Migrating your website to a new Content Management System (CMS) can be seen as a daunting task and one that businesses often try to avoid, but what if it didn’t have to be this way? Sure, every site comes with its own complexities but if you have a solid pre, during and post migration plan in place, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be seen as a positive step forwards for your business.
There are many different reasons why you might be looking at migrating your site to a new CMS such as wanting to improve performance, security, ease of use and/or look and feel.
Running your site on the same system for a long time can often lead to a build up of large files and redundant data. A combination of this and not staying up-to-date with the latest optimisation processes can lead to your site having high load times.
Did you know that: Google’s recommended site load time is less than 3 seconds? You can test your site’s performance using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Also, you can find out more about how we optimise our sites by reading our ‘How can I score 100 on Google PageSpeed Insights?’ blog post.
Not keeping your CMS and it’s plugins or extensions up-to-date at all times can lead to vulnerabilities on your site and seeing as most CMS providers and their associated plugins/extensions are open source it means that anyone, good or bad, could have visibility of this.
Did you know that: According to this Sucuri report, the presence of vulnerabilities in CMS’s extensible components is the highest cause of website infections.
Difficult to maintain
One of the most common reasons to migrate your site to a new CMS is due to your current site becoming a nightmare to maintain. The whole point of a CMS is to make managing your site’s content a quick and easy task; however old sites that have grown into complex beasts over time will more likely than not become tough to understand and work with.
Migrating to a new CMS gives you the opportunity to simplify and streamline your setup and put the ease back into managing it.
Outdated look and feel
Website designs and User Experience (UX) are constantly evolving so when your site’s design hasn’t been touched in a few years, it’s pretty easy to spot. On top of this, if your design wasn’t put together with the core UX principles in mind you can seriously damage your engagements and conversions.
Did you know that: Google has a set of Core Web Vitals that it uses to measure a site’s UX and scoring badly on these can give your site a red flag from Google. You can find out more here.
Our top tips
Over the years Liquid Light has migrated many sites across to our CMS of choice TYPO3. This has enabled us to build up an extensive list of things to consider when migrating a site.
Clearly define your objectives
Whether or not your reasons for migrating are any of the above, without clearly defining why you’re going through the process and what your metrics are for measuring success, you may see yourself in the same situation as you are now.
Audit your current site and features
Do you really need everything your current site includes? Not only is it easier to migrate a smaller set of code and data but migrations also give you the perfect opportunity to reduce the amount of noise and focus on what really matters.
Crawl and analyse your URLs
Every CMS differs from its competitors and therefore switching to a new CMS can often produce a new set of URLs. Without properly redirecting from old to new your users might find themselves at a dead-end. 404s are also bad for Google rankings.
TYPO3, our CMS of choice, has great built in redirect features and tools like Screaming Frog can help highlight any issues.
Be transparent with your users
Although the point of this article is to reduce the likelihood of facing issues when migrating we would be lying if we said it was completely risk free. Letting your users know that you’re carrying out any improvements in advance can reduce the chances of any unexpected surprises.
In some cases it’s good to ask your users to get in contact if they find any issues. A fresh set of eyes can be useful!
If your site is showing one of the above warning signs then please get in touch as we’d love to help you assess your options. Alternatively, if you want to find out a bit more about us and the way we work then you can do so on our about page or by looking into some of our case studies.
Zaq enjoys working on the things you can’t see. At Liquid Light he is part of our back-end development team; messing with data and building new features for our clients. Outside of work he enjoys playing tennis, watching football and trying out new food.