Changing your site’s URL to a different domain is a big decision, but if you decide that’s what’s best for you and your needs, then you’ll want to make sure it’s done properly. Most professional domain registrar companies offer ways to assist you with a domain transfer. However, knowing the steps and being able to keep track of them yourself allows you to stay in control of the situation and make sure everything gets done the way you want it. If you’re planning on a URL change for your site, follow these tips to get a smooth transition.
The first step in any domain transfer is backing up all the DNS records of your previous domain. DNS records need to be mirrored for the new site, but you can ignore any MX records if you’re keeping email addresses attached to the old domain. You’ll also want to make a list of all the subdomains used with your previous domain, and make sure you recreate them with your new one. Keep a copy of all your backed-up information on a separate hard drive to prevent any loss of information during the transfer.
Once you have all your content backed up and your subdomains set up, it’s time to start a 301 redirect on the old domain to send web traffic to the new domain. Doing this ensures that any users trying to access your old URL will be forwarded to the new one automatically, avoiding potential clients or consumers from seeing a 404 error when trying to visit your site. This step is most manageable when both the old and new domains are part of the same domain registrar, but can still be done if they aren’t.
Making any kind of domain change is all about the right timing. Your site may have to be down for a while as the initial transfer of data happens, and you’ll see a dip in your SEO data as search engines pick back up on the new URL. But timing the migration when there’s the least amount of traffic to your site can ease these problems.
Before you change your domain over, check the record of your site’s traffic and determine the best time to make the switch. The most common downtimes for sites tend to be on weekday nights, but you may find other times work better for your site. Plan ahead, and tell your users when the change is happening so they can know to expect some delays.
Changing your URL to another domain is a time-consuming and sometimes confusing process. By keeping a backup of all your records and setting up a redirect from your old site, you can save time and hassle when you transfer over to the new domain. If you still find yourself having trouble getting the new URL set up, you can contact your domain registrar for quick and professional assistance. With a bit of patience and focused work, your new URL will be up and running smoothly.