Use This Checklist for Successful Website Migration

Posted on April 8th, 2022 by nms

Website migration is frequently part of a business’s evolution. There are many reasons why switching websites might become necessary, including rebranding, easier scaling, or implementing a new insurance web design. Regardless of the reason, migrating to a new website is often required when running a web-based enterprise.

Migration might seem like a simple process for companies that have never made the shift. But it can be a complex undertaking fraught with challenges and obstacles, including:

  • 404 errors
  • Lower rankings
  • Lost content

Making an inventory of the various pages of a website will help ensure a successful migration. Site crawling tools can be useful for developing checklists that you can refer to when verifying the results of the migration process.

After creating your migration checklist, go through each of these steps in order and refer back to the document as needed.

Set up your hosting, DNS, CDN, and mail services

After backing up your site and database and creating a staging site to test how well the migration went, set up your host environment and transfer all your necessary files. Remember to set up the DNS information immediately afterward and change the CDN information and mail parameters.

Create a redirect list

It’s a good idea to assemble a list of existing redirects and those you need to create. This will help you determine whether your current redirects are working on the new website.

The process is easier if you are changing domains and don’t have many redirects. If that is the case, you can make do with only a single redirect to the new site.

Review your SEO structure

The next step is to review your SEO structure. Make sure that your specifications are in place by checking the following:

  • Sitemaps
  • Custom URLs
  • Internal links
  • Structured data
  • Crawlability
  • URL structure

You will also want to check your mobile setup, pagination, canonical tags, and your robots.txt and Hreflang.

Perform benchmarks tests

Benchmark tests are essential for assessing your migration to the new site. It is especially important to check the following:

  • Load speed
  • Indexing rates
  • Crawl errors
  • Keyword rankings

Remember that you’ll probably have to refer to these benchmarks repeatedly throughout the migration. They will help you identify problem areas if your speed or site ranking declines.

Analyze the key pages of your website

Always focus on key site pages first, as they generate the most revenue. It is advisable to analyze these pages thoroughly to ensure optimal performance.

If you have a large site with hundreds or thousands of pages, focus on the top performers and analyze them individually. It is usually best to direct most of your efforts to the pages that generate the most revenue and have the highest keyword rankings.

Run a site crawler again for comparison

After going through all these steps, it would be good to run your site crawler a second time. This will help you compare the following against your initial results:

  • 404 errors/broken site links
  • Meta titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Redirects

Errors and lost metadata are inevitable during migration. Rerunning your site crawler will help ensure that everything is transferred as intended.

Perform a site audit

The data you gathered during your second site crawl will be invaluable in performing a site audit. At this point, your goal is to verify the following:

  • Internal links
  • Redirects
  • Server response times
  • Noindex/index information

Don’t forget to create a robots.txt file at this stage. Also, make sure to set up necessary canonical tags and verify the performance of your key pages.

Set up your search console and webmaster tools

Remember to add the new site to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools if you change domains. You should also ask your site to be included in the index and submit your XML sitemaps.

You can change your site address at the Google Search Console by clicking on the ‘Settings’ icon and selecting the ‘Change of address’ option.

Test your site for usability

Always test key areas of your site manually for usability. It is especially crucial to check the following to ensure that everything works on mobile and desktop devices:

  • Navigation
  • Forms
  • Downloadable content
  • Checkout processes
  • Live chat features
  • Mailing lists

Monitor analytics and perform cleanups as needed

Finally, remember to check the Google Search Console periodically for errors and warnings and review the analytics and keyword rankings for your key site pages. Pay attention to the following and fix them as needed:

  • Improper redirects
  • Slow loading
  • Lost links
  • Missing meta tags


Migrating to a new website is a time-consuming process, and many things can go wrong. Feel free to add as many procedures as you need to ensure a smooth and trouble-free migration. In any case, the steps outlined above should give you a good start to a successful transition.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.