Chapter 13 Content Migration


This chapter will discuss the most overlooked part of a CMS implementation: the movement of content from the old CMS to the new one.

  • When should we do an automated migration, and when will a manual migration work best?

  • How do we extract content from your old CMS?

  • What changes might we need to make to content before getting it into the new CMS?

  • What are the two major types of defects we might find during content QA?

  • How does my time get the migration timing right?


On the decision of when to do an automated migration and when to do a manual migration.

The argument against manual migration comes down to volume against cost. Thus, decisions about manual content migrations need to be compared against the cost and availability of personnel. Many manual migrations have been performed by interns or college work study students. It might not be glamorous work, but it's often effective.

Crossing a certain threshold of content, however, will make automation the most cost-effective choice. Content migrations that don't require significant editorial decisions during migration can usually be automated far more efficiently.

That said, know that automation has limits, and it's often easier to simply reconstruct selected content in the new CMS manually. Home pages, for example, tend to be very artisanal, with intricate content elements ordered and placed very carefully. Automating this extraction, importation, and placement might be more trouble that it's worth, especially when only a handful of pages need special handling. In these cases, be prepared for a hybrid approach, where certain content is simply rebuilt in place rather than automatically migrated.