A Checklist for Domain Migration Success10 min read

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Are you planning a domain migration? Making sure the transition goes smoothly is essential to keep your online presence intact and prevent any disruptions.

Using a checklist can simplify the process and reduce potential risks. Steps such as updating DNS records and informing stakeholders are vital for a successful migration.

In this article, we will emphasize the value of a well-prepared checklist and offer practical tips for a successful domain migration. Stay tuned for expert guidance on navigating this process with ease.

Pre-planning for a Successful Domain Migration

Conducting a Website Migration Audit

When conducting a website migration audit, consider the following key factors:

  • Analyzing the current domain’s performance
  • Identifying all URLs to be moved to the new domain
  • Ensuring completion of necessary technical SEO audit tasks

A comprehensive migration checklist is crucial for success. It outlines all phases and tasks involved in the process.

Setting up a redirect map is essential. Ensure all existing URLs properly redirect to new URLs using 301 redirects. This helps maintain search engine ranking and traffic by guiding users to the correct pages on the new domain.

By following a domain migration checklist and setting up an effective redirect map, website owners can handle website migration complexities smoothly, avoiding significant issues.

Creating a Comprehensive Migration Checklist

A checklist for domain migration should cover several key elements:

  • Audit the current website’s URL structure.
  • Ensure all necessary redirects are set up.
  • Update the sitemap.

Bill Hartzer, a digital marketing expert, suggests using Google Sheets to track tasks and progress during the migration.

This checklist helps ensure a smooth transition by addressing issues like:

  • Noindex tags.
  • Optimizing the htaccess file for 301 redirects.
  • Monitoring changes in search engine rankings and traffic.

Prioritize tasks by setting deadlines for phases like:

  • Technical SEO audit.
  • Backlink analytics.
  • Site health score evaluation.

This structured approach helps businesses:

  • Mitigate potential issues.
  • Maintain crawlability and performance.
  • Avoid negative impacts on SEO.

Use tools like website crawlers and site audit tools to:

  • Identify and resolve migration issues promptly.
  • Minimize downtime.

Setting Up a Redirect Map

When setting up a domain migration, it’s important to have a redirect map. This map should include:

  • URLs from the old domain
  • Corresponding URLs on the new domain
  • Relevant metadata like page titles and descriptions

This helps search engines like Google understand and index the new website properly. It prevents issues with lost traffic and ranking.

By following a well-organized redirect map, website owners can reduce the risk of losing important backlinks and organic search traffic during the migration.

Using 301 redirects and noindex tags correctly can preserve the SEO value of the old domain while telling search engines to prioritize the new domain in their search results.

By planning carefully and using tools like website crawlers and technical SEO audits, website owners can maintain crawlability and performance throughout the migration phases.

Executing the Domain Migration

Implementing 301 Redirects

To set up a redirect map for implementing 301 redirects during a domain migration:

1. Create a spreadsheet listing old URLs and their new counterparts, using tools like Google Sheets.

This step helps in staying organized and tracking redirects effectively.

2. Focus on updating the htaccess file for platforms like Magento, Shopify, WordPress, or Drupal to ensure the proper implementation of 301 redirects.

This is crucial for a successful domain migration.

3. Conduct a technical SEO audit and use site audit tools to identify any crawlability and indexing issues that could arise.

Addressing these problems early can prevent future challenges.

4. Monitor the new domain’s performance using backlink analytics and track the site health score to maintain ranking and traffic post-migration.

This ongoing monitoring is essential to ensure a smooth transition.

5. Check for issues such as noindex tags, robots.txt, og tags, and DNS records to prevent any negative impact on search engine results.

Addressing these issues promptly can help maintain organic visibility.

By following a comprehensive domain migration checklist, such as the one provided by experts like Bill Hartzer of Hartzer Consulting, you can transition smoothly without losing organic visibility.

Testing the New Domain

When testing the new domain, make sure all necessary 301 redirects are in place and tested. This helps maintain search engine rankings and traffic flow.

Verify that the updated sitemap and robots.txt file on the new domain are working correctly. This ensures search engines can properly index the website.

Identify and address any potential issues with the website browsing experience on the new domain. This is important for a smooth transition for users.

Conduct a technical SEO audit, analyze backlinks, and monitor site health score as part of the domain migration checklist.

Check for any issues with noindex tags or 410 status codes to avoid negative impacts on search results.

Thorough due diligence and testing before the moving day are crucial for a successful domain migration. This helps prevent any negative effects on the website’s performance and ranking.

Updating Sitemaps and Robots.txt

When you’re moving a website to a new domain, make sure to add all the necessary URLs to the updated sitemap.

Include any new sections in the robots.txt file and remove any old URLs that have been redirected properly to prevent search engine problems.

Using tools like Google Sheets or site audit tools can help find crawlability issues.

Bill Hartzer suggests implementing 301 redirects, checking for noindex tag problems, and tracking the new domain’s performance in search results.

By following a thorough migration checklist, which includes updating the htaccess file and checking og tags, site owners can maintain their site’s ranking and SEO health.

Critical Steps for Moving Day

Monitoring Website Browsing Experience

Website owners can use tools like Google Sheets to monitor the browsing experience effectively. They can track important data related to the domain migration process.

Website analytics help in understanding how visitors interact with the website. By tracking user behavior and browsing patterns, it becomes easier to improve the overall experience.

