A Comprehensive Guide to Managing a CMS Migration

Content Management system migration blog header

A good cms makes managing your website simple and straightforward. You should be able to write, edit and publish any type of content all through one system without technical knowledge. 

CMS capabilities vary greatly and while an entry-level cms such as wordpress or wix could do the job for a small business, as time goes on and the business grows, the basic content management systems start showing their limits. 

If you’re hitting the limits of what your CMS can offer, it might be time to consider migrating your website to a new one. While the CMS migration process might seem scary and tedious, we have laid out a plan for you that shows that it is not as hard at it seems. 

Key takeaways

  • Business growth, rebranding, or a new domain are all legitimate reasons for upgrade your CMS. 
  • Prioritize maintaining website domain authority during CMS migration.
  • Headless CMSs offer greater flexibility, scalability, and security than traditional platforms.
  • Back up your website before making any changes to maintain raw data and content in case of a transfer error.
  • CMS migration process doesn't have to be a tedious one. With the right planning, CMS migration can benefit your business greatly. 

On this page:

    When to upgrade your CMS?

    There’s no single reason for updating your business website. Perhaps your company is growing, and it’s time you had access to more features or better scalability and security. A rebrand or website redesign is also an ideal circumstance for migrating to a new CMS. Or perhaps you’re just sick of slow loading times and want something more reliable.  

    Switching to a new CMS platform can be exciting, but you should remain vigilant about maintaining your website’s traffic and rankings. It takes a lot of time and effort to build up the domain authority of your old site through link building, quality content, and careful attention to SEO strategy. The last thing you want is for new and existing customers (or search engines, for that matter) to be unable to find your website at a new address.

    How to choose a new CMS provider?

    The CMS migration process don’t happen by accident. You should have a good idea of the upgraded features and functionality you need for your website by the time you’re ready for a new CMS platform. You should consider everything from the type of content you will be creating and managing to the size and complexity of your website. 

    We put together a guide to help you make the right decision for your business. You can download it for free below:

    Traditional vs Headless CMS graphic to show how each one operates API and decoupled structure vs Monolithic

    What it means to move from a traditional to a Headless CMS

    The trend has been to move from conventional to headless CMS. The main reason for this is that our digital world is more complex than ever, with new devices and channels popping out every other year. This means that business need to have a CMS that support omnichannel content delivery and be flexible and scalable to grow with the company. 

    It also means embracing a content management platform with an application programming interface (API) to access and manage content from any device or platform. This capability is increasingly important for businesses embracing omnichannel content strategies, including creating content for the Internet of Things (IoT).

    Headless CMS is often used for websites requiring a lot of customization, as it allows developers to create custom applications and websites without worrying about the underlying CMS. It's handy for businesses trying to deliver a consistent user experience across channels while managing large volumes of content.

    One of the essential aspects of headless CMSs is their enhanced security capabilities. Because they don't rely on an interface the way traditional platforms do, they are excellent options for businesses prioritizing content security. Managing a cms migration from traditional CMS interfaces to a headless CMS will yield a more flexible and scalable website as long as you have the proper technical resources to manage the system.

    How to prepare for a CMS migration

    Organizing a website migration process doesn't need to be a big source of worry. By taking the required steps, you can guarantee the transition goes off without a hitch and your new website has the same influence as the previous one. Here, we have put together a simple checklist that is divided into three sections: Pre- migration, migration, and post-migration.

    • Pre-cms migration planning 

    Preparation is an integral element cms migration process. To be sure your organization is in the best place to complete the move, the following should be done prior to executing it:

    - Data architecture and project viability: Identify the end goal and the resources you will need to get there. 

    Prioritize crawling your old website to collect data on URLs, page titles, metadata, redirects, etc., because this will help determine the scope of the project. You need to know the number of URLs that you’ll need to migrated, and if there are any technical issues that should be addressed before the migration process begins.

    To get a complete list of web pages, you should reference crawl data, Google Search Console pages, Google Analytics pages, and XML sitemaps.

    - Form your team: Identify all necessary stakeholders and ensure they understand their level of involvement in the migration process.

    - Define security requirements: All key stakeholders must agree to and clearly articulate the security requirements. It is important to thoroughly analyze the security regulations to guarantee that all regulations are adhered to. In order to guarantee that the right protocols are being followed, approval from all relevant parties must be obtained. Security is of the utmost importance and must be taken seriously.

    - Migration tools: Before starting your task, ensure that you have the materials needed to ensure that the process is running as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. Consider if you will require to acquire any migration applications, such as documentation programs or examination programs, to mechanize a number of jobs connected with the transfer. This can save a significant amount of time and effort.

    - Establish a contingency plan: Before you make a go of your migration plan, make sure you store a back-up before any data migration. Keeping a full reproduction of your website is important in case there is any loss of data. If there was no website data, it could be detrimental to your business.

    • During the cms migration

    Congratulations, you’re ready for website migration process to the new content management system! Here are a few recommended actions that can help have a successful content migration to the new system. 

    - Prepare a staging site: It is critical to examine the capacity of your new content management system before transferring your website entirely. Get ready a test site to assess the functions, capabilities, and execution of the new CMS and rectify any possible issues prior to entering the public domain.

