A hacked Website, an outdated platform, a non-responsive developer – these are some of common reasons to start a brand-new website development project and rebuild your website. Points to remember before making sure your new site is well designed, ADA complaint and has been thoroughly tested on the hoard of internet-enabled devices.

1. DNS – Domain Name System

Your network team knows how DNS works but your web team most likely doesn’t have a clue. It’s no wonder why they are in the dark about it, it has been described as the “yellow pages” of the internet. You might as well be talking about rotary phones.

Common DNS related mistakes during website migrations:

  • Poor Planning: You accidentally migrate DNS hosting to a new platform provider (and lose all your old DNS records) so now your email stops working and you can’t access your old website.
  • The Dreaded Overwrite: You migration plan is to overwrite the old site with the new one. You not only lose your chance to revert, you are losing all your old content. You had better hope you got all those “low-priority” pages because they are now gone forever.
  • Sub Optimal settings: Your TTL was set too high and now, despite “flipping the switch”, your new site isn’t available for hours. And in the event of a botched deployment, switching back “quickly” to the old site is not an option.

2. URLS, Search and Search Engines

Your website is a collection of resources (pages, images, documents), all accessible on the web by Universal Resource Locators or URLs. Everything about navigating and finding content on your website depends on the consistency of these URLs.

  • Links within your pages and the main navigation point to these URLs
  • Search engine indexes point back to these URLs
  • Search engine ranking is dependent on the structure of the URLs
  • Other websites (“backlinks”) point to these URLs
  • Digital advertising campaigns link back to these URLs
  • Other marketing materials, including printed materials, may reference these URLs

Common URL, Search and SEO related mistakes during website migrations:

  • 404 Hell: Redirects for old links aren’t working because it was practically impossible to test with your production domain name prior to deployment. There are a ton of links to your website out there in cyberspace that are now pointing nowhere and while your team plays whack-a-mole trying to fix things, your SEO plummets.
  • Not-so-hyper Hyperlinks: You go live and links in the production site are now pointing back to your test domain. They’ll “appear” to work, but they are on the wrong domain. The search engine “crawlers” come around and index your site, pointing search traffic to your test domain.

3. Legal Problems

In recent years, we’ve seen some interesting legal challenges with web projects that we never saw coming. Fine print, government regulations and ambulance-chasing has made it to the business of websites. Although not a technical deployment issue, the damages come when you go live and as you can imagine, they can be costly.

Common Legal issues made during website migrations

  • Who owns that? So you finally break the news to your current website provider that you’re parting ways. You make your final payment and in response, they send you the contract you signed which states that they own all the content.
  • Who said you can use that? You used “free” images from the internet but you missed some fine print. After you go live, you get a legal demand letter stating you violated the terms of use and you now owe certain amount for use of the image. What went wrong.
  • Is this compliant? Your website is a virtual storefront and the general public has a right to access it. ADA compliance is required by law. There are plenty of ambulance-chasing lawyers, using software “bots” to do drive-by scans of websites checking for accessibility issues. If you miss some of the ADA compliance requirements, believe it or not, you can get sued.

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