Jan 09 2013
A Joomla 2.5 Upgrade with an SEO Perspective
These past months I have upgraded a number of Joomla 1.5 websites to Joomla 2.5. Some of the upgrades have gone really fast and others not so fast. If you have limited components I have found it goes much quicker, but if you have to upgrade your components and sometimes recreate them then the site can take a lot longer upgrade. It really depends on how extensive the site is.
Along the way I have created a check list of details I need to remember to do. It has saved me a few times. All my upgrades have been done with JUpgrade. It is a wonderful component and I am so grateful for it. This is my checklist and I hope it assists you as you go through the process. It is not in any specific order but some tasks should be done before others. If you have something to add to this list please do so in the comments. It would be helpful to all of us.
- Back up the Joomla 1.5 website before doing anything else. I use BlueHost, so I do this through the CPanel. I know there are components that can do this.
- Create a sitemap of the Joomla 1.5 website. I do this so I can create 301 redirects when the Joomla 2.5 site is complete. Joomla 2.5 creates all new url’s
- Get the Google Analytics code or any extra code that may be on the site. It does not transfer to the new site and will have to be reinstalled.
- Meta Tags, Joomla 2.5 has great control over the descriptions and title tags. All meta tags will have to be re-input. Make sure you transfer them from the old site or copy them down. There are components that manage the meta data, but I prefer to use Joomla core.
- Once I have made all the changes to the Joomla 2.5 site and it is ready to launch I back the site up again (see #1).
- The transfer of the files from JUpgrade can be done with an FTP client or through your web hosts File Manager. At first I was using my FTP client and it was taking forever, the server would time out constantly. Now I am going in through CPanel and using File Manager.
- It may be best just to get rid of your Joomla 1.5 website files, but I am not that brave so I go through my 1.5 files and rename some of the main folders such as administrator, components, modules, plugins and templates. I also remove all the files in the default folder and save them on my local drive. That way when you load the Joomla 2.5 files they will be clean files with only 2.5 information. As you can see I am a bit paranoid and don’t like to delete anything until I know it is working. After you have loaded the Joomla 2.5 site and it is working correctly then you can go in and delete the old file folders that you have renamed
- In file manager I create a zip file of the jupgrade folder > and save it on the server. I take the files in the jupgrade folder and “move” them to the default folder. All this is done through the CPanel file manager and it goes quite quickly.
- Then I pray a lot …
- Your site should be working correctly. I have been pleasantly surprised how well it can go. You will have to go into the sites control panel and create the pretty url’s and rename the htaccess file on the server. The htaccess file is also where I put the 301 redirects.
Note about 301 redirects, Joomla 2.5 has a redirect manager but you have to wait for Google to serve up the 404 page. I prefer to redirect the pages before Google gets them.
- I also edit the robot.txt file, for some reason joomla has images as disallow??!! If you want your images to show up in Google images remove that line. I also remove disallow media.
- Don’t forget to reinstall your Google Analytics, meta tags and there is really so much more. But I will leave you with this for now.
Lastly, some of my clients understand that the upgrade is necessary and it is. But there have been a few that were not happy about the additional expense. But I guess that is technology.