Content Migration: The keystone to a successful web redesign (Part 2)
In Part 1 of this post, we discussed some of the challenges and misconceptions about content and content migration during a website redesign. We established the need for strong project management, conducting an audit on existing content, organizing content to fit the new navigations/information architecture of your site and establishing an editorial workflow that works for your organization.
In part 2, we will discuss the depth of the content migration process which includes, updating your content to fit the new look and feel of your website, what the migration process actually entails, and ongoing maintenance and refinement of your content.
Once content is audited and a preliminary editorial workflow established, content owners will need to align their content within the new Information Architecture established for the new website. It is imperative that content owners understand that they will need to spend time on updating content to fit the new organization and layout of the updated website which will take time and effort. This phase of content migration can easily push back project timelines if content deadlines are not set and met in a timely fashion.
Through the process of developing the new Information Architecture (or navigation), content owners will be able to analyze what content needs to be prioritized for the end user and how the updated organizational structure and housing of information can guide content updates. Strong leadership with editorial capacity will be needed to help keep this crucial aspect of your website redesign on track and on time.
There tends to be a misconception that content migration is an automatic process when in reality, most of your content will be populated field by field, by a human! There are some pieces of content that can be uploaded automatically, like a Staff Directory which can be imported via a spreadsheet, but a large portion of the content populated in your new site will be by hand. This includes creating links, uploading and positioning images, making style/design decisions, etc. Depending on the size of your organization and the volume of content, the migration process can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, there may be questions from your vendor about content that was submitted, so there will need to be responsive personnel ready to receive those questions and reply in a timely fashion, otherwise migration will drag on even longer.
Refine and Update
Your content is migrated, and you get the first look at your site within the context of your content.
Note: There will be changes! Don’t panic.
That said, if you wait for your content to be 100% perfect, you might never launch your website. Content is alive and will always be updated and refined as your organization evolves. In the week or two post migration, content contributors will review content and make any updates necessary for launch. Just because your website goes live to the public, does not mean content is locked down forever and ever. Once the website launches, content owners will be able to continue to make content updates and changes over time.
The morale of the story is to not underestimate the time and effort updating and migrating your content will take. Begin with strong leadership and organization, prep your staff for the work and deadlines to come, and prepare to take the time and effort to make your content and organization shine just a bright as the fresh new colors and design of your new website.
We often work with content on a large scale, but no matter the size, we understand content and content migration can feel like a project within of itself, beyond all the other aspects of your website redesign. If your department, agency, or non-profit is embarking on a website redesign and need help planning and implementing, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how we might be able to partner with you to alleviate the workload on your staff and optimize your site content.