Website migrations happen throughout a website’s life. When done in the right way, they can result in the growth of your website and business, but when done wrongly, they can bring down your website’s performance and stall your business growth from that channel. Understanding what website migration is and the common mistakes you need to avoid during the process can ensure that your website continues to support your business growth instead of hurting it. 

What is a website migration? 

Although changing hosts, domains or platforms are usually the first things that cross your mind when you hear ‘website migration’, it may refer to so much more than that. Website migration can refer to anything that causes a website to go through substantial changes. This includes a site overhaul or redesign that would affect your website’s content, structure, design, UX, etc. It could also encompass anything that would change the current URLs of a website, like moving from HTTP to HTTPS 

As all these changes can have significant effects on your website’s look, feel, traffic, flow, and more. It is important to take time to identify the details involved and create a plan before starting the site migration process.  

You can make your website migration process simpler and cost-effective with Bluehost. It is a service included in all our WordPress hosting plans and comes with no additional cost. 

However, before you begin the process, be wary of a few common migration mistakes. 

Website migration mistakes to avoid 

When dealing with the changes on your website, especially the big ones, there are several moving parts that you need to get right. By being aware of all of them and avoiding common site migration mistakes, you can ensure that the process is carried out smoothly. Below we have listed a few of these mistakes –  

  • Not having a plan or not thinking about the risks 

Thinking about the risks associated with making a potential change on your website and having a plan is essential. Besides being a common site migration mistake, poor planning is one of the top reasons why website development projects fail.  

Based on how your website is built and the platform it lives on, it can be easy to make changes to your website. Though it is a good thing, it may provide false equivalence between the ease of making those changes and the weight of the consequences of the changes. Just because it is easy to make a change does not mean you can make it by ignoring the issues that may arise afterward. It is important to analyze why you want to make that change and the potential risks that may arise consequently.  

It will help you understand how those changes need to be made and what else you need to do to minimize risks, enabling you to create a plan that gets you what you want while ensuring all the necessary steps are covered to keep your website growing.  

  • Forgoing backups 

Every time you make a change on your website, you should ensure that you have a backup in place, so that you are able to handle if something goes wrong. It is important to have a copy of your current database and website that allows you to go back to the previous version if needed. Or, in the worst-case scenario, it allows you to recreate the website if anything catastrophic were to happen during a website migration. Bluehost’s Choice Plus WordPress hosting plan helps you create a daily backup of your website easily. 

  • Declining to check for errors 

It is important to check for errors before, during and after a site migration. This would help you in identifying and fixing errors before the migration begins or during the process. And, checking the errors once again after the migration will help you catch issues early and fix them before they result in bigger issues. 

Just spelling errors, errant commas or miscellaneous lines of code can cause multiple issues on your website. By checking for these errors through each phase of the site migration, you are minimizing risks for your website and avoiding the negative consequences that can possibly come due to site migration mistakes.  

  • Forgetting to update information ‘off-site’ 

Generally, websites are not the only online assets a business maintains. Social media profiles, business directories, Google Business profiles, and more – all these online assets are ‘off-site’ as they are not on your website but contain information about your website and business.  

So, do not forget to update your business information across these profiles, especially, if you have changed your domain name.  

  • Ignoring redirects and canonical tags 

No matter what you are doing on your website, if you are changing URLs, you need to think about updating canonical tags and redirects. 

  • Redirects 

Without redirects, your old URL will serve a 404 page not found error, and its authority will not be passed on to the new URL. It is also important to have a stock of current redirects in place before you begin with site migration so that you can take them into account. Besides hindering SEO efforts, ignoring redirects can also cause serious navigation issues for your potential customers. By adding and testing the redirects, you can ensure people can still find what they are looking for and ensure that the authority is being passed on along with the new URL.  

  • Canonical tags 

Canonical tags are references in the page’s code that tell search engines what the primary or “master” version of the page is. In many cases, the canonical tag is ‘self-referencing’, meaning, the URL in the tag points to itself. Proper canonical tags can even help in reducing duplicate content and move things along after migration. However, canonical tags are not a replacement for redirects and therefore, should be used in conjunction with them whenever needed. Search engines use redirects as directives while the canonical tags are mainly suggestions.  


Whether it’s some general restructuring, a complete redesign or something else, site migrations are an exciting and necessary part of website growth. Avoiding the above-mentioned common migration mistakes can help the whole process run uninterruptedly and turn out for the best. 

Hope this article helps you smoothen your site migration process. 


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