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Challenges for CMS migrations

From: CMS Fundamentals

Video: Challenges for CMS migrations

By now I'm guessing you've already made the decision as to whether or not you're going to be using a CMS. If you're going to use one to create a new site, you really only need to do the proper assessments and then start creating your content. However, if you plan on migrating an existing site to a CMS, well then you have an entirely new set of challenges on your hands. In this movie I want to discuss some of the challenges involved in migrating an existing site to a CMS and some of the things that you could do to make it easier. The first thing you need to realize about moving content from one site or system to another is that it's hard, perhaps one of the hardest web development projects you'll ever tackle.

Challenges for CMS migrations

By now I'm guessing you've already made the decision as to whether or not you're going to be using a CMS. If you're going to use one to create a new site, you really only need to do the proper assessments and then start creating your content. However, if you plan on migrating an existing site to a CMS, well then you have an entirely new set of challenges on your hands. In this movie I want to discuss some of the challenges involved in migrating an existing site to a CMS and some of the things that you could do to make it easier. The first thing you need to realize about moving content from one site or system to another is that it's hard, perhaps one of the hardest web development projects you'll ever tackle.

It's easier for smaller sites than larger sites, and obviously the more complex your site, the more complex the migration. But even moving from one blogging platform to another can be an incredibly complex operation. Think about this for a moment. You're going from one site structure with the one set of rules to an entirely different site structure with another set of rules. Somehow you have to make all the content here move over here and work the way it's supposed to under the new structure and rules.

If you're working with a large organization with an existing CMS or complex web site, make sure you either have a dedicated IT staff that is technically savvy enough to manage the migration, or you'll need to hire outside help. This could mean contracting with a web development company that specializes in migration or the CMS vendor itself if you're hiring a firm to develop your CMS for you. If you do decide to go with an outside vendor, understand that no matter how experienced they are, there are going to be bumps in the road and the process will take a considerable amount of time.

If someone claims to offer you seamless integration with the new system, don't believe the marketing hype. So why is migrating content from your old site to a new CMS so difficult? Well, first you have to realize that content isn't just content. It's not like you're taking an item off one shelf and placing it on another. Web content by it's very nature is made up of many interconnected things. You may have internal links that point to other internal content. You're going to have navigation tied to content that no longer matches the new structure, and you may have content like blog post, comments, or customer feedback, that aren't structured correctly for the new system or don't even fit into it.

Plus, if you're moving to a new CMS, you're going to be doing a lot of what we've discussed previously in this title, things like creating meta tags and new taxonomies. These are entirely new vocabularies that need to be mapped to the old content. Older meta tags might cause problems when ingested into the new system. Don't forget that outside sites might link to specific articles or content as well. Those links will now be broken and need some means of redirecting them to the new location of the content.

With all this in mind, it's important to have the right expectations about what to expect when migrating content. Well, first, you should expect lose data. Now, obviously you want some control over this and some data is easier to deal with losing than others, but don't expect to emerge from a migration unscathed. Second, expect it to take more time than you think. Most tasks take twice as long as people estimate. If you build in patience for the process, you'll eliminate a lot of the stress usually associated with migrations.

Finally, expect there to be an awkward transition time as you go live to your new system. Understand that it's not going to go perfectly and you'll be cleaning up and remapping content, at least in the short term. Clearly understanding the challenges in migrating content will help you plan and execute the steps necessary to migrate your content successfully, and that is exactly what we'll talk about in our next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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CMS Fundamentals

44 video lessons · 23667 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. What CMS means for this course
      1m 44s
  2. 22m 52s
    1. What is a CMS?
      2m 47s
    2. The evolution of CMSs
      4m 4s
    3. CMS types
      6m 7s
    4. Basic CMS capabilities
      5m 4s
    5. When is a CMS right for you?
      4m 50s
  3. 1h 23m
    1. Comparing CMSs
      4m 28s
    2. Core features to research
      4m 41s
    3. Commonly overlooked issues
      4m 12s
    4. Properly assessing needs
      4m 39s
    5. Knowing when to seek assistance
      4m 15s
    6. Choosing a CMS for designers
      4m 45s
    7. Choosing a CMS for organizations
      4m 12s
    8. The pros and cons of hosted solutions
      2m 58s
    9. Hosted solution examples
      5m 51s
    10. The pros and cons of open source solutions
      4m 36s
    11. Open source CMS examples
      7m 6s
    12. Proprietary CMSs
      7m 48s
    13. A closer look at Drupal
      5m 7s
    14. A closer look at Joomla!
      4m 0s
    15. A closer look at WordPress
      5m 33s
    16. Resources for comparing CMSs
      9m 2s
  4. 43m 58s
    1. What is an open source CMS?
      3m 4s
    2. What is a LAMP stack?
      2m 53s
    3. What are WebDAV and FTP?
      2m 39s
    4. What is MySQL?
      2m 24s
    5. WYSIWYG editors
      3m 56s
    6. Understanding users, groups, and permissions
      4m 12s
    7. What is metadata?
      5m 19s
    8. Understanding taxonomy
      3m 35s
    9. What is version control?
      4m 23s
    10. What are themes and templates?
      3m 30s
    11. What is SEO?
      4m 42s
    12. What are web analytics?
      3m 21s
  5. 36m 31s
    1. Content management as a process
      4m 38s
    2. Properly defining roles
      5m 3s
    3. Planning a content strategy
      4m 1s
    4. The importance of taxonomy
      5m 7s
    5. Controlling content lifecycle
      6m 22s
    6. Challenges for CMS migrations
      3m 45s
    7. Steps for migrating content
      4m 16s
    8. Avoiding distractions
      3m 19s
  6. 2m 24s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 24s

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