    - Testing your site: Test your migration as close to the live environment as possible. Testing is critical because it helps you detect possible errors or defects.

    - Make adjustments: Use the results of the test migration to change your system configuration, migration method, or data as needed. If you haven’t done so yet, optimize your data architecture; eliminating the old, outdated content will make the transfer faster and more efficient.

    - Migrate the data: Relocate the data either by using a custom script, manually copy-pasting all the content, using exporting and importing tools (many systems have these natively built-in), or using an automated migration service

    • Post- cms migration checklist

    Once your website is up and running in the new system, it’s time to make sure everything is functioning correctly and that you haven’t lost any data. You should also test the new CMS on the live site, update any necessary settings and configurations and train the appropriate team members to manage the new CMS. 

    - Monitor Google Search Console crawl & server logs: Once you’re rolling on the new CMS, you’ll want to review the Crawl Stats in the Search Console, as well as the server logs. The goal here is to make sure all the pages in your sitemap are fully crawlable by Googlebot. Do this regularly for the first couple of weeks post-migration so you can correct any crawl errors (i.e., setting up 301 redirects for all potential 404 errors).

    - Comb through and optimize the site: This is admittedly an imperfect science. Even the most seasoned of us inevitably encounter a few issues after a CMS migration. Website speed is SEO ranking factor across all platforms, so be sure to consistently check the speed of your site with Google Analytics or your measurement tool of choice.

    - Keep the old site: While you may be tempted to cut the cord from the old site or perhaps even sell the old domain if you changed it right, don’t do it just yet. While search engines generally recognize web migrations, it’s good to give them time to catch up.

    Minimize the SEO impact when migrating to a new CMS

    For those of us who strive to maximize our SEO efforts, cms migration process can be nerve-wracking as the data transfer might impact that. Fortunately, this is something that many of us have already experienced and it doesn't have to be a dreadful experience. In order to avert any potential damage to your SEO campaign during the migration process, we have created a brief checklist for you to adhere to.

    • Compile a list of all pages affected by the migration
    • Generate 301 redirects for the affected pages
    • Verify the validity of the redirects
    • Confirm indexing of all pages by search engines
    • Track organic search traffic and keyword rankings
    • Edit internal links to point to the new page URLs
    • Scan the new webpages to detect broken links
    • Include rel=canonical tags to eliminate duplicate content
    • Analyze analytics data to monitor if traffic has been affected
    • Send an updated sitemap to search engines
    • Evaluate and adjust the search engine crawl rate
    • Survey search engine error logs for any irregularities
    • Analyze organic search traffic and keyword rankings

    A cms migration might seem intimidating, but with the correct planning and preparation, the transition can be successful and straightforward. Choosing the correct CMS for your company and dedicating sufficient time to plan the migration will ensure it is carried out without any issues.

    Absolutely! Core dna was built by an agency, for agencies. We know that marketers need low-code environments to operate in, so we baked in features like marketing automation, email marketing, content previews, and personalization.

    See Core dna’s marketing features.

    You sure can. Global brands trust Core dna to build and operate eCommerce websites in multiple regions and continents. Our eCommerce feature set includes everything from inventory management to detailed analytics. 

    See Core dna’s eCommerce features.

    SaaS application such as Core dna provide access to data from any networked device while making it easier to manage privileges, monitor data use and ensure everyone sees the same information at the same time. You can work with a team in real time with out conflicts. 

    With the SaaS model, you can customize with point-and-click ease, making the weeks or months it takes to update traditional business software seem hopelessly old-fashioned.

    Different from the traditional model, Core dna is a fully managed solution, meaning the application comes fully ready to use and a new website can be up in minutes. This reduces the time spent in installation and configuration and can reduce the issues that can get in the way of the software deployment.

    This depends on the traditional platform. With a headless CMS, the key difference is its ability to create different content types and then make that content available through an application programming interface (API). 

    If a traditional CMS is able to process API requests it can be integrated with a headless platform. If it's not then programmers will need to process the API requests outside of the traditional CMS, through the use of javascript in the display of the website. 

    Understanding what a traditional CMS is

    A monolithic or traditional cms is a content management system that stores all of its content in a single database. This means that all of your content, including pages, posts, comments, and media, are stored in one place. A monolithic cms is best suited for small websites with relatively simple content structures. If you have a large website with complex content, you may want to consider a different type of content management system.

    Understanding what a headless CMS is

    A Headless Content Management System (CMS) enables users to manage and store content without the need for a graphical user interface (GUI). A headless CMS is often used in conjunction with a “front-end” website or application that provides a GUI for end users.

    You can learn more about headless vs monolithic in this guide

    • What is a headless CMS 
    • The difference between headless vs traditional CMS 
    • What is a decoupled CMS 
    • Headless vs decoupled CMS 
    • Things to consider when choosing a headless CMS 
    • Headless CMS case studies

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    • Walkthrough: An introduction of the Core dna platform
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    • Case studies: How other businesses have used Core dna to scale more efficiently

    No, technical expertise is not needed in order to use Core dna. Core dna is built for businesses and the people that run them.

    You do not need a background in IT or knowledge of technical jargon, or programming language. As long as you have basic computer skills you will be able to use our straightforward and intuitive platform.

    Core dna team
    Core dna team

    Articles written by various members of our team.

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