When moving your website to a new domain you should ensure that search engines continue to drive traffic to the new location and that your search engine rankings aren’t lost in the process. To make your move easier, there are several steps that you should follow and consider.
1) Secure Your New Location
Whether you are moving your website because you need a change or you are going in a completely new direction in regards to your business, you need to secure your new domain name first. Sometimes, the name for your new location may already be taken, so it’s best to secure a name that you can use before you move your website.
2) Set Your Move Date
Setting a date for your move is very important as it creates a timeline for you to work towards that confirmed date. When you set a date, you can make all of the needed preparations for a successful, seamless move. Dates and timelines will help keep you on track and be focused on your priorities.
3) Prep the New Location
You may have quite a bit of preparing to do depending on what needs to be done for your move. Everyone’s prep list can vary widely. You may need a new license or permit if you are moving your business to a new location. Set up all of your hosting requirements, test your domain name to ensure that it functions properly, and ensure that the server meets your website’s needs. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your hosting company offers everything that you need and want.
4) Pack Up, Move, and Get Set-up for Operation
You can still be in business from your old location when you are preparing your new one. Fantastic! If you are revamping your entire website, get all of your design tools ready and your servers in working order before you open for business. Keeping your current website design? If yes, then you need to copy your website to a new server, change your logo or new domain name, and test your links so that they direct to your new URL.
5) Redirect Your Traffic
Ensure that people know about your new location. Set-up proper redirects to drive traffic automatically from your old website to your new one. If your old website is on an apache server, set-up your redirects in your .htaccess file. You can implement a global redirect like to one below if your website transferred over without changing the names or location of specific file names.
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
If your move includes a whole new website that doesn’t match your old website, then you’ll need to set up page by page redirects by adding a code like this for each page:
Redirect 301 /oldpage.htm http://www.site.com/page.htm
6) Keep Your Rankings
Using 301 redirects transfers all your traffic, but your website will have little or no online visibility. It will take time before your rankings will no longer be affected by the change of your links, URLs, and domain name. The best thing to do is be patient.
7) Keep Your Old Location
Keep your old domain name forever because there are some people that you can’t inform of your change. Your aim is to keep your redirect functioning from your old location and domain. If you give up your old domain name, you will lose the transferred link to your new location. The last thing you want is to lose clients and business.
8) Get the Word Out
Let everyone you know that you’ve moved. Notify them of your new link and ask them to change the old link. Yahoo Site Explorer helps you locate all of your back links. It’s best to start changing all of your back links as soon as possible.
Summarized from http://bit.ly/2JRC6b and modified.