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Migrating blog posts from WordPress to a CMS

Adopting a content management system as the platform for your digital content

Reformatting and rebuilding a website from already existing content from other sites is comparable to putting together an enormous jigsaw puzzle with many moving parts.

Luckily, there was no chance of us losing any pieces of that puzzle when we were approached by one of our existing clients, a Manchester-based professional services firm. Our point of contact was Phil and like every good Manchester lad, he loves his pies and a pint which was something we had in common!

We‘d previously worked with him on a major re-platform moving one CMS to another and Phil got in touch as he was now looking to move the local firm‘s 800 plus blogs into their CMS. It all sounds a bit complicated, but remember, jigsaw puzzles are fun once you get stuck in.

Edge pieces provide you the puzzle outline. Then you piece together the middle.

Phil approached us at the beginning of the English summer which meant our European team were also on holidays while our Australian team were donning sweaters for winter. And even though half our team were tanning themselves on the Amalfi Coast (or so we assumed), we still got the job done with our client‘s editors up and running at the end of the European summer.

So with a plethora of content sitting in WordPress and TypePad sites, we needed to pull it across to the Phil‘s chosen CMS: Adobe Experience Manager. We kicked off by getting Phil to pinpoint exactly what his firm was after — this included getting the content layout standardized and streamlining the authoring process (i.e. finding a better way to attribute authors and tagging similar topics to link and promote content dynamically) so that they could focus more on writing and less on how to get it online!

Working closely with Phil and his team, we worked out their audience strategy based on the existing content, or if this were an actual jigsaw, we laid out all the pieces to see what we were dealing with. From there, we created a landing page and dynamic tag-based lists to capture users‘ attention and help Phil‘s content authors better target their audience.

Knowing the initial and ongoing success of the migration would rely upon the ease of the new system which is exactly what we set out to do. Once we‘d formed a plan, or since we‘re going with a jigsaw metaphor, established the “frame” of the puzzle, we then began to fill in the missing pieces.

Mapping the journey of every piece of content will allow for the puzzle to be put back together. Even if the shape changes.

Imagine it like this: if you were putting together a jigsaw puzzle that was a picture of a green field with blue sky above it, naturally, you would separate those blue sky pieces from the green field ones. This is a similar, albeit very basic, concept to what we did with the content migration. For example, we spotted a number of tags that would not be supported within the CMS so we cleaned them up, identified the appropriate tags and then injected the content, metadata and tags into the system.

Then we prepared the landing pages to automatically feature those blogs across specific, targeted locations. The final piece of the migration puzzle was to create inventories for the different blogs depending on the topic; we then renamed those files to suit where they would sit within the CMS to further assist us when we eventually migrated the content.

Tailored scripts were developed to get the site structure and pages in place with standardised archetypal layouts. And finally, a quality assurance tool was provided to allow the team to review the old-and-new blog posts side-by-side.

All this behind-the-scenes work made the transition simple, cost-effective and accurate. The European summer was uninterrupted and work transitioned smoothly over into the new system. The puzzle was complete!

Titbits and takeaways

All project management should include a roadmap that leads from the starting point to the end point, and shows how you intend to get there.

If you’re changing the design, look at the starting point and see where you can add visual pop through bolder use of imagery, text formatting and videos.

Include a change management process in your plan to ensure the project’s sustainability. Your staff should be trained on updated authoring processes, and any other components that are new.

Transform the way the world sees you.