In the last few weeks we completed work on migrating a couple of clients sites from an old content management system to a new one, and man it took some really effort to get it done! We had a thorough website migration plan in place and the execution went fairly well (although we had some minor glitches but those were manageable). I thought to share the outline of the migration plan with our blog readers.
Before migrating to a new site you should assess and measure the performance of the old site in using various data sources including the analytics tool implemented on the site (e.g. Google Analytics). Below you’ll find few reports that could guide you in what areas of the old site requires more attention in migration.
Referring traffic: we recommend you create pages with the same URL structure (or use 301 redirects) so that the referral traffic doesn’t end up with a page not found (bad user experience).
Top organic keywords: review the keywords that are bringing you organic traffic (and potentially conversions) and have a plan to ensure that you’ll continue to rank on such keywords and more importantly get traffic from this ranking (make sure you migrate title and meta tags, pay attention to all SEO factors that led to your ranking, etc).
Top content: you might want to transfer these pages from the old site to the new site without any changes, especially if these pages were bringing good traffic (traffic that had low bounce rate, relatively high conversion, etc).
Top exit pages: take this opportunity to improve these pages as you transfer them to the new site.
Site overlay: it will help you to identify which sections on the web page attracted clicks (and clicks that led to achieving site objectives), and accordingly great care should be taken into migration these sections.
Usage: Identifying the number of people using the site search will help you in deciding placement of the search box and possibly upgrading to a more sophisticated search feature.
Search terms: you could use the search terms that visitors type as a way to understand the customer intent and thus making what people are searching for very prominent or easily accessible on the new site.
Reverse goal path: It will identify which pages lead visitors to convert. (these pages should be transferred to the new site with a lot of attention).
Funnel visualization: It will help you identify pages that need improvement (pages where visitors exited the funnel).
The above points are just some sample reports you might want to run and provide useful data to your design and implementation teams.