Key indicators to watch out for during the monitoring process include changes in search engine rankings, traffic fluctuations, redirects during domain migration, crawlability issues, and the impact of noindex tags on search results.

Conducting a technical SEO audit, analyzing backlinks, and monitoring the site health score are essential for optimal performance post-migration.

Ensuring the correct implementation of 301 redirects and updating the htaccess file can minimize negative SEO impacts during the move. Maintaining the integrity of the sitemap, robots.txt file, and OG tags, along with monitoring 410 status codes, helps to protect the website’s online visibility.

Being diligent throughout the domain migration checklist phases, from planning to execution, is crucial for a successful transition.

Ensuring Forced HTTPS for Security

Website owners can ensure security during a domain migration by enforcing HTTPS. One way to do this is by setting up a 301 redirect from old HTTP URLs to new HTTPS URLs. This redirect can be done using the htaccess file or server-side redirects to make sure all traffic goes to the secure version.

Forcing HTTPS is important because it helps keep the website’s ranking in search results and provides a smooth user experience after the migration. If HTTPS redirects are not implemented correctly, it can result in a decrease in traffic, problems with search engine crawlability, and potential harm to the website’s overall performance.

To address any issues related to HTTPS migration, website owners can conduct a technical SEO audit. They can also check for 410 status codes and use backlink analytics tools. Following a detailed domain migration checklist and ensuring proper HTTPS implementation can help protect the website’s security and maintain its SEO integrity throughout the migration process.

Post-Migration Checklist

Reviewing and Updating 301 Redirect Mapping

During the domain migration checklist:

  • Review and update all 301 redirects.
  • Make sure they direct to the correct destination URLs.

This prevents issues with search engines and keeps site ranking and traffic stable.

For instance:

  • Use Google Sheets to organize and monitor redirects.
  • This helps streamline the process and avoid errors.


  • Check for new pages or URLs that might need to be added to redirect mapping.
  • This ensures a smooth user experience.

Conduct a thorough website audit:

  • Check for issues like noindex tags or crawlability problems.
  • Address any technical SEO issues to avoid negative impacts on search results.

Prioritize redirect maintenance throughout the migration:

  • Stay diligent during all phases of the process.
  • This is crucial for the successful migration of the website.

Implementing Event Codes for Tracking

When migrating a website, selecting event codes carefully is crucial for accurate tracking after the migration.

Utilizing Google Sheets to organize event codes related to URL redirects, domain name changes, and updates to website content can simplify the tracking process.

Implementing 301 redirects in the htaccess file and adding noindex tags to specific pages can prevent issues like broken links and duplicate content.

This helps preserve search engine rankings and traffic.

After the migration, using backlink analytics and technical SEO audits can confirm that the new domain is crawlable and optimized for search engines.

Analyzing event code data regarding metrics like site health score and backlink analysis can optimize digital marketing strategies to leverage the benefits of the migration.

Following a phased approach in the domain migration checklist, which includes updating social media profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, can maintain brand consistency.

Fine-Tuning Digital Marketing Strategies

When businesses migrate their website, they need to follow a domain migration checklist. This checklist helps ensure a smooth transition. Tasks include setting up 301 redirects, updating internal links, and checking for issues like noindex tags.

Using tools like Google Sheets and website crawlers, companies can do a technical SEO audit. This audit helps monitor site health score and crawlability. Optimizing performance by updating robots.txt, og tags, and backlink analytics is crucial for maintaining search engine ranking and traffic.

For major changes, like moving to a new domain, using a staging environment is important. This helps identify and fix potential problems before the changes go live. After migration, monitoring search results and implementing proper redirects are key to maintaining SEO integrity.

Making sure DNS records and 410 status codes are correct for deleted pages is essential for preserving link equity. Following a comprehensive checklist, such as the one provided by Hartzer Consulting, can help businesses fine-tune their digital marketing strategies for success on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, and other social media channels.

Over to you

For a successful domain migration, businesses must follow a detailed checklist. Here are some important tasks to include:

  • Audit current domain performance.
  • Set up redirects for old URLs.
  • Update internal links and sitemaps.
  • Notify search engines of the change.
  • Monitor website traffic and rankings after migration.

By following these steps carefully, organizations can reduce disruptions and keep their online visibility intact throughout the transition.


What is a domain migration?

A domain migration is the process of moving a website from one domain name to another. This may involve changing URLs, updating redirects, and informing search engines of the change. For example, moving from www.oldsite.com to www.newsite.com.

Why is it important to have a checklist for domain migration success?

Having a checklist for domain migration success is important because it helps ensure all necessary tasks are completed, reduces the risk of errors or oversights, and provides a clear roadmap for the process. Examples include updating DNS records, transferring website files, and testing redirect functionalities.

What are some common challenges during domain migration?

Some common challenges during domain migration include potential downtime, data loss, broken links, and SEO impact. To mitigate these challenges, conduct thorough planning, backup data, set up redirects for broken links, and monitor SEO performance post-migration.

How can a checklist help ensure successful domain migration?

A checklist can help ensure successful domain migration by outlining specific tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. For example, it can include steps like updating DNS records, testing the new site, and notifying stakeholders.

What are some key items to include in a domain migration checklist?

Some key items to include in a domain migration checklist are: updating DNS records, setting up 301 redirects, notifying stakeholders, testing the new domain, and monitoring traffic and rankings.