June 16, 2021
You’ve made it through all the content planning, strategy meetings, and back and forth. Now your website CMS is tested and ready to be filled with your actionable, relevant content.
But all the blank pages can look intimidating – how are you supposed to move everything from your old site and to the new one and make it look amazing at the same time?
Simplicity is in the details. And when it comes to content migration, there are a LOT of details. In general, the better you plan and work from the same strategy playbook as your content teammates, your site migration can be smooth sailing.
Stamats builds and migrates thousands of site pages each year for our healthcare, education, B2B, and retail partners. These are our top 10 tips to help make your content migration process as stress-free as possible.
Before diving in with migrating content, your team will need to come together and plan out some migration strategies to make sure everyone is on the same page. It truly is a team effort! Make sure you have conversations on the following:
Your website may have hundreds of pages – maybe thousands. That’s a lot of content to track, let alone cohesively move! Organization is key for keeping track of all the moving pieces to your project.
We never start a migration project without a shared content matrix (inventory). This document can be a Google Sheet, a SlickPlan document, or any type of content sorting tool you desire.
The matrix will serve as your Source of Truth for assigning pages to migrate (to internal and vendor partners), status of content writing and migration, rich media embeds, PDF and image optimization status, and more.
When properly populated, your matrix will help you track:
Pro tip: As you sort your current content in your new sitemap, assess it for necessary updates. Leave notes in your matrix regarding special consideration and edits for the new site. Your migration colleagues can reference your ideas and avoid rework.
Bonus pro tip: An awesome way to keep this spreadsheet useful even after you officially launch your website is to include governance tracking. How often does a page’s content need updated? Who is in charge of updating it?
Your team will upload a lot of images into the CMS. Adhering to a set naming convention will allow everyone to quickly find and place images. A few of our best practices include:
The last thing you want is for your new, shiny site to be slow. The biggest culprit of causing this is oversized images. Before you upload an image in the CMS, check the specifications and resize to fit these best practices:
Once you’ve planned and prepped everything you need for migration, it’s time to get in your CMS and start transferring content!
A new website isn’t just about refreshing the design. It’s also a great opportunity to upgrade to your website content rankings on search engine results pages (SERP). If your old website did not have high search engine optimization rankings, improve it in three easy steps as you migrate content:
Making your website content accessible (easy to read and use) is important for being able to reach as many audiences as possible. However, there’s also legal implications (e.g. fines) if your site isn’t properly set up for those with language barriers, disabilities, poor internet connection, and even those using mobile devices.
Make sure you follow these best practices for accessibility:
Don’t bring your web visitors to a dead-end page. Think about the next logical step visitors should take next, and make a call-to-action (CTA) to help them get there. A page with no links within the content and challenging navigation (think mobile users) can cause site visitors to bounce out altogether.
Here are a few examples of mini-user journeys for CTAs:
If you know that you will be linking to the same page or section multiple times throughout your site, it would be a good idea to set up some global CTAs before you start migrating. Depending which CMS you’re using, you may have different options for setting these up either within a section or your site as a whole.
Global CTAs take 5-10 minutes to set up and will save you hours of rework by reusing it throughout the site. Global assets are also important, not just for CTAs, but for other blocks you will use multiple times: contact boxes, maps and directions, organization highlights, etc. Creating a library of global features will help save your team time throughout the migration process.
Adding links within your content is not only an SEO ranking booster, but it also helps keep your website visitors engaged and browsing more of your site. When transferring over content (even if you’re not revamping it much), insert hyperlinks into words or phrases that are related to other pages on your site.
Here’s some best practices to remember:
Okay, we understand, HTML can be scary for non-developers. But knowing just a little bit of code to double-check before publishing a page can help save you from funky formatting problems on your live page.
All you need to know is CTRL + F (or Command + F on Mac) to scan for these factors that cause formatting issues:
Content migration is a team effort that requires a lot of coordination. Using these 10 best practices will help your migration process stay organized and improve your content at the same time.
Need some help with your migration plan? Reach out to our team of experts today!
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