I read a great article over at Boagworld about the pain of content migration, a term that will send shivers down the spine of anybody unfortunate enough to have been through such a process.
Written by Paul Boag, it explains some of the common problems with migrating vast amounts of content. Notably, the reorganising of content in a way where lots of mismatches occur, breaking navigation and links, ending up with wonky URL structures and – as a result – lots of frustrated users and too many 404 pages being shown.
Paul suggests that you need to tackle the issue head on, by pruning your website.
“Failing to address content in a redesign means that your shiny new website inherits the problems from your old one. You will have a bloated website full of redundant, out of date or trivial content. Content that you should be removing.”
He says that a redesign is the best opportunity you’ll have to remove content, and he’s right. Content owners and other stakeholders can be very precious about old content. They’re emotionally attached to their work and don’t want to see your grubby fingers hovering over the Delete key.
So what to do? The solution is brutal.
Instead of removing content, maybe the mindset should be about adding content…
“What if you started from scratch? What if instead of deciding what to remove you removed everything? You then don’t have to audit what you already have. Your political fights are less too. After all everybody is receiving equal treatment. Everybody is having their content removed.”
An intriguing thought, and one that is probably backed up by the data.
“Take a moment to look at your analytics. I bet the vast majority of traffic only hits a fraction of your pages. I also bet that if your site is big there is an enormous proportion of pages that are rarely if ever viewed. In truth 80% of your audience only needs 20% of your content…
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