How To Transfer Blog Posts From Site To Site: Obstacles and Tips
I'm currently moving my posts from the old website to the new one, and I decided to post about the process and things that are useful to keep in mind, so everything goes smoothly.
In addition to this, I've researched a little bit about how the migration of content impacts SEO and what can be done along the way, so you don't lose the traffic you had before on your old website (platform).
Firstly, I'd highly recommend creating a strategy for moving, even if it's in the form of a simple checklist. Anyway, let's expand on the strategy first.
Create a website migration strategy
Having a strategy for an obvious task like moving content between platforms (sites) might seem unnecessary. Still, there are many nitty-gritty details that might disrupt the process and make it difficult at some point.
You might want to implement a strategy to make the whole process productive and preserve the value you already have in the content you wrote and published earlier.
A good strategy has a prioritization. It's worthwhile to consider migrating with top priority the blog posts that perform the best or moving a category (series) of posts in a batch.
It might be important to move the series of posts in chronological order so that internal links will not be broken.
This might look weird to publish a batch of posts in one day or even in one hour. It's not only an issue for search engines that crawl your content, but for your regular readers and new visitors as well.
Perhaps scheduling and some kind of hierarchy make sense in most of the cases. Of course, if the platform you're using, and software allows you to schedule and auto-post your content.
I'd recommend scheduling publishing ahead of time. So you always have a gap of time if you don't have content to post or your schedule is disrupted with something else.
Tips for website migration
Make a list of all of your posts.
A quick life hack here is to go to your root URL and add /sitemap.xml at the end of your URL.
This will open up a page that contains all of your content. It might not look neat, but actually, there is not a lot of code, and for migration purposes, you really don't need to understand this code. Just look for URL addresses. You can create a checklist with all these URLs and cross out pages and blog posts that you no longer need.
Don’t use duplicate content.
Do not keep the same content up on your old website. That might badly impact your SEO.
Search engines, in general, don't like duplicates. Using duplicate content can make you take a hit in search rankings and hurt your traffic.
Meaning, it might be more difficult for people to find your content because of this.
Instead of duplicate blog posts, it's better to use redirects.
Redirects with .htaccess
You can do that on your platform or access your folder with on server and change the file .htaccess.
This is what you need to add to your .htaccess file located in your website's root folder.
Make sure you have this line:
You don't need to add it if you already have it in .htaccess.
Here is an example of a line that redirects one page to the page on a different website (domain):
Redirect 301 /blog/your-post https://website.com/blog/your-post
You can add as many commands as you want. Perhaps there is a more automated way to do that, but that's something I found convenient in my case.
Basically, each time visitors of the old link trying to access it, they'll be instantly redirected to the new address(es) you've specified in .htaccess.
Re-write your old content
This might be time-consuming, but some of your content might be outdated. So to keep things fresh, it's a good idea to remove the outdated bits and pieces, add some fresh info and resources or even make your content more evergreen.
The time is ticking, and things change. It makes total sense to re-write some part and or even the whole thing if you feel like it.
So that can be an alternative way to redirects even tho it usually takes more time.
A combination of both
You can go further and move a post over to your new site but change only a small part of it, or just edit it and improve some of the expressions and wording. Plus, maybe you might consider expand on some of the topics within the post and make your content even richer.
Update internal links
Make sure you update the links and posts are interlinked, taking into account your new address.
Too many redirects can bog down your server and slow down your website, along with lowering your page rank.
Find and remove broken pages.
Check on existing pages and old URLs to avoid or reduce "page not found" situations.
Blank 404 errors or pages simply do not have any value for your visitors. In the case of 404, you can add some kind of a menu and possible directions for visitors that got lost on your site.
You might consider adding the most popular pages or blog posts. Maybe generate them automatically in the platform you're using.
A search bar might be useful if you have a lot of content. So that people can find what they're looking for faster.
404 can serve as a simplified index and a tool for you to reduce friction for your website users.
In general, it’s better to delete lost pages or links to avoid people visiting the 404 pages. However, a backup plan can fix the disrupted traffic on your site.
Have a contingency plan in case things go wrong
Back things up before starting the migration process. Seriously, you never know what might happen on the server-side or even with your internet connection. Better be safe than sorry.
Backing up should be one of the first items on your checklist.
Thoroughly test everything on your website prior to and post-migration
Go through every piece of content you migrated and check everything. By everything, I mean links if images load correctly and are not cached in your browser.
Make sure SSL works, of course, if you use it. Sometimes, embedded content and images can have old source links and that might show your page as not secure (HTTP, not HTTPS).