Poor strategy is the first cause for failure of site migration. When strategy is based upon unclear or unrealistic assumptions and goals, the website migration process is bound to fail.
The primary objective of website migration should be the retention of preexisting website traffic and revenue levels. Although, a certain amount of loss in traffic is inevitable, it can be controlled with proper strategy.
To avoid a significant amount of loss in traffic during website migration, one should always check out the consequences. This will help avoid creating any unrealistic objective which can lead to a failure.
2) Poor Planning
If you fail to plan then you will plan to fail. Planning is the most important part of the website migration. After realizing and clearing the main objectives and purpose behind the website migration, plan out the whole process appropriately.
Detailed planning may sound a bit redundant but will help you cover all the important and necessary aspects of website migration. Poor planning can lead to a complicated site launch. It doesn’t matter how much detailed your planning is, things never go out 100% as planned.
Planning flexibility is an important key in case of any unforeseen circumstance. Make sure that you do not procrastinate during planning, otherwise you will not get enough time to rectify your mistakes during the site launch. It is always better to plan out in advance to avoid piling up the work which can ultimately lead to errors and loss in traffic.
Do not launch your website during seasonal peaks as again you will not get enough time to make necessary changes and eventually you will end up suffering revenue and traffic loss.
3) Lack of Resources and Budget
This is one of the most common reasons behind a website migration failure. Before entering in the process of website migration, make sure that you have enough migration tools and resources and a well defined budget.
If you have a limited budget then you can simply delay the migration because once you have started the process then you can’t look backwards. Either you will succeed or you will fail miserably in the migration process which will give you some long nights.
As mentioned above, it is highly unlikely that everything will go as you have plotted on the paper. So, to avoid any failure in the process of site migration, you should always have a buffer of at least 20% additional budget. If you cannot allot this 20% of additional resources, then simply delay it. There is no point of fighting with a half sword.
4) Lack of SEO/UX Expertise
It is always good to have some experts on your side during such complex and delicate process especially when you are confused or do not know what you are doing. Many such migration processes fail due to the lack of SEO/UX consultation.
Suppose you are removing a good amount of content to improve UX then unknowingly it will damage the site’s ability to target critical keywords. It can also lead to some crawling and indexing issues. In some extreme cases it will also damage the site’s organic visibility.
Sometimes, copying too much text and images can also affect the site conversions. Hence, it becomes very important to hire or consult an experienced SEO/UX expert. It may look like a costly investment but in the longer term, this investment will save you from a potential revenue loss.
5) Late Involvement
Website migration is not a one day process; it can stretch up to several months and requires lot of resources and skills. Any delay in seeking professional help, consultation or SEO/UX expert can lead to a failure.
6) Lack of Testing
Testing is a part of good planning and strategy. You should always spare enough time to test your migrated website so that you can detect any fault or issue before launching the website. If you skip the testing phase and any error occurs during the launch of website then it can have a negative impact on your brand.
It is always better to delay the site launch rather than spoiling your brand with a faulty website. Poor implementation can lead to revenue and traffic loss; so, make sure that your developers are aware of this fact.
7) Slow Bug Fixing
It doesn’t matter what type of migration your site has gone through, there will be always be a need of fixing bugs whenever the site goes live. Suppose after launching the site, you find that there is a bug in crawling and indexing in the site’s search engine then it will require an immediate fix.
Any delay in fixings bugs can lead to some major technical issues and the site will take long to recover. It will lead to a significant amount of revenue and traffic loss. So, make sure that you are keeping an eye on the bugs and you are fixing them immediately to avoid any loss.
Examples of Successful and Unsuccessful Site Migration
To have a clear understanding of website migration, here are some examples of successful and unsuccessful website migration:
a) Unsuccessful Migration
This graph is a perfect example of website migration failure. It involves switching from HTTP to HTTPS and experiences a loss 35% of the visibility. This UK based website took almost six months to recover and lost a significant amount of organic revenue.
This is another example of website migration failure. In this case, the website was not lucky and failed to recover. This is another UK based website which suffered a permanent loss of 20% when it migrated from HTTP to HTTPS.
These failures are the direct result of poor planning and poor strategy before migration, and launching of the website.
b) Successful Migration
The way plans are executed decides whether the site will suffer a significant loss or not. It also depends on the type of migration. Following is an example of one such successful website migration:
This is an example of a successful website migration and this time the website suffered zero or minimal traffic and visibility loss. As you can see in the graph, the visibility growth reached 60% in just one month after website migration.
Below is the graph explaining the traffic growth experienced by the same site after executing a proper plan and strategy.