Insights

The ultimate guide to content migration (free checklist)

SVP, North America and MD, Toronto
Valtech

December 27, 2013

Content migration is one of the most challenging aspects of any website renewal project. Make sure you're prepared by checking off things as you go on our Valtech content migration checklist.

I have participated in quite a number of website redesign and development projects over my years, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that content migration is fundamentally the worst part. Most project headaches can be solved through good technology, good process, good account/project management and talented people, but, for migrating content, brute force wins the day. Of course you can hire a team to do the migration for you or pay considerable money to script the migration, but you are still going to have to QA all of the content and links yourself during UAT.

While content migration may seem like a nearly impossible task, especially when you're knee deep in it, there are things you can do to alleviate some of the headache. Assuring that you have properly identified and stored your content, and correctly map it to its new site location before any design, development or migration begins is the key to perfectly (or as close to perfect as content migration can get) migrated content.

The ABC's of web content

Before getting started with a content migration, there are a few important things that all involved groups (content migrators, content authors, developers, IT, communications, and all others that will be part of the migration) need to know:

A is for analytics

Deciding on your organization's need for a new content management system (CMS) or moving from a platform's legacy system to their most recent software update should be a data-driven exercise. By examining the analytics of your current site, you will glean extensive knowledge about the actions of your site visitors that will prove crucial in determining the strategy for your content migration. For example, if you view the analytics for every page of content on your site, and notice that a third of it is getting substantially less traffic, it may be time to reconsider whether that content needs to be included in a new site, or should be reworked in such a way as to increase traffic (like livening up written content by making a video to explain the concept or displaying it as an infographic).

B is for best practices

Our migration checklist included in this post will give you a good grasp on some of our tried and true best practices for undertaking a content migration. Preparation is the key to this project, and therefore researching will be your new best friend. Make sure you understand your own migration and the required steps, and successful implementations completed by other organizations. There are lots of posts that can help you stick to the organizational best practices for content migration like this, this and this.

C is for content

It's very important to understand what the term "website content" entails before getting started. All web copy, images, pdfs, multimedia files, are included under the umbrella term of website content. Knowing the lingo is half the battle when working with something as complex as a content migration, between the actual web product to the enumerable lists of potential file formats, and keeping on top of it from the get-go will ensure you're ahead of the game before you dive in. So now you have all the basics down, it’s time to get started with the content migration checklist. We have included the list in a PDF file format so that you are able to print if off and keep updating it throughout the process. Even when you follow our awesome checklist, content migration can be a real strain on any organization. If you're looking for someone to help lighten the load, send off an email to our team.

Download the Valtech Content Migration Checklist

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