No More Content Migration Ever Again

It’s time to give the company website a do-over. You sit there trying to figure out what to keep and migrate from your old site and what to remove. The decision ought to be much simpler than you think. No more content migration. Just scrap it all.

Sounds like a bold and difficult move, doesn’t it? On the contrary, it can be the best decision you make for your company, website and its visitors.

Why content migration is bad

The idea of content migration requires the idea that the content and the site are two different things. They are not. You cannot separate just the design and function of the site from the content and argue that they act separate. Content and the rest of the site act together.

In fact, it is the content that is central to the website. Visitors want the content, the information and not the design. Functionality and design are paramount to conveying your message, but the message itself is in the content.

Content is the heart of your website, not the design.

Not addressing the content in a website re-design means you are just taking your old problems and importing them into your new one. End result? You are left with the same problems you had.

What can you do about the content then? You could certainly audit every page, restructure and reorganize. But you will still be bound mentally to the old ways.

That’s why the best possible way is to just say no to migrating the content and starting fresh. Blank.

Instead of Content Migration, Start Blank
Instead of engaging in content migration, start with a blank sheet.

Reducing the size of your site

You might argue and say that your site has way too much content to warrant not migrating it. It’s going to take ages to re-write or even review it all. A valid argument for sure, but which raises a question.

Do you need all the content on your website?

From the countless of website projects we’ve been involved in over the years, the confident answer from experience is: No.

Look at your website analytics. Chances are only a few pages get the lion part of the traffic. Chances are many pages get very little if any traffic. 20% of the content is responsible for 80% of the traffic to your site. Focus on the 20% and cut the rest.

What you will end up with when not doing content migration is a site that has a clearer focus. One that visitors are able to easily navigate and find answers to their questions on. A better website overall.

It’s not just a big win for your visitors though, although that alone would warrant not migrating content. Your organization will see benefits too. There will be less pages for you to manage and keep up to date. Less pages that will go stale. Your job will be much simplified at no expense to your communication. At the contrary.

A brand new content process

Now that you have decided that starting fresh is the way to go, you need a content process to help you create the new content.

Start by turning to your users. Find out what questions they have, what questions you need to be answering. Use your analytics tools to help, look at internal site searches, talk to customers and users and talk to the people in your organization that deal directly with them.

Next you prioritize and answer the questions. Start with the most important and work your way down. It’s the most important that you need to have straight away, while some of the less important might be able to wait. Remember, everything doesn’t necessarily have to be there on site launch.

Finally, what you need to do is organize these questions and answers into an intuitive structure. Be very careful so that this doesn’t follow your own internal structure, but how a visitor would approach and look at things.

What you will have at this point is a website that is more focused and finely-tuned to your visitors than your previous one. Instead of just slapping on a new design, you have fundamentally reviewed and improved your site.

But you are not done. You are never done. Using your analytics tools, talking to your customers and seeing what they are looking for is the key to improvement. What they are struggling to find you need to address and help them find. Keep on that and you will have a much better website.