Sometimes we need to move website to a new domain, either because the old one got hacked or because you want to rebrand your business. Whatever be the reason, if done right, then moving your website a different domain shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s how you can move your website to another domain.
However, before you move your website, it is important to understand its consequences. It takes Google some time to re-index your website and update search results. So you will experience and temporary drop in traffic and revenue. Also, the new website might not rank as well as the old one. So it is advisable to move your website, only if there is no other alternative
How to Move Your Website to Another Domain
1. Create a list of URLs
The first step is to create an exhaustive list of URLs present on your website. This should not only contain all publicly accessible pages but also internal URLs as well as those URLs that are not accessible to search engines. It should also include assets like zip, pdf, images and other downloadable files.
2. Set up Redirects
Since you are permanently moving your website, you need to set up permanent redirects (also known as 301 redirects) for every URL on your website. This way, if any user or search engine bot accesses your old URLs, they’ll be automatically redirected to their new destinations. It also helps Google understand that your URLs have moved, and the search ranking of old URL needs to be assigned to the new ones.
3. Move a sample of content
Don’t move all your pages at once. Start with a small set of low-traffic URLs to understand the impact on traffic and search rankings.
4. Pick a a suitable date & time
Pick a low activity time such as late-nights, weekends or holidays to move your entire site. Also, create a ‘scheduled site maintenance’ page to be displayed when you are moving your website to a different domain. In fact, it is a good practice to email your customers at least 2 weeks ahead about the scheduled downtime. You can also send website notifications about the same.
5. Let Google Know
Once you have switched your domain, it’s time to let Google know about it, using the Change of Address tool in Search Engine Console.
6. Update your Sitemap
Once you have moved your entire website, create a new sitemap using a tools like XML-Sitemaps and submit it to Google Search Engine Console. In fact, Google recommends that you include your old URLs in your new sitemap so it can crawl both URLs and understand which pages have been redirected where.
There are various reasons why you might want to move your website to another domain. Probably, it has grown beyond its initial purpose, or in a different direction altogether. Maybe your customers find it difficult to remember your domain. Or you bought an inexpensive domain back then and now you want to upgrade to a premium one. Whatever be the reason, you need to follow the same steps mentioned above to move your website to another domain.