The sun rises, the sun sets, animals are born, and animals die, in between them is change. Change is not exclusive to the natural world we live in; it extends its reach even in business; one such change may require a company to move a WordPress website to a new domain name.
Why Would Someone Move A Site to A New Domain Name?
The changes we often see in business require a quick reaction to the events on the ground; for instance in a case of change of business names because of a takeover, a merger or even a superstitious belief about a name. Whatever the case, the name change has to follow online with a change in the domain name.
Or, maybe a short, snappy, user-friendly, SEO-friendly name reflects the new you, whatever the case, consideration has to be put in place as you grapple with moving a WordPress site to new domain.
Why grapple? Because there is the SEO aspect to consider.
Over the years, your domain name has most certainly gained traction from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all the other search engines – you wouldn’t want to lose on this organic traffic, would you?
What you want to achieve with any move or change, is a seamless transition from the old domain name to the new one. You want to keep all parties happy; the client, the website users, and search engines.
That only happens when you put thought to the transfer process.
Plan for it, consider everything required for the move. Chart out a migration plan stretching into weeks or months.
Eventually, your planning ends with the actual move.
How to Move A WordPress Site to A New Domain Without Losing SEO
Part One: move the WordPress website to a new domain name.
- Purchase the new domain name and hosting (if you are changing hosts). If you are using the same server, and if it allows you to host multiple domain names, you can create an add on domain.
- Backup the old website – the files and database.
- Create the required databases and then Import the new website to the new server.
If you want to save on some stress calls from the client, then leverage the tools available to you.
Consider, our very own WPVivid Free WordPress Website Backup and Migration Plugin.
We’ve built an excellent tool with desirable features that is free for managing any WordPress website.
To move a WordPress site to New Domain, you are particularly interested in the transfer feature. We have a great article here on how to transfer a WordPress website. It works for any transfer you may need.
Follow the guide to move your website to a new domain, and then return to this page for the second part of moving a WordPress site to a new domain name without affecting your SEO.
Part Two: Consider Visitors and Search engines.
The first part is the actual change of the domain name and moving all your data to the new servers if you are changing hosts.
In the second part, we consider how to make a seamless move that does not interfere with the user experience that could result in loads of broken links and a drop in search rankings since the new domain name we’ve moved to is yet to be indexed by search engines.
- Configure 301 Redirects
The 301 redirects inform search engines to index the new website instead of the old site in their search index.
It also helps redirect visitors to your old website to the content they are looking on the new domain name.
All traffic to the old domain name should be transferred to the new domain name, you do that by configuring the old site or domain to redirect traffic to the new domain name.
This is accomplished easily on a cPanel host by adding a line of instruction to the .htaccess file.
The .htaccess file is found in the public directory of your website. Edit it and on the top of the file, add this code – replacing “newdomain.tld” with your new domain name.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newdomain.tld/$1 [R=301,L]
Save and browse the old website. As should be expected, you are redirected to the new domain name.
- Notify Search Engines of the change in domain names.
This is one critical part of the process as you move a website to a new domain name.
Search engines provide website masters with tools to monitor and learn from their websites to better their search performance.
Google provides Google Search Console, whereas Bing provides Bing Webmaster Tools. Google is a definite must, but, consider which search engine generates you the most traffic. Go to its webmaster tools to make the changes.
In the case of Google Search Console, add and verify your new domain name.
Once you have added your new domain name, scroll down and click Go to the old version
Click the gear icon; then click Change of Address.
Follow the instructions in the Change of site address tool.
For, Bing Webmaster tools, Add the new domain name first, followed by clicking on the old domain name, then select “Site Move” under “Diagnostic & Tools.”
- Finally, notify your clients of the change.
Done right, moving a WordPress site to New Domain will have a slight bump on your SEO as search engines adopt the new changes.
On the other hand, it should be a seamless transition to your clients with a proper 301 redirect implemented on the old website.
Our plugin, WPvivid backup, and migration plugin make the transfer to a new domain name or server a breeze. The plugin takes care of all the nitty-gritty required to move your website from one domain name to another successfully.
With this knowledge, you should never hold back on taking the full strides of change to scale your business.
I hope this article has been helpful. You may also want to learn how to SEO a new WordPress site.