Sitecore content migration tools

Sitecore content migration tools
1st November 2019

Migrating content from an old CMS to a new one takes time and precision. Uncover how Sitecore content migration tools can make this process easier

When implementing a Sitecore upgrade, it’s important to understand the content and processes underlying the procedure.

What is content migration?

Content migration is the process of transferring website content from one CMS platform to another. This could be text, image assets or videos. Enterprises can then determine the value of their online content by reviewing and cataloguing before completing the migration process. This builds an important foundation for an organisation’s content strategy and is an opportunity to fully understand the true value of content.

As a trusted Sitecore Platinum Partner, we have years of experience and can guide you through this process.

How to plan a successful migration?

1. Find out what content is ranking well in Google and prioritise this for the migration:

Digitally savvy marketing teams will likely have optimised a lot of content for SEO value. Identifying which content ranks best in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) will quickly help teams prioritise which content to migrate first, what content should be kept and their value.

2. Avoid migrating content that doesn’t rank

If you have a large portfolio of content, then a content migration can be a headache and more time consuming than necessary. By identifying content that doesn’t rank, marketing teams can remove or redirect pages.

Content migration is a good opportunity to trim down on any content that is not beneficial and has no SEO contribution. Making your website more attractive to Google and more efficient in driving organic traffic.

3. Ensure that content with valuable links is migrated across successfully

Redirect all old URLs to the new relevant pages. Ensuring that all 301 redirects are correctly transferred is vital in retaining SEO value. Don’t let a 404 be a dead end, redirect this to relevant content to enhance the SEO performance of relevant pages to keep your visitors on your website. Finally, test your URL redirects to guarantee that they have been implemented correctly to avoid any SEO disasters!

How can Sitecore Content migration tools support you?

There are a two Sitecore content migration tools that are tailored to support your organisation’s migration process:

1. Express Migration Tool

The beauty of the Sitecore Express Migration Tool is that the headache of gradually upgrading from version to version is taken away. Upgrading from your current version to the latest is done in one process.

Key capabilities of the Sitecore Express Migration tool benefit users in the following ways:

  • Migration of one Sitecore instance at a time
  • Copying all items and files that have been changed to the target instance
  • Assistance with configuration migrations

Depending on what current Sitecore version you are on, and which version you are migrating to, there is a tool to assist your exact migration:

  • Express Migration Tool 3.1
  • Express Migration Tool 3.0
  • Express Migration Tool 2.0
  • Express Migration Tool 1.0

2. Sitecore Data Exchange Framework

The Sitecore Data Exchange Framework is a tool that is more advanced to the Express Migration Tool. The Sitecore framework is a Sitecore module that allows the transferring of data between two systems. One system being Sitecore and through the Sitecore data exchange framework, the system pulls data from a third party or vice-versa.

There are 8 version of the Data Exchange Framework:

  • Data Exchange Framework 1.0
  • Data Exchange Framework 1.1
  • Data Exchange Framework 1.2
  • Data Exchange Framework 1.3
  • Data Exchange Framework 1.4
  • Data Exchange Framework 1.4.1
  • Data Exchange Framework 2.0
  • Data Exchange Framework 2.0.1

The stand out benefit of the Sitecore Data Exchange Framework is the ability to provide the bridge for transferring content with third-party sources. Not only does this tool work with CRM and PIM, developers can build their own APIs alongside the Data Exchange Framework.

Content Migration best practices

Three tips for content migration best practices:

1. Know your existing site– It’s imperative that you understand the site you’re moving content from. What’s good and bad about the structure. You need to understand the sitemap and the files that make up the pages on the site so that you can plan how this will best be transferred to the new site.

2. Save everything– The first real step of your plan is to download everything – every document, every image, every excerpt of text. Download them into a logical structure of folders so that you know what pages they came from and keep useful filenames. ‘Image1.jpg’ says nothing to other users but ‘Image_of_Brown_Door.jpg’ means a lot more to the user. This will help search engines index the site better and is important for accessibility guidelines. Also keep a backup of your files just in case something goes wrong.

3. Duplicate removal – If you have a large project, perhaps in multiple languages, there are possibilities that you have a several of duplicate files. This is a silly thing to do, it wastes space and bandwidth and makes no logical sense. You wouldn’t keep two copies of that Batman DVD, would you? There are plenty of duplicate file finders that sort this out for you Two things to keep in mind though:

  • Make sure that what you are deleting definitely is a duplicate.
  • Make sure you know where the file you deleted needs to be redirected to in your file structure.

How can Sitecore content migration tools benefit your organisation?

Don’t underestimate the importance of content migration. Take time to audit what content you are transferring over. Now is a great opportunity to validate your current content and whether it is relevant to your audience.

Industries are always on the move and this means new content is required to engage with new users. Think about refreshing and rewriting content to align yourself with the correct tone of voice and meet any new SEO objectives.

It is common that sites are moving from old to a new site highlighting the importance of being mobile friendly due to the high volume of mobile traffic. Cut down the content and allow your users to digest content on the move.

As a leading Sitecore Platinum Partner, we always have projects on the go that involve migrating complex multilingual websites. If you want a partner with expertise that you can trust – talk to us, we’d love to help.