Checklist for Migrating Your Site to a New Domain Name

by: maestrojed recently changed our domain name to Outlier.comThis can be a tricky move if you don't follow the proper procedure. We showed you an earlier post about migrating Google Apps, and now we're sharing our checklist wih you to move your old site as well. Enjoy!

See the tutorial for Migrating Google Apps To a New Domain Name

1. You need to have 301 redirect rules in place for every page on your old site. If the paths did not change, only the domain did, a generic rewrite rule could be crafted. If all of the URLs will be different, as they usually are, you need to redirect each page. The last thing you want is every page you have in Google's cache going to a 404, page not found error. That would be terrible for your users and it will decimate your search engine placement; forcing you to start your SEO rank over. These 301s will help teach the search engines how your new site is arranged.

  • Get a list of what old pages are currently in google's cache.

    • Install and Activate the Firefox extension "SEO Quake".

    • Go to Google Search.

    • Go to Search Settings and turn off Google Instant Predictions and set the Results Per Page to 100. (You can change this back afterwards)

    • Activate SEO Quake

    • Search for your site in Google's cache using:

    • One of the SEO Quake options is to Save to File.

    • Paginate through all the Google results, for each page use the "Append the File" option.

    • You now have a spreadsheet of all your pages. Feel free to remove columns that don't matter to you.

  • Create a new column and add the new URL that you want to redirect to. Most likely pages and topics won't match up 100%. Just do your best.

  • Manipulate and export this data in rewrite rules. This will depend on how you plan on writing your rewrite rules. I will describe two methods that Outlier uses:

    • Outlier develops on Drupal. For other Drupal users there are two modules that will help you make this a breeze.

    • When we are not using Drupal, we do our redirects using Apache's rewrite module and .htaccess overrides

      • Create or modify a .htaccess file in your webroot.

      • Activate mod_rewrite by adding the first line to the .htaccess file.

        Add all of your rules, one per line. See the example below. (Use your spreadsheet program to create this format, I use the Concatenate() function alot)

        RewriteEngine on
        ^oldDir/oldFile\.html? [R=301]
        ^foo/bar\.html? [R=301]

2. Scan within all your files for your old domain name. You can do this with most IDEs or using grep.

  • grep -R "" /var/www/*

3. If you are using a CMS, consider where in the backend that you will have to update. If you use Drupal this may include:

  • Site Information (admin/config/system/site-information)

  • Files paths (admin/config/media/file-system)

4. Think about any third party scripts or plugins that you are using. Some may have require registration or a license. For instance we use and will have to update our "Kit" to work with our new domain.

5. Google:

  • Analytics - add your domain

  • Adwords - update your ads to use your new domain

  • Webmaster Tools - add your new url, go to your old url and submit a "Change of Address" request

  • Places / Local / G+

  • Maps / Address

  • Adsense

6. Update the Profiles of Your Social Media Accounts.

7. Update Any Listings You Have in Business Directories.

8. Redirect the Domain!


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