Domain migration refers to moving data from one system to another without losing critical information and maintaining system security. It is often done by organizations that need to upgrade systems and transfer data into new systems, such as when creating a web page. In that case, all code, regardless of markup language and content used, should be transferred from one domain to another.
The idea behind domain migration is to move data in whatever format, so it remains usable even with the new system in place. That means transferring all files while keeping their original format.
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When Is Domain Migration Necessary?
An organization may need to carry out domain migration given the following scenarios:
Rebranding often requires migrating to a new domain. Since this is a big business decision, domain migration should be done carefully to ensure existing customers maintain a positive experience even if your site moves. Companies need to understand that changing a domain to reflect its new brand message and name can pose several challenges to website visitors and search engines. As such, it is crucial to let visitors know that while the domain may have changed, they are still in a familiar place. That way, you will not lose customers to competitors.
It is also crucial to consider transferring as much of your old domain’s authority to the new domain. That means keeping mentions on external websites by redirecting old page links to their new home.
Shifting from a Generic to Geography-Specific Domain
Domain migration also occurs when organizations change from a generic top-level domain (gTLD), such as .biz, .net, or .com, to a geographically specific domain. It is often more viable to use a country-code TLD (ccTLD) to appeal to local markets. Using ccTLDs helps companies appear more approachable to specific target audiences.
But it is also possible to use a combination of TLDs. Often, companies consolidate various ccTLD sites under their primary gTLD home page. An example would be making yourwebsite[.]org your main website. Under it, you can have various country-level sites, such as yourwebsite[.]org[.]uk, yourwebsite[.]org[.]fr, and so on.
Moving from a Web-Hosted to an Internally Managed Domain
Most companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), start with a site that is hosted by a third-party provider such as WordPress. As their operations become bigger, most feel the need to host their own websites, which is an excellent business decision since they can focus more on building a solid brand identity.
In most cases, website hosts can help with the domain migration process. It is advisable, though, to know about and follow the full migration process yourself, which we detailed below.
Domain Migration Stages
Successful domain migration requires following these steps:
1. Time the Migration
Timing is critical because you do want the changes to affect existing applications or systems. Ideally, domain migration is done before a vital product launch, so website visitors have a reason to visit your new site other than experiencing the changes you just made.
2. Plan the Migration Process
Every domain migration should follow a detailed map that includes all the items that must be transferred. Should changes be implemented to make sure old pages and applications run on the new domain? Did you leave out essential items? Maintaining full control of the process is critical to ensure the success of the domain migration.
3. Launch the New Domain
Once the domain migration is done, you can launch the new domain. Before that, though, test everything. Make sure everything runs without a hitch so as not to turn off site visitors, especially loyal customers.
4. Monitor the Domain Migration
The work does not stop with the launch of your new domain. You need to continue monitoring the new site for glitches and fix them so they will not adversely affect user experience (UX).
Domain migration is an exciting but daunting task. It should be timed and done in a way that will bring optimal effects for any organization. And so, just like any significant venture, make sure to assess everything carefully before actual implementation.