Migrating to Contentful: Plan and implement with confidence

Moving home, whether to a new place or a new platform, can be a daunting task. But it’s also an opportunity to declutter and start fresh. When it comes to content, you have the opportunity to keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t, ensuring that it's in top shape for the next phase of your business journey.

While it may not be easy, the benefit of making the move can be well worth the effort in the end. So if you’re considering a content management system (CMS) migration, don’t let the challenges hold you back from taking advantage of this opportunity for growth and improvement.

There are many factors to consider when making any move and it's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work involved. You need to pack your things carefully, transport them safely, and unpack them methodically at your new location. Similarly, when you’re moving content, you need to consider how to preserve your content's integrity, metadata, and formatting; deliver your content efficiently, and ensure that everything fits seamlessly into your new system.

This is why we came up with a free interactive guide on the Contentful Learning Center, Migrating to Contentful. If you’re considering moving from your existing CMS to Contentful, this course breaks down the process of content migration into manageable steps. Think of it as a migration checklist that will guide you through questions and decisions you'll need to make so you can organize and plan your move. And if you prefer to work offline, you can also download the workbook.

Solve bigger problems

Contentful is an excellent choice whether you’re looking to transition from a monolithic architecture into a composable one, consolidate and migrate all your content into one platform, have the flexibility to add new business capabilities and features, or increase scalability and reusability across different devices and channels.

Related: 7 steps to become (more) composable

Your Contentful migration project is your opportunity to improve your content strategy and processes. Take a moment to reflect and evaluate what has and hasn’t worked in the past. Build consensus around the benefits Contentful offers that led you to switch and what you hope to achieve. Opportunities may include improving editorial workflows, streamlining DevOps, revamping structured content and SEO optimization, enhancing design and user experience and enabling omnichannel delivery.

As difficult as a physical move can be, a CMS migration doesn’t need to be so cumbersome. But, you can't just throw everything in a box and hope for the best. You need to carefully plan and scope your content move to ensure a successful transition, and this is where many organizations fall short. Without proper planning they find themselves mired in a sea of technical and logistical challenges, and unwittingly moving their content bottlenecks from the old system to the new one.

Embark on the CMS migration journey

The migration journey has several important milestones, so let’s take a bird's-eye-view so you and your team can anticipate and plan for what’s ahead.

  1. Audit the current content and context: Grasp the current volume of data. Decide and prioritize which content to migrate.

  2. Identify how to export content: Decide on the methods for exporting your data out of the current CMS.

  3. Define the content model in Contentful: Design your new Contentful content model based on your content audit.

  4. Plan how to transform content: Perform field-to-field mapping between the old and new content models and adjust content to fit Contentful requirements.

  5. Develop migration strategy: Write and test migration scripts on small samples and continue tweaking your content model.

  6. Execute migration: Execute your content migration plan batch by batch, and meet frequently with your team to track progress.

The loooooooong and wiiiiinding rooooooooooad that leeeeeeads to yooooooour doooooor!

The Migrating to Contentful course and workbook leads you through the first four phases providing a series of key questions to consider, planning and preparation tasks, and other helpful resources. While the technical aspects of writing and performing the migration aren’t covered in this guide, Contentful provides several tools to support you, and our Professional Services team is full of experts who can assist. 

Related: Content migration from Drupal 7 to Contentful: A step-by-step guide

Reinvent your content

Moving to a new platform is a new opportunity to reinvent your content. Address any previous issues and restructure your content for future success. Imagine remodeling your house, where you can change things that don't work, remove what's no longer needed, and improve efficiency. This opportunity is well worth the time and effort for long-term benefits.

There is also the method known as "lift-and-shift" which involves taking the current content and design and rebuilding it in the same manner on the new platform. This may sound like a shortcut and a good choice in some situations, but it still requires time and content adjustments. It's like moving to a new house — you need to take inventory of your belongings, decide what to keep, and make adjustments to fit the new environment. It's important to note that not everything will look the same in your new home, and a moving plan is still essential for a smooth transition. 

As you’re considering these opportunities and approaches, don’t forget that content is the heart of the modern digital experience. A holistic content strategy should be the main focus during migration. Balance technical, editorial, and design needs to enable everyone to work smarter, not harder. Incorporating diverse perspectives will help you develop or redesign a content model that is user friendly and technically optimized.

Plan your move with peace of mind

Migrating from one CMS to another platform can provide several benefits, including improved functionality, better user experience, and increased flexibility. It can also help to streamline the content creation and management process and reduce costs.

Planning is a crucial factor in the success of a migration. It helps minimize the risks of data loss, downtime, and other potential issues. Your success with the migration project should be built on a solid foundation of scoping and planning. If you’re planning a big move and don’t know where to start or are overwhelmed with everything, you have a few options:

  • Learning Services provides you with an interactive guide to help you prepare for the migration process. Take the free Migrating to Contentful course on the Learning Center. 

  • Professional  Services can help you design your content model, plan your migration, and guide the technical aspects of your migration. Get in touch to learn more about our many offerings.

Our goal is to provide everything you need and help ensure you have a smooth transition from your current CMS to Contentful. Let’s start planning your migration journey together!

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