internal and external messaging service, and even the mailing automations if you like to. Automations can be of good help in many things, letting the machine help us with our work is a good call if this is possible, while you don't need to lose the human touch to these forms of communications.
What you want to achieve with the web migration is an improvement of the existing website:
More responsive interface, including loading time
Better and updated design
Performing information architecture
Easier-to-navigate structure that attracts and retains visitors
Better internal and external connections (hyperlinks),
Clear compelling information
The best user experience available.
Responsive on different devices, making it MOBILE FIRST.