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Web Design, Content Management

Pain-Free Content Migration: 5 Tips for a Smooth Transition

moving contents out of a houseFor months, you’ve reviewed templates and created, deleted, and revised content for your new redesigned website. Along the way, you’ve solicited valuable feedback from departments and administrators across your campus. All that is left is actually migrating your content to the new site and perhaps to your new web content management system (CMS). This process can be tedious and overwhelming, but the following tips can help you make a smooth transition.

1. Plan ahead.

While migration is one of the last steps in your redesign project, creating a migration plan should occur earlier in the process. At the onset, migration considerations can affect your site’s architecture and design—not to mention your schedule. For example, keeping familiar structures on certain pages can make the transition easier. Thinking about migration challenges before you actually encounter them will keep your migration moving, even when you hit a snag. Furthermore, check your budget and contract to make sure you have factored in costs for migration.

2. Create a content inventory.

Another key to a smooth migration is creating a content inventory that establishes a hierarchy based on the progression of how users enter your site. The inventory should also list both current and future URLs. This is extremely valuable whether you are moving content manually or using scripts to automate the process. In addition, it is helpful to conduct a content inventory audit using website crawling software that will produce a list of your existing web pages, without requiring you to download the actual pages and their contents.

This is also a good time to evaluate page content. Identify pages with strong visuals or those in need of them. Log other elements on a page to see what ideas, departments, and features cross over to different sections of your site.

3. Eliminate nagging issues with your site.

A redesigned site is the perfect opportunity to address ongoing issues because you can revise your content strategy to complement architecture and design concepts. Think about metadata (page titles, descriptions, etc.), page structure considerations (headings), and SEO. Developing style guides and other resources is beneficial for contributors when learning a new site and system.

4. Enlist the right migration team.

Administrators and contributors from different departments oversee the content to include from their departments. They should also be a part of the migration strategy so that they can assist with the migration and updating process.

5. Stay hands-on.

The top question on any administrator’s list is whether content from the existing site can be pulled directly into the new site. In most cases, yes. Migration is certainly a process that can be automated to speed your migration efforts. However, even the most robust automated migration plan needs an actual human overseeing the project. Understand that there will be bumps along the way that only you or another project manager can solve, but take notes so that you can share them with your redesign and CMS partner to allay future issues.

Ready to learn more? Download our ebook, Taking the Migraine out of Website Content Migration.

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