We do a lot of projects with Volusion. Whether we’re adding a feature to someone’s site, designing a whole new store, marketing someone’s business on the internet or helping someone with migrating to Volusion, we know the platform like the back of our hand. With so many glowing reviews like this one , it’s not hard to imagine why. Volusion is one of most popular eCommerce platforms on the internet, with more and more people joining every day. If you’re one of those that’s still on the fence about Volusion, here’s everything you need to know about migrating to Volusion.
Keep Your Data Safe
Before you start any part of the migration process, make sure that you have backed up your store data to a hard drive. This is something you should be doing regularly anyway, but it is especially important here. If something goes wrong during the migration and you haven’t backed up your site, you could lose everything you’ve worked on up until this point. Think about all the time and energy you’ve spent on building and maintaining your site. Scary thought right? That’s why backing up your data is always the first step.
Decide on Your Name
You may be considering a new name to go along with your shiny new Volusion site. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but you will need to take a few extra steps to make sure you don’t lose all the work you’ve done on your site. Keeping the same name and transferring the site to the same URL will make sure you enjoy the benefits of all your previous efforts. If you’ve kept up on a blog for years and built your website in accordance with the best practices, Google has likely noticed and given you a good search ranking because of it. These efforts will all still count towards your SEO if you use the same URL.
However, if you want to enjoy your previous SEO and marketing efforts and pick a new name, there’s a few extra things to take care of. The biggest thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have the correct 301 redirects in place. 301 redirects tell Google that a site has moved for good. Whatever information Google’s crawlers have collected about your site will be transferred over too. You’ll also have to make sure to host your old site long enough for Google’s crawlers to see the 301 redirects and process them. There’s no set amount of time that this will take place in, but it should occur within a few weeks. Google won’t look at your whole site all at once, so give them some time to see every page.
Start as Soon as Possible
Site migrations take time. There’s an incredible amount of work that goes into building a website, and nearly as much goes into moving that website to a different platform. If you’re on a deadline, then the best time to start your migration is yesterday. Even the most experienced developers have a hard time accurately predicting how long a migration to Volusion will take because of all the inevitable hiccups and speed bumps you will run into. Once you’re sure you’re ready to migrate to Volusion and know your plan of action, call a digital agency to have them get started ASAP. Migrating to Volusion takes time and you don’t want to stress yourself out working 80 hours a week trying to get it done.
Migrating Your Products
Products are migrated between sites using comma-separated values (CSV) files. These are essentially spreadsheets filled with information that the platform interprets as product information. CSV files are not standardized, so every platform interprets them a little bit differently. Things like product variations are commonly misinterpreted during a migration to Volusion, making items display incorrectly or not at all.
This is one place where having an experienced team helping you with migrating to Volusion is incredibly helpful—maybe even essential. They will have the experience and skills needed to go into the CSV and manually change the values so nothing gets lost in translation during the move. It’s possible to do this by yourself, but there’s a lot you have to know and even more time you have to budget to do it properly. It would really be like having another full-time job until your migration to Volusion is complete.
Migrating Customer Info & Order History
If you’re migrating over your products, you may as well migrate whatever customer information and order history you have as well. This will help make sure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for your customers. This information is also stored in a CSV file. It depends on the eCommerce platform you are exporting your CSV from, but this tends to be much more standardized than CSVs for product information. There may be problems if you have changed the fields that people have to fill out to become a member or complete an order since your site launched, since this will leave blank fields in your CSV file. This is another area where hiring someone who is an expert at interpreting CSVs to manually edit it is a great help.
Can I Bring My Design too?
The answer is, “Yes….sort of.” In many ways, Volusion is much more restrictive with what it allows you to do with design than many other platforms. The product pages and categories you used on Bigcommerce might not be permitted with Volusion’s guidelines. Aside from conforming with Volusion’s rules for how sites are laid out, each platform interprets the code for a template a little bit differently. Some things that were dynamic may become static, things may not line up the way they used to; problems like these are fairly common. You can bring your design when you migrate to Volusion, but it will be more like rebuilding your template to work on Volusion.
Unless you are already pretty handy with code or are willing to invest at least a few months’ worth of evenings learning, this is one area you will almost definitely need a digital agency’s help to complete your migration to Volusion. One simple mistake could break your whole website. If you want to bring your old template along with you when you are migrating to Volusion, do yourself a favor and hire an organization that can help.
Migrating to Volusion — Finalization
At 1Digital Agency, we test out all of migrations to Volusion in a sandbox before they are officially launched. Once we’ve determined that it’s ready to go live, we’ll make the necessary changes to URLs and 301 redirects and launch your site. We launch sites in the middle of the night so there is as little interruption to your business as possible. You can still sell on your old site up until this point. Your new site will be ready to go shortly, 24 hours being the longest possible amount of time it will take your site to go live.
Migrating to Volusion is a huge process, one that’s almost too large to handle all by yourself. If you don’t want to stress yourself out so much that you knock a few years off your expected lifespan, you should hire a digital agency to help you migrate to Volusion. They have the necessary expertise to make sure that everything goes smoothly and has transferred to your satisfaction. 1Digital Agency does Volusion migrations all the time and has the experience you need to ensure everything goes according to plan.
- Joe Chilson
- December 22, 2015