One of the challenges in the website making world is moving your WordPress site to a new domain. This is definitely not an easy feat and it can have effects on the traffic that you have previously generated. This can affect your search engine rankings while Google and other search engines adjust to the changes your website is going through. These are but temporary though.
Before you go through the process, know that these steps are for those with web hosting accounts and those who are familiar with their web hosting control panel. You will also need to know how to use FTP.
Create A Full Backup
Backup everything on your website. Before moving, make sure to create a full back up of everything in your website- from your blog posts to themes, plugins and anything in between. You don’t want to lose your data, because then you’d be starting from scratch.
Move Your WordPress Site
Install the plugin Duplicator on your old site then activate it. After activating, the plugin will add a Duplicator menu item in your WordPress admin. Click on the Duplicator menu and click on the create button and you have a new package.
The duplication process will start when you click the create button. The plugin will then ask you to give you your package name. Next, the plugin will now start creating a zip package of your site’s database and all your other files. Once the process is complete, you will be taken to the duplicator packages screen. Download the package and installer files on your PC.
You now need your FTP program and connect it to your new website. Your root directory should be completely empty. Then, upload the installer.php file and your package zip file to the new site. After this, launch the installer.php in a web browser. Go to http://www.your newsite.com/installer.php to access this. The installer will ask for your database information for the new site the check on the box for table removal.
Check the necessary box and click Run Deployment. The duplicator will then extract the package and install the database from the old site. Your WordPress site will then be installed along with your themes and plugins. After this, update your URLs on the update page.
Now, resave your permalinks by logging into your new site’s WordPress admin with the same log in details as the previous site. Go to settings and then click on the permalinks tab in your new site’s WordPress admin. Click save. Delete the files for installer.php, installer-log.txt and installer-data.sql using FTP. Check on your website for possible problems.
Set Up Permanent 301 Redirects
To do this, connect to your old site with FTP and edit .htaccess file. Open this file and paste this code:
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.COM/$1 [R=301,L]
Notify Google About The Change
After the drastic changes, notifying Google about all the changes is the next thing to do. First, login to Google Webmaster Tools account and submit a change of address. Click on your site, and browse at the left menu under configuration. Through this, google can be notified about your new site and the transfer that happened.
Notify Your Users
The 301 redirects can do the job but you can still help by making a public announcement about the huge move. Write a blog about it and you will see that it’s a big help. Not only will your users know about the new domain, you can also ask them to let you know if there are bugs. This can help you to test your site in various browsers and system environments,
Now, expect all the changes that are about to take over. Expect the traffic to lighten up for a few days but rest assured that everything will be back to normal eventually, as long as you set all the necessary things you have to do to let your users know about the big move you had.
Just continue doing your thing, make the necessary changes and experiment further on what you can do to improve your website. Eventually, the traffic will come pouring back and you will be back on track in no time.