Tuesday 16 July 2013

Recipe for a simple content migration

Biscuit mix
Biscuit mix by eddie welker on flickr,
used under creative commons
This short checklist and method gives an overview for web and intranet editors who've not planned a migration before. It's purely from the editorial point of view, and omits any technical jiggery-pokery.

You will need:

  • User requirements. Who are your users? What do they want? How will they use this information?
  • Knowledge of the information architecture (IA) of the new site.
  • Contact details for the content owner.
  • Editorial style guide and any guidance on new content formats.
  • Support from a manager and/or policy if there is conflict and you need to escalate.


Pre-heat the content owners by letting them know in advance that you will be needing their input.
  1. Audit existing content, working with the content owner and overall user requirements.
    • Decide what is current information that needs to be migrated, and what can be archived. 
    • Identify content that needs re-writing to fit into the new IA or templates, and anything that needs editing to style or is a bit out of date.
    • Identify gaps where new content is needed.
  2. Arrange any archiving procedures - ensure copies are saved elsewhere and can be accessed by the required audience.
  3. Commission new content to fill the gaps.
  4. Arrange for any updates to old content to be supplied.
  5. Draft edited versions of the old content in new style and template.
  6. Edit any new or updated content that has been supplied.
  7. Send all the draft, edited pages to the content owner. (Either use Word with tracked changes, or a preview version of the website, depending which best shows the changes you have made.) Invite comment and set a deadline for approval.
  8. Receive approval or negotiate the final version with the content owner (apply the 80:20 rule if necessary, to reach a compromise).
  9. Publish.
  10. Schedule for review.

Serving suggestion:

Garnish your freshly-prepared content with an email alert or a homepage news feature.

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