Many online business owners get nervous at the prospect of a website migration. It can be a complicated process, and if it goes wrong, your business can suffer some significant losses. Migrating websites may be a common occurrence, but it’s important not to be complacent in planning and executing a site move.

There are plenty of reasons for a site migration, including moving out of development and publishing a live site, moving from one platform to another, or migrating from one domain to another for a total rebrand. You have to be very careful when migrating a website because when handled poorly, it can lead to traffic loss, rankings loss, and even revenue loss for an unknown amount of time.

How Long Should a Website Migration Take?

One of the main concerns for website owners is how long a website migration will take. It’s a simple question, but the answer is complicated. The length of time needed to perform a website migration depends on a lot of different factors. Here are a few to keep in mind when trying to determine a timeline for a website migration:

Website Size

One of the first considerations you should make during a website migration is the size of your website. During the migration process, you will need to complete a long list of tasks including crawling the original site, exporting top pages, URL redirect mapping, downloading backup files, and much more. The amount of pages your website contains will greatly affect how long these types of tasks will take.

For a basic website with a small number of pages, migration tasks may be tedious, but they shouldn’t be too drawn out. However, for an ecommerce website with hundreds or thousands of products, this process could take much longer.

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Website Platform

Your website platform also makes a difference in the timeframe of your website migration. Whether you using a basic hosted WordPress account or an enterprise ecommerce platform like Shopify, your migration will be affected by the capabilities of your website foundation. If you are a WordPress user, you can choose from a variety of plugins to help you with your migration. You also might want to contact your website platform specialists or view forum topics for tips on website migration specific to your system.

Keep in mind, in addition to your website platform, you are also reliant on the speed and dependability of your domain name servers and website hosting providers for your migration too. Moving a website between old and new web hosts can cause a domain to go offline for up to 72 hours after the request for the change is made to the new registrar. That’s a lot of downtime for a business with decent traffic!

Resource Bandwidth

It’s important to understand the website migration process, including all of its challenges and risks. If something goes wrong, you and/or your team may have to spend numerous hours trying to fix it. Before you migrate your website, you should lay out your goals, processes, and plans, and make sure to communicate these elements to everyone on your team to be as prepared as possible.

Remember, no matter how much planning you do, there is always a risk that things can go wrong. Make sure you are not doing a website migration during a peak time for your business, such as during the busy season or around the holidays. Also, don’t try to rush a migration as that will only increase your risk.

Whatever you do, be sure to do your homework. Website migrations are usually undertaken to improve aspects of your business online. However, with improper planning and execution, migrations can often lead to nightmare scenarios. By considering the timing and process of your website migration, you are already headed towards a successful transition.