November 8, 2016

6 Questions to Ask Before Migrating Your Website to WordPress

6 Questions to Ask Before Migrating Your Website to WordPress

Questions to Ask Before Migrating Your Website to a New CMS Platform

If you’re one of the many companies frustrated with your current content management system (CMS), you’re probably considering moving to a more user-friendly website platform. You’re craving for an intuitive backend where it’s a breeze to update content doesn’t require a degree in programming to manage.

We know you’re chomping at the bits to run far away from your complex technical backend, but there are 6 important questions to consider before diving head-first to migrate your website that will later save you time and heartache.

 

01. Does my website have any established search engine value?

If you’ve got high search rankings, you’re going to want to make sure that everything is well documented before migration to ensure the migration doesn’t affect your rankings too drastically. From the metadata, hyperlinks, titles, and h1 tags throughout your website, you have to make sure all your content is highly organized, detailed, and clearly mapped to the appropriate sections of the site.

Another important thing to consider is where to cut the fat. Identify the highest performing pages and determine if there’s any pages that can be left behind. If there are pages that don’t perform well, or aren’t vital to your customer’s buyer journey, simply delete them and exclude them from the migration.

It’s important to benchmark your website’s rankings, and which keywords generate the most traffic, to keep track of progress throughout the migration process

02. Does my website have valuable web pages that need to be maintained?

Compile a list of your most important URLs that need to have 301 redirects set-up to avoid any losses in traffic. This is especially true if you’re running PPC campaigns with active landing pages that will be affected by the migration. If you don’t set up redirects from your PPC URLs, users being sent to broken links could drastically decrease your Quality Score.

03. What benefits will my website get from migrating to WordPress?

The intuitive navigation and user-friendly interface is one of the biggest selling points of WordPress over HTML sites. Here’s a list of benefits to migrating your HTML site to WordPress:

  • You don’t need to be a developer to update content anymore. Your marketing team will be able to refresh your website’s content even more frequently, which will give your rankings a boost in organic search. Less time spent wrestling with code, and more time reaching prospective customers? Yes, please.  
  • There are literally thousands of plugins readily available for whatever website features you’re looking to enhance your site with.You will find eCommerce, marketing and social media integrations, built in SEO tools, and beyond. Seriously, if you can dream it, it’s probably in the WordPress marketplace. Read our list of 6 must-have plugins to boost website traffic.
  • There are so many different templates to choose from. Beautiful designs, crafted by professional developers.
  • By combining a seamless user interface with the diverse range of ready-made plugins, the costs for custom development expertise decreases.
  • The flexibility in the WordPress structure allows for you to easily redesign your site.

04. What functionality, features or elements will my website lose if moved to another CMS / platform?

If your website was originally built with functionality specific for your business or your customers, it’s important to consider whether or not WordPress will be able to replicate or improve the functionality. Make sure to consult your website developer to discuss alternative solutions or other custom development needs.

05. Will my website’s architecture be the same when it is migrated?

It’s common for a website to experience some fundamental changes when moving to another CMS or platform. This can include the site architecture, sitemap, or the URL structure for each web page. Should these changes be possible, documenting your existing website’s pages will be critical. Create a spreadsheet with the URLs of each page, the title tag, meta description, header tags, image tags, and content. This will ensure that even if something changes, you’ll have the proper documentation to refer back to in order to replicate your current site’s pages.

06. What to Check After a Website Migration

By now, you’ve successfully migrated your website and you’re ready to launch. But, wait! Make sure that everything is ready for launch, before launching your new site. Here’s what you need to check:

  • Make sure your site displays correctly in all browsers
  • Have one of your keenest writers or editors double-check spelling and grammar on high-traffic pages
  • Administer a link checker, like Xenu, to identify and fix any broken links
  • Verify any important redirects to make sure they’re working correctly
  • Implement the proper redirect code in your .htaccess file, as a precaution to avoid canonical issues
  • Add any necessary conversion tracking codes (such as Google Analytics codes, social media campaign tracking codes/pixels, etc)
  • Test all forms on your website
  • Upload a favicon
  • Make sure that all pages that need to be blocked from search engines have the proper robots.txt files uploaded
  • Double-check that all social buttons and links are working correctly
  • Run the website through the W3 Validator
  • Check and customize any error pages (such as 404 errors)
  • Create a backup of the entire website and database if you haven’t already
  • Give the website one last review and prepare for launch!

There are a ton of benefits of migrating your website to a WordPress platform, but there could be potential costs to doing so. Make sure you’re confident with your website development partner, and that they ensure that all the information from your current site is well-documented and backed up before migrating any content.  

Are you thinking about migrating your clunky HTML website to a more user-friendly WordPress backend? Contact one of our website development experts, we’d be more than happy to discuss your project needs and answer any questions you have.

Atul Shukla

Written by Atul Shukla

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