Although it might seem straightforward, the content migration process frequently highlights flaws in site architecture, design, and in some cases, even the content itself. A core objective of most website redesigns is to preserve as much content as possible to mitigate any loss of organic search engine ranking for indexed pages, assuming the site undergoes significant changes to its information architecture. That’s why migrating valuable, existing content is a major factor contributing to a successful digital presence relaunch.
Content migration creates an opportunity to update or modify outdated content and implement consistent branding and quality standards. In doing so, it’s important to note the quantity of content that needs to be transferred, the content’s audience and purpose, important stakeholders, and any threats to go-to-market timelines. Here’s what our team at Designer's ID recommends to reduce risk in content migration during a website redesign:
1. Thoroughly Examine Your Old Website
There will likely be a variety of information to review in terms of page popularity and can provide valuable insight into which pages your audience frequented and which they avoided. This can significantly reduce the number of pages necessary to migrate, saving any timeline your team may work towards. Do not hesitate to remove or disable pages that are not aligned with your new site goals. James Weiss, our Senior Director, stated the following:
Lean into intention when choosing what content to keep around and what to discard. Otherwise, what’s the point? Site content is meant to serve your audience, but it absolutely should serve your broader marketing needs too. From SEO value, to brand enhancement through thought leadership, or even just being generally popular, the content you choose to display should work for you beyond simply words on a page. It’s just as important to drive conversions as it is for structuring a meaningful user journey and using the best you have to funnel users properly just makes sense. At the onset, remember to keep the helpful, and remove the detrimental – your users will thank you later!”
2. New Sitemap
All the content that will be kept should significantly impact the new site’s structure. Haven take time to review your data and consider strategic priorities, consider the content as a guideline when devising the information architecture – this is a strategic priority… A word of advice: try not to overthink the sitemap; the simpler the user experience, the better.
3. Develop a Content Migration Plan
Have you considered how your content will end up in its new home? By establishing the plan to migrate content as early as possible, the timeline challenges that regularly arise (i.e. unforeseen delays, team responsibilities, competing priorities, etc.) can be lessened. Because content migration is one of the final stages of our project process, it is very helpful to work backward here specifically.
4. Say Goodbye to Old Site Content
If you intended on transferring a sizable portion of your current website over, it’s still a great time to reconsider content to make it more approachable, interesting, and user-friendly.
Moving lengthy content from an old site to a new site can be very cumbersome, potentially impacting load times and general user experiences. Before migrating content, edit. Make your content shorter, more efficient, and better organized for your target audience.
5. Starting the Migration
While it may be preferential to edit content before migrating, know that changing it once it is migrated is also a valid method.
Here’s a helpful tip: migrate roughly 50% of the material on your website while it is still being designed, and the remaining content after the design styles have been accepted. How you style your transferred material frequently depends on whatever design styles are being used.
There is a worthwhile benefit to properly migrating content within a website redesign engagement. Alongside being able to operate within a cleaner CMS instance, and being able to display the same SEO-rich content with updated visuals and a sound user experience, the likelihood of satisfying users and their experiences increases. Reach out to Designer's ID today to discuss how we can seamlessly migrate your website content.