It’s unfortunate when your current website host is no longer up to snuff, but if your expectations aren’t being met or your business has outgrown its current home, it’s time for a change. When you migrate your site to WordPress, you’re switching servers. In most cases, this means upgrading to faster load times, lower prices, better customer service and other key features designed to make your life easier and provide a better user experience.

Here’s what you can expect from a website migration and a quick look at the steps you can take to facilitate the best possible result.

The Basics of Website Migration

Much like moving your real-world home, website migrations are complex and involve many moving parts. At the very least, you’ll need to:

  • Create a backup of your current site
  • Transfer all existing data
  • Go through a series of tests to ensure everything’s in working order
  • Migrate your DNS

Done correctly, a site migration is practically seamless; your site should operate uninterrupted and your audience won’t even know anything is happening. An incorrectly executed site migration may result in a drop in traffic, poor website performance or even the loss of your entire site.

How Long Does a Site Migration Take?

This is the most important question for many business owners since no one wants to be surprised by a longer-than-expected downtime. The good news is that most site migrations won’t involve any downtime at all — the new site should be live before the old one is archived — but migration is still a potentially time-consuming process, and you may have to put other updates on hold in the meantime.

Because migration speed depends on variables such as the size of your website, the platform (or platforms) involved and how experienced your migration team is, it’s almost impossible to estimate how long it will ultimately take. That said, automation tools and an experienced migration team can make the entire process faster and more efficient, especially if you avoid making costly mistakes that require lengthy fixes.

A Few Tips and Tricks

While it’s always good to partner with a professional when making major changes to your website, here are a few suggestions to help a DIY migration go smoothly:

  • Don’t cancel with your old provider before you’ve verified everything is satisfactory with your new host. The last thing you want to do is lose access to your backups before your data has properly transferred.
  • Always test your site before it goes live. It’s crucial to know ASAP whether your content is rendering as desired and if site links are correct.
  • Keep monitoring your site even after it’s live. Some glitches won’t show up until weeks or even months later, and overlooking those could lead to a dip in rankings and/or traffic.

The WP SitePlan team helps our clients migrate their websites to WordPress every day. For more information on how our developers can build, manage and support your WordPress site, contact us today.