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Since 2013, the number of websites in Alexa’s top 1 million that use Magento has increased year on year. To anybody working in ecommerce, this will come as no surprise!

Magento is tailored to suit the needs of retailers, and there are thousands of extensions available to provide extra functionalities. In short, it can be customised to meet the needs of your business.

Migrating to the most popular ecommerce platform can bring huge benefits for your online store, but it’s not without its perils. If you own an ecommerce site you may be nervous about losing traffic or revenue. And it’s true, an incorrectly implemented migration will result in that.

With this in mind, we run through 6 key things to consider when migrating to Magento. Following these points closely will result in a seamless transition, so let’s begin:

 

1. Planning for Your Migration

In order to migrate successfully, thorough planning is essential. Not only will this help identify your key pages, but it will also ensure there is no negative impact on SEO.

First of all, you should map out every page of your current site and match them to the pages on your new site. This guarantees that there will be redirects to all your key pages.

A site crawling tool such as Screaming Frog is great for this. It allows you to crawl all your pages like a search engine, and they can then be exported into an excel sheet. This will allow you to easily map your 301 redirects. But more on this later!

Secondly, it’s also important to set benchmarks before you migrate. Keyword tracking tools can help pinpoint any fluctuations in rankings, and Google Analytics will help ensure your high-revenue pages are not losing any traffic. Compare your figures after the big move to your benchmarks, and you’ll be able to keep an eye on any changes.

 

2. Product and Category Data

There are various ways in which you can transfer data from your current site across to Magento:

You can choose a platform such as Cart2Cart that will provide simple and a swift, automated data migration. Or alternatively, data can be exported as a CSV file and later imported back into Magento. This will require your data to be in a precise format for a successful migration.

We personally use Magmi to import products. It’s fast and can import configurable, cross-sell and related products (with a plugin), and it will also import your images - helping you save time! Understandinge have a great Magmi guide to get you started.

For retailers with a smaller number of products, you can even add them manually. Obviously, this is too time-consuming for larger stores, but it can be a great way to familiarise yourself with Magento.

 

3. More Data

You’ve finally found a way to import your product and category data, and you’re looking forward to never seeing a CSV file again. Unfortunately, there’s still more important data that needs to be transferred.

There’s your customer and order information, blog posts and much more. Whilst blog posts may seem trivial, if you have a high traffic blog, it’s vital they’re migrated correctly. Losing a large chunk of your traffic will ultimately lead to lower revenue - point 5 will help stop this.

Contacts and addresses are simple to migrate, but passwords and account data are slightly more complicated. For a successful import, you need to ensure you customer data format is perfect as Magento encrypts customers passwords in a precise way.

 

4. Back Office Integration

If you already have and efficient ERP system in place you’ll be happy to know Magento is capable of integrating with most third party systems. However, if integration with your software is not achievable, this gives you a great chance to update your systems.

ERP systems and purchase order software allow you to manage all these functions seamlessly in one place: order fulfilment, customer service and Magento inventory management. Streamlining processes and increasing efficiency are just two of the benefits you’ll enjoy.

 

5. 301 Redirects

When carrying out a site migration, keeping the same URL structure will help minimise any effect on SEO. However, this isn’t always possible. If your ecommerce platform has created URLs that are long, or un-optimised, it may be time to update them.

Updating your URLs is simple. Keep them as short as possible, make them descriptive and try to include keywords. The URL should explain what a user can expect to see on the page.

Now you’ve optimised your URLs, it’s time to implement the 301 redirects. A 301 indicates to Google where a new URL is, and it helps to pass on any ranking signals from the old URL. It also seamlessly redirects a user to the new URL if they happen to land on the old one.

Insideonline lost 40% of traffic after a bad site migration due to 301 redirects not being implemented correctly. And there not the only ones. A quick search on Google will show you many more horror stories about incorrectly implemented 301s. So, whilst migrating to Magento can vastly improve your business performance, figures like this show how important it is to do it properly.

To help you, we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide on completing a mass 301 redirect in Magento.

Failing to follow these steps can result in a bad user experience, a drop in ranking positions or a loss of revenue.

 

6. Testing and Ongoing Technical Support

Last but not least, testing and technical support. We can’t stress enough how important it is to run tests on your new Magento site. They help ensure your site is performing to the best of its ability,so you won’t lose customers due to site errors, slow performance or other complications.

Furthermore, ongoing technical support keeps your site running smoothly. It allows you to respond swiftly to any problems and any updates can be carried out quickly. This helps to alleviate any stress, allowing you to get on with the day-to-day running of your business.

 


As mentioned above there are various factors that need to be taken into account when migrating to Magento. However, these should certainly not discourage you. As long as care is taken when migrating, everything should run smoothly and efficiently.

If you have questions about moving your ecommerce store over to Magento, please leave us a comment below.

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About the Author

David is a Director at Best Response Media. They provide innovative Magento ecommerce and digital marketing solutions from their offices in Central London.