A CMS Migration Checklist: 4 Important Elements to Consider Before a CMS Migration
By Pankaj Gaur
Businesses in the midst of a digital transformation or seeking to modernize their technology infrastructure often contemplate the idea of transitioning to a new CMS. Even if the initial plan was a website redesign, opting for a website or CMS migration might offer a more substantial return on investment.
The process of moving your content and data assets to a new CMS can enhance productivity and enable the delivery of more captivating content experiences to your customers through various channels.
Nevertheless, there are several essential steps your IT team should take before embarking on a CMS migration journey. This article will detail the key considerations that should be addressed prior to undertaking any CMS migration.
Your CMS Migration Strategy
Before we get into some of the things that sometimes go under the radar, the first thing you need to have in place is a migration strategy for your content. Whether you’re just moving one website or your entire digital experience to a new CMS, you need a sound plan to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Create a pre-migration checklist to identify goals, assess your content assets and get your team in place. Your CMS migration checklist should ensure that you have all the tools to perform a successful CMS migration and a post-migration inventory that will include testing and optimizing the new platform.
Additionally, to ensure that everything is in order, you should consult with CMS migration services experts who have done this before so that your IT team isn’t overwhelmed with the CMS migration and their other daily tasks that need to be completed.
1. Content or Website Downtime
The first thing you need to consider when migrating a CMS is the potential downtime. During CMS migrations, many organizations opt to implement a content freeze and code freeze, which can mean downtime for content authors and developers.
Content authors can publish no new content during this time. A content freeze helps improve the accuracy of the content migrated to the new CMS. It also helps to mitigate any damage to search engine rankings during the migrations. For developers, a code freeze is used to ensure that no new code is added to minimize potential bugs from negatively affecting the new CMS.
As part of your CMS migration preparation, figure out who will likely be most affected by the CMS migration process and estimate how long it will take for everything to get back up and running. Ensure you have the tools and scripts to support the CMS migration, so you don’t have to spend additional time and resources during the initial process. Also, take note of the potential system dependencies that might be affected.
Will you only need to migrate your CMS, or will other tools need to be upgraded? What knock-on effects will this have for the rest of your infrastructure? These sometimes overlooked assessments can make or break the CMS migration.
2. Your Data Transfer and Compliance Regulations
Another critical aspect of the CMS migration process is the transfer of data. Not every CMS uses the same information architecture and content models, particularly if you’re moving from a custom or legacy CMS to a modern headless CMS.
During a CMS migration, the information architecture is changed to accommodate the requirements of the new CMS, and all content assets transferred are embedded into this new information architecture.
However, any data transfer needs to be done in a compliant way. Numerous data compliance regulations and guidelines, from GDPR in Europe to CCPA in the US, govern the use of personal customer data. Follow these guidelines to avoid any potential fines affecting your business.
3. CMS Migration and Technical SEO Changes
A CMS migration can help you improve your site speed and user experience, which are crucial ranking factors for SEO. A new CMS may also have additional features that make it easier to implement SEO, such as creating metatags or sitemaps. However, you need to be aware of the technical SEO changes that can also happen during a CMS migration.
For example, you might notice changes in metadata and H1 or H2 tags, URL structures, and the XML sitemap. These changes can lead to broken URLs and lost backlinks that negatively harm your search engine rankings. Back up your website and inventory your current content structure to avoid potential issues. Also, creating a 301 Redirect strategy helps search engines like Google know where to look for your new content so that your SERP ranking isn’t affected.
After the CMS migration, you will also need to monitor performance to ensure that no other issues crop up. A CMS migration is also an excellent time to eliminate any content assets that have reached the end of their lifecycle. Since a CMS migration offers an avenue for upgrading your content strategy, you can quickly get rid of outdated content assets that will no longer serve you in the future instead of moving them to the new CMS.
4. CMS Migration Security Concerns
Maintaining the security of your company data is essential and even more critical during a CMS migration. For businesses accustomed to dealing with everything on-premises, security protocols may need to change if you move to a SaaS-hosted CMS and begin to leverage the benefits of the cloud.
Implementing a new visibility and monitoring process as part of your DevSecOps pipeline and updating who has access and permissions to use the CMS will need to happen.
Prepare a CMS Migration Checklist
Migrating your website and all your other content assets to a new CMS is usually an exciting process but can also seem daunting. However, if you have a checklist to follow and the proper support to keep everything on track, there is nothing to worry about.
At Content Bloom, we know just how important the right CMS is to your digital experience and how well you can satisfy your customers. We offer various solutions to help you get your digital strategy on track, including CMS migration services.
Nowadays, a CMS needs to be agile and help you get the most out of every digital channel, not just your website. Our expertise allows us to help you migrate all of your data and implement a headless content management solution to provide your customers with an omnichannel experience.
After a $300 million acquisition, a leading American energy retailer needed to merge two systems and create a streamlined experience that didn’t impact their customers. With Content Bloom’s help, they successfully performed a system migration for enterprise acquisitions that included zero downtime and resulted in a faster time to market and increased revenue.
If migrating to a new CMS is on your mind due to your current software’s end-of-life notice, you should take a look at our eBook: Prepare for an End-of-Life Software with a New Digital Strategy.
What is the difference between a CMS migration and a website migration?
A website migration involves moving your website from one environment to another, such as if you update the domain on your website. A CMS migration can include a website migration but often goes deeper and involves transferring your data and content to a different software system.
What’s the difference between a website redesign and a website migration?
A website redesign involves updating the look and feel of your website to appeal to different customers. However, a website migration involves moving your underlying infrastructure and all content to a new system.
What are the common barriers to CMS migration?
One of the most common issues that make a CMS migration difficult is needing a proper plan and checklist to keep everything on track. Following a pre-, during, and post-migration checklist is essential when performing any CMS migration. Additionally, companies may run into issues with downtime, data conversion, SEO, content storage, and maintaining security.
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