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Moving On: Managing Your Website Migration

A successful transition can be as easy as asking the right questions.
September 27, 2010
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217355

If your business is growing, you might be realizing that your Web designer isn't capable of growing with you. Either way, you might want to migrate into a newer system with more features No matter what the situation, moving a website to a new firm or upgrading to a new site requires a plan. You need to ask yourself what you can do to prepare. Here are some items to help you interview new firms and begin to create a plan for a smooth, successful transition.

Understand the Technology and What's Yours

When you grow your website, often it means you've outgrown an existing system:


The Workflow Process

Not all Web development firms are the same, and when you're evaluating a firm's process and workflow, management can really make a difference in a working relationship.

Evaluate this from two sides: the website development process and the upkeep process. Depending on the size of the firm you work with, they may be two different teams with different workflow procedures.

The Initial Project Process

Here are some questions to get you started for the initial project:

Support After the Project

Be sure you really understand the company and the people you'll be working with after as well as during the project:

Beta and Development Sites

During a new project, you usually work on a live platform environment. Once the website is ready to be made live, you do not want to test new functions or add new features on a public website. It's important to find out if your new firm is providing you with a development site. Development sites are a great place for you to train new staff and test out new functions before they are rolled into the active website. They are also a great place to work on mobile testing and browser compatibility issues when integrating new languages like HTML5.

DNS Propagation and the Launch

To properly plan a project there needs to be a launch date. This holds everyone accountable during the project. Identify a date that would be the launch of your new website or transitioned website and work backwards Set realistic goals for your team and the firm you are working with and remember to take note of holidays and vacation schedules. Keep in mind that if the site is an upgrade or change to new technology, you need to be realistic about time for training, adding in new content and re-categorizing products or articles based on your new system.

To launch on a new server, you often need to point your domain name from one server to another. Every firm has a different idea for quickly propagating a DNS transfer; be sure to ask about this process and how it will affect your website's downtime and your e-mail.

Moving on can be a painful process if you're not prepared. Ask the right questions and make decisions based on the answers that connect with you and your business philosophies.