When looking at the prospect of undergoing a website redesign, the entire process can seem a bit overwhelming. You may be plagued by seemingly endless questions. Where do I start? What is the best approach? Will the URL structure change? How do I want to focus my SEO? What content on my existing website is still relevant? A website redesign has a lot of moving parts, putting a plan into place ahead of time is the only way to succeed.
Fortunately, a lot of ground work can be laid for a seamless approach to website content migration. The inbound marketing agency you parther with will help you craft and implement a plan for migrating your content. They will also help you stay organized and on track for an on-time, on-budget and low stress website launch.
As you migrate your website from WordPress (or any other website platform) to the HubSpot COS here are some best practices to keep in mind.
Start By Laying the Content Migration Foundation
Sitemap & Navigation Structure
First off, take an assessment of all the pages on your current website and document them thoroughly.
This type of assessment is usually done by compiling a sitemap, which is an overview of the pages contained within your website. Sitemaps show an organized list of what pages are accessible to your users as well as web crawlers like Google and Bing. Things you will want to include in your sitemap are page names, associated pages, URLs and any URL changes that you will want moving forward. Be sure to also check your current site for broken links.
Next, conduct an assessment of all current website content and images so you can decide what you want to move. Are there pages on your current site with low traffic or outdated information that don't need to be moved? What about content that no longer makes sense or needs to be re-written? Are there new pages you should include? Maybe you’ve identified missing content or added a new service offering or product. Document these changes, additions or page removals in your sitemap.
Consider your goals, your needs, your budget, and your strategy moving forward. Will this only be a content migration where you are retaining your current content? Are you rebranding and shedding lots of older, less pertinent content? Will you be doing this in stages? What about your budget, does it realistically reflect the type of changes you want to make moving forward?
Does your old URL structure make sense for your website redesign strategy? Be aware of current best practices for URL structures. Let’s start with 301 Redirects, which are permanent redirects that inform the search engines and your users that a page has moved. Some reasons that you'll have 301 redirects include; pages that aren’t moving over to the new website, and pages that will have a new URL structure. Essentially a 301 redirect is similar to forwarding your mail after you move, you want to make sure the important information is still finding its way to where it belongs. A 301 redirect will help retain all the hard work you have put into the page that existed, and forward it to new areas of your website where that information now resides. You will also want to be sure to map all 301 redirects in your sitemap. When creating URLs remember they should be easy to digest. When possible you want your URL to be readable. Using keywords in your URL is also a great idea, as long as it actually relates to what is contained on the page.
Now that you’ve moved past the planning stages of the sitemap, navigation, and URL structure, it's time to select a new website template. First, consider what functionality you will want, carefully look at what the template will provide and if it’s really a good fit. Work with your agency team to help answer questions, concerns, or simply to help you figure out what options might work best to fit your needs.
When choosing your template be sure to test for responsiveness. Consider your end users as you test what functionality, browsers, and devices this template will be used for. There are a number of great tools out there that can help check software. You can use HubSpot’s own tool for checking or a software like CrossBrowserTesting.
As we near the proverbial finish line we have to make sure to run through our pre launch checks. If you were using any tracking codes, like Google analytics, make sure that you reinstall them onto your new website. Be sure to check all of your on-page SEO factors like title tags, meta description, and h1 tags. Now that your new website has been built and your content moved over, it’s important to check and make sure that all of your internal links are linked correctly. We like to use some of the readily available tools like the Validator Link Checker
Site Walk Through
We are now at the final step before launch - reviewing all the pages on the website. You will want to double check on page SEO factors. Make sure to re-read all content to make sure it’s satisfactory with no misspellings or contextual errors and that all of your images are in place.
Once you have completed the site walk through you are ready the flip the switch on your new website! Remember, a new website is just the beginning. View your website as an evolving and growing entity. Don't let your new website grow stagnant by not regularly updating it.
Lynton is a HubSpot Elite Partner that provides certified knowledge and tools to grow your business through integrated inbound marketing, including lead generation strategies, website designs and development, and CRM integrations.