Why Do You Need to Change Your Domain?
You have planned and been able to succeed in creating the website as you have envisioned it to launch fresh online!
It went live to business and is running online as you have expected. The primary content, design structure, configuration, sitemap, navigation, and all other aspects that you think will stand out to your users are all set on your website. You can connect the dots into one excellent website design, SEO, and organic traffic that your site has been able to generate for quite a while. Suddenly, the ever-changing customer environment has presented you factors that cause you to rationalize your ideas for website migration. Reasons that trigger you to think of changing your domain. Such as a change in the domain name, move to a new, more manageable CMS, more stable framework or server, migrate part of the website, cope with the trend on unique user experience, a brand change or rebranding, issues on tons of bugs to fix, cost-efficacy and security.
You, as well as many others, have gone through exploring the possibility of changing your domain! Imagine at the time you are registering your website. As frequently as it happens, you realize that your domain seems to lose its connection to your brand, and your users. It is dropping search visibility or the need to add value-adding functions, the vulnerability to hackers, have a website that loads faster, and even the trend of having a mobile version of your website. Yes, these are circumstances that require you to consider getting your website’s old domain or expired domain with new fresh pages, a new domain name that goes along with your growing brand, and the essential web content that needs complete webpage redesign structure or website migration from your old domain to a new domain. These are the reasons why you need to change your domain.
Domain migration can be complicated, and to help you in such a challenging process, we have prepared you with a domain migration checklist that comprises essential ways you can use as your guide when you are changing your domain. It is mainly based on our learning experience on reasons and issues faced with domain migrations and how to manage problems that can occur in the process. This checklist can help you to ease the certainty of your domain migration without suffering significant losses or impairment. Instead, gears you up towards the protection of your website investment and engage more users:
1. Domain-Based Licenses
The first step would include the need to think about your domain-based licenses, as well as any third-party scripts or plugins that you are using. Some of these may require registration or a license that supports product licenses for the commercial or intended use. Your domain-based licenses would provide information associated with your domain use, and it functions without enforcing hard user limitations as you have signed and as described in your user license agreement. For instance, if you use adobe fonts from TypeKit.com and will have to update your “Kit” to work with your new domain. Typekit’s function, among other third-party scripts, provides secure web font hosting with unlimited great quality fonts at your fingertips, and subscription license that is cleared for personal and commercial use. There are a lot more than these scripts that bring a variety of licensed functionalities, which you can embed in your webpages, such as ads, analytics, widgets, free images, free video and other scripts or plugins that enable a responsive website. You would want these to be one significant component of your new website when you are done with the domain migration, and your new website goes live.
2. Update Backlinks
You need to contact the webmasters of the websites that were linking to your old domain and request to have them link to the new one. In most cases changing your domain can be simple, but it needs you to be diligent enough to review your existing backlinks as well as the destination domain to ensure it has a clean past. Otherwise, it may cause you with a negative effect on the search engine optimization (SEO) performance of your site. Your website SEO ensures visibility and traffic of your site among search engine result pages (SERP). And the more important benefit of reviewing your backlinks, you would want to identify and keep an update of your most significant external links. This will also determine the type of web sources that are referring to your domain, as well as discover the strong links of your competitor and check which of these are links that can be your trusted web resources. Surely you would not want to lose these success essentials of your new website.
3. Sitemap The Old Domain
Create a sitemap for your old domain to ensure all of your URLs are listed, accessible for testing, and better search queries by search engine crawlers such as Google and Bing. You can use Google Search Console or GSC (formerly Webmaster Tools) to create your sitemap for Google to place a formatted XML file with a sitemap on your webserver. Once you have created your XML sitemap, it will allow (google) search engine crawlers to understand the full content and site configuration of your old domain that will form part of your domain migration process and the launching success of your new domain. Your old domain sitemap provides an organized way to identify the URLs and the data on every section for a faster and efficient search query. From this, the crawlers will have a better index of your site to provide it with the most relevant search query results useful for the domain migration.
So, better ensure that your old domain would have an error-free sitemap and that you have a text sitemap too for a plain and easy listing of all your pages. Also, check xml-sitemaps.com on how to generate your sitemap online.
4. Check SERPs
Monitor search engine results to make sure the new domain is being properly indexed. SERP or Search Engine Result Pages will put your website ranking higher to enable more searchers to click on your website. When search engines respond to a query made by a user, it displays SERP. These pages are unique and list the results in response to a different search or keyword queries used when a searcher is searching for their results. You can use google ads keyword planner, ahrefs.com, and other SERP Checkers for your new domain. The advantage when you use Ahrefs you can get an in-depth look at the profile or search traffic of your new domain and how the search engines (google, bing, youtube, amazon, yahoo, etc.), are ranking your website. See to it that you have a couple of SERP checkers listed in your domain migration checklist.
5. Test 301 Redirects
To know and check the status of your website links and analyze their path, you need to test the redirects from the old domain to the new domain. It is essential that when your user clicks any URL, they know where they are sent. So, ideally, this will be a 1:1 redirect (www.example-old-site.com/category/sexy-mustaches.html to www.example-new-site.com/category/sexy-mustaches.html). It allows you to test these webpages one-is-to-one to check your landing pages.
To check the URLs and correct any redirect chains, you need to download a list of all internal pages and redirects of your old domain. This will effectively perform the testing of all redirects from your old domain to the new one. There are Test Redirects tools such as Google Optimize that you can use but make it as simple as you can to visualize your redirect path, determine your cookie alert or suspicious links, or identify the need for the full redesign of one of your webpage, or just to discover how many redirects your domain migration would undoubtedly have. You might see too many redirects to use.
6. Change Internal Links
Make sure you take special care of the quality and not only on the number of your internal links when you change your domain as it will affect the strength of your new domain and the performance of your landing pages. Do not forget to change the internal links of your new domain to point them to the correct elements or URLs. Same with your external links, the URLs of your internal links are of relevance too, check that you are not carelessly omitting each URL. And that these links all pointing correctly deep down to your target webpage. Your internal links connect the content of your website. Thus, it provides an idea to Google of the structure of your new domain. When you have correctly checked and updated your internal links, it is easy for your new domain to boost its SEO and emphasize the most important contents and webpages of your website.
Bear in mind that internal links are your tool to keep users in the same tab, as it helps them better understand the navigation structure of your website and stay quite long in navigating the entire website. So, maintain your internal links to serve this purpose and point it to the element, usually further down or up your webpage, and that element you are linking to opens within the same tab that the user is on. Ahrefs.com can be useful in checking how your internal links intersect and changing these internal links to point to the URLs,
7. Update Local Citations
Update Any Listings You Have in Business Directories or other local site citations. Crawlers would find any instance anywhere online, such as a citation of your Name, Address, and Phone (NAP). Local citations are the best options when you would want your new domain to get the attention of search engines or your potential customers. Citation building takes some time, but it effectively lasts long, though. Bet