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How to approach a content migration

The past couple of big projects that I’ve worked on have been content migrations – migrating an existing site to a new content management system (CMS). If you’ve ever tackled one before, you’d know that there are lots of things to consider in order to make the migration a success.

So here’s the biggest tip that I can offer:  Plan, plan, and plan some more.

It’s always tempting to jump in and ‘just start doing it’. But please take the time – weeks if you are able to – to sit down and plan exactly how you are going to approach the migration. Fingers crossed you have been invited in at the start of the project so that you can have input into the overall project planning as well. 


The platform you are migrating to
What unique quirks does the CMS have in store for the content? I’m working on a MOSS implementation at the moment, and some of the out-of-the-box features of the product have had major content implications.

User research
What do your users think of your site at the moment? Is now the time to address some of the usability issues that you may have? Or is it best to leave things as they are (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it)?

Understand the top content of your site. If your timeline is tight (and for a large migration it probably will be), having a good idea of what content is currently being accessed the most will mean you will be able to prioritise the time spent on each section.

Information architecture
Are you changing the IA or keeping it the same? If you are going to change it – promote the new IA to business areas and have a plan in place to maintain the integrity of it.

How many people do you have to migrate the content? Will you have enough people to conduct a review of the content, or will it be just a straight migration?

So much to consider! My next post will look at some of the other challenges you may encounter when conducting a migration. If you’ve got any migration questions, please contact me.