What we cover

Time for the big move.

Let's answer:

  • What is content migration?

  • How do I analyze my current content?

  • Why should I restructure new my website?

  • How do I edit my current content?

You get the keys to your new CMS or website, a home for your new and old content. That clean slate website can evoke the same nagging feeling as a blinking cursor. Just like taking inventory of all your belongings when moving into a new house, when you decide to switch over to a new website for your business, you should take inventory of the content on your old one.

Okay, so evaluating the entirety of your website's content may be quite a lot of work. What should you keep, throw out, or re-create? Embrace the clean slate and use it to your advantage to be the architect for your content's new home. In this blog, we'll walk you through the necessary steps to planning a content migration.

What is content migration?

Content migration is the process of moving the content on your website from one website or content management system (CMS) to another.

Moving checklist:

  • text

  • images

  • videos

  • website structure

Oftentimes, it's not as simple as a copy-and-paste movement and leads to a business rethinking how its website is designed, organized, and taking inventory of the current reservoir of content. Businesses planning a content migration should perform a content audit where they can then structure their new website around the hand-picked content, solidifying their branding and messaging.

5 steps to your content migration

1. Evaluate your content data

Start by using your current website's analytics to look closely at which pages and content are the most and least popular. You'll get insight into where your audience is accumulating the most traffic and the less populated touchpoints. Now you know which pages you definitely need to migrate and which ones to toss.

Data analysis starting point:

  • Check out the pages with the most traffic and get a picture of what your audience responds to the most.

  • Next look at the pages with the least traffic. If the content was not doing well before, consider keeping it at bay and cultivate more evergreen content.

  • Lastly, what are the pages with the highest bounce rate? According to HubSpot, if your bounce rate is between 50-70%, just wait, don't toss it right away; it's a sign you may need to restructure the page. A high bounce rate usually indicates that the page is in a confusing format or has irrelevant information.

2. Restructure your website

So you've narrowed down your pages to the best ones, now what?

The pages with the top amounts of traffic should be your top priority in the restructuring of your website. Those finalist pages are going to be the new architecture for your website.

3. Edit your content anew

Your content pages could be readily transferrable, but this migration practice is a good chance to make the content even more engaging and digestible.

Remember in this content vetting process that quality is always over quantity - web visitors are less likely to read and resonate more with imagery:

  • images

  • infographics

  • videos

  • bulleted text, of course

Enter the blinking cursor. You sit down to edit the content that needs to be tweaked, but where do you start? You did decide publish this once, so how do you reinvigorate it?

Here are questions to ask when you edit your content:

How is the content organized? Consider whether your text is broken up with images and infographics, anchor links, video embedded, or banners. Keep or add what makes sense for the topic and refer to your high-traffic pages.

Is the content fitting for your target audience? Make sure what you're saying is completely relevant to your audience. Keeping site visitors' attention is tough enough. If the topics are unnecessary or outside your niche, consider keeping these out of your wheelhouse. Pro tip: Create a content pillar to avoid this problem in the future.

When was the content published? Re-evaluate any content that's over one year old. Aside from true evergreen content, your business' mission statement, and contact pages, you should ensure the information is up-to-par with the new structure of your website.

Is it mobile-friendly? All of your pages should be optimized for reading on a mobile device. Have a good web design that looks great on mobile screens, but use this as the litmus test for your content's impact with few words. Make the content scroll-stopping.

Does the content have consistent tone? Have a way with words, but keep it consistent. Established brand messaging is professional-looking and leads to better brand recognition.

4. Apply new sitemap

Now it's time to map these pages out. You should work with your design team to create a fresh sitemap after reviewing your data and talking about content priorities. The new sitemap should guide your visitor's experience and drive your best content toward them. Streamline the user's experience with your sitemap.

Don't wait to start migrating content before redesigning - this will likely leave your team feeling rushed and not putting out the best work.

5. Start migration timeline

You know roughly what the site will look like, now you need to plan the actual execution of this new site going live. Ask yourself these questions to decide the migration timeline for your business:

  • Who will be migrating our content?

  • Do they need training on how to operate the CMS or web host we're switching to?

  • By when do we need to have our website shifted over?

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