Attire Accessories - Mar/Apr 2018 (Issue 69)

68 ATTIRE If you’re an established independent retailer, it’s a fairly safe bet that you already have an eCommerce website of some description. With the ever-accelerating pace of eCommerce in the UK, many retailers already have fully functioning websites that contribute to overall revenue generation. If your business is already utilising eCommerce, but you are thinking of moving your website to a different platform, perhaps with a different supplier, then read on.This information will certainly save you losing a lot of money – and worry! Why migrate? Migration is the act of setting up redirection from one page or resource to another, and is simply a directive telling any user interested that the resource has moved. Migration is required because search engines, people and other websites expect your pages to be under one page URI (Uniform Resource Identifier, the page.html bit of ). If you change your website to a newer one, the actual page URI will almost certainly be different. If you don’t migrate the pages by putting redirects in place, search engines and people won’t know where to go and any external links will be broken, affecting search engine rankings. Migrating one website to another isn’t rocket science, but it does require a substantial amount of planning to get right.The sad fact is, there is no fast and easy way to do a migration. Large eCommerce websites especially can take literally hundreds of hours of work to successfully migrate if there is no automated way of setting up permanent redirects, but doing it right will mean that those all-important Google listings are retained. Get a migration wrong and you are almost certainly in for a tough time at the tills. Some retailers I work with take well over half of their overall revenue through their eCommerce website. Getting a migration wrong doesn’t bear thinking about, which is why we spend inordinate amounts of time making sure everything works seamlessly. Plan, plan… then plan some more So you need a plan, and if you remember the immortal words of Baldrick in Blackadder, you’d better make it a ‘cunning one’! I’m not going to cover changing a domain name here (for instance if you want to change from to for your online shop’s domain) as that requires special attention and planning.The following guide is for those moving their website to a new eCommerce platform. Firstly, and I really can’t stress this enough – make sure you capture a full list of the current pages in your website.This means should the worst happen and your current website hosts switch your website off (perhaps because they know you are leaving) you still have a full record of the pages that were there before. There are several ways you can get a full listing of the pages in your website, however, probably the simplest method is to mine the data from the current sitemap in the website. If your website doesn’t have a sitemap, find a sitemap generator online – type ‘sitemap generator’ into Google, there are many free ones available. What you need is a full list in .xml or .csv format, this can then be opened in Excel or another spreadsheet program quite easily, giving you a full, structured list of the ‘old’ website page URIs. Once you have this, you are ready to marry up with the page URIs from your new website. This is where it all gets a bit tedious – and why migrating a website can be a complex and time consuming job. If you don’t know for certain what the URIs in the new website are going to be, then you need to carefully think what the effect of the eCommerce software structure is going to have on the page titles and work this all out accordingly for each and every category and product page in the website. We use an Excel plugin called Fuzzy Lookup to help with the process of marrying up old and new pages within the website.This can speed things up considerably if the past David Fairhurst of Intelligent Retail talks website migration and when it pays to plan ahead On the web