Laying the Groundwork for Successful Content Migrationby Shelly Stringer
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Selecting a new CMS is just the beginning. Content migration is a manual, tedious process — even in the best of circumstances — and can take several weeks to several months depending on volume, resources, and institutional willingness to cooperate. Before a single page is migrated, there is a lot to be done.
At mStoner, we partner with many clients who are ready to embark on this challenging process. Here are nine tips to ensure you are prepared to take your first steps in the trek to digital excellence:
- Start sooner rather than later. Auditing, inventorying, creating, and editing new content is time-consuming and should begin right away to prevent delays.
- Assign a project manager. Strong project management will help keep your project on track and facilitate productive communication between all members of the migration team.
- Get organized. Create a sitemap to organize what content you will and will not migrate. A simple spreadsheet tracking page names, URLs, progress, and redirection of legacy URLs to pages on the new site will keep you sane as you make your way through content migration.
- Get to know your current content. You need to be familiar with how much existing content you have and its quality. This includes all web copy, images, PDFs, and multimedia files. Content inventories and audits help identify how much you have and how good it is, respectively.
- Identify opportunities. As you comb your content, think about improvements you can make, such as eliminating duplicate content, using keywords to enhance search engine optimization, and delivering the right message to your target audience.
- Develop a content strategy. In Kristina Halvorson’s words, content strategy delves deeper into the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Once you’ve considered the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps that exist within your current content, develop an overall strategy to guide you as you review, revise, and remove content.
- Mine current content. Not all content will need to be written from scratch. Take a look at existing pools of exemplary content that can be repurposed. Often you’ll find great content already exists in places such as your viewbook, blogs, or alumni magazines.
- Engage an expert. If you need help getting started, engage with an expert such as mStoner to help you through your content audit, plan, and migration.
- Think beyond the project. Ensure long-term success by developing a governance model, implementing analytics for measuring success, and providing ongoing training and support for content creators and managers.
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