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Hybrid content migration: Success factors for the transition to a headless CMS

Alina Dier Business Developer • Communication Manager

Christian Grasmück Lead Project Manager • Team Manager

02/05/2024 • 6 minutes reading time

In the first part of our content series, we dove into the basics of a successful content migration from a traditional monolithic to a headless CMS with the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf example.

The migration of content to a headless CMS is a crucial step towards a digital experience platform (DXP). But how do you proceed when the existing system comprises several hundred content pages, of which the majority needs to be migrated to the new system?

Our loyal client, Stadtwerke Düsseldorf, also faced this question. In the second part of this content series, we dive deeper into the migration process using the example of their online magazine.

Automated vs. manual migration

Initially, we weighed the pros and cons of automated and manual migration. The biggest advantage of automated migration is clear: it saves editors time and effort. However, a disadvantage is also evident. If content elements are not displayed as intended, this often becomes apparent only later in the migration process. "Dead" and broken links or non-search engine optimized content must be addressed and adjusted later – identifying and optimizing these can be time-consuming.

On the other hand, manual migration offers full control and typically results in a lower error rate. Editors can revise content during migration: by optimizing headlines, rewriting text according to SEO recommendations, or incorporating more suitable imagery. All of this is not a problem when migrating manually. However, this approach entails a significant time investment for the editors. Before content can be migrated step by step, everyone involved must first be trained with the new CMS.

The best of both worlds – hybrid migration of the online magazine

Since we migrated numerous pages with varying requirements for Stadtwerke Düsseldorf, we opted for a combination of automated and manual migration. The hybrid approach combines the respective advantages: where appropriate, less complex content, which varies little, is migrated automatically. This saves time, which can be used to manually transfer and optimize complex content.

We started with the migration of the online magazine of Stadtwerke Düsseldorf. Every month, the magazine provides customers with exciting articles on local pride, life, innovation, leisure, mobility, work, and much more. With nearly 500 content pages and a variety of different and nested components such as text, headline, image, and video, the magazine posed a challenge for hybrid migration. We initially developed a new frontend concept that considers SEO recommendations, and prototyped it in Figma. Naturally, we also took into account the requirements of digital accessibility for Stadtwerke Düsseldorf's magazine.

Digital accessibility for an optimal customer experience was considered from the beginning and throughout the remaining content migration.

After developing the components, we began with the automated migration, transferring the framework of the magazine: structures, page titles, and metadata. The Stadtwerke Düsseldorf team was trained by us in using the CMS Storyblok, followed by manual content migration. Our team at Ergosign also actively assisted, if support was needed. This way, the entire online magazine could be transferred efficiently to the new CMS and was simultaneously optimized.

Screenshot of the home page of the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf online magazine
Migrated online magazine of Stadtwerke Düsseldorf

Continuous support and quality assurance

A successful content migration requires not only careful planning and implementation, but also continuous support and quality assurance. Before and during the migration, we conducted training sessions for the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf team and ensured that the team was familiar with the new CMS. The transition to Storyblok was made easy due to its high usability and intuitive editing in the backend, especially through the visual editor. After the migration, we tested the migrated articles for errors and set up URL redirects where necessary to ensure a smooth customer experience.

Checklist: Success factors for successful hybrid content migration

  1. Careful planning:
    Thorough analysis and planning are crucial to understanding the scope of the migration, identifying potential challenges, and establishing a clear timeline.

  2. Evaluation of automated and manual migration:
    A precise assessment of the pros and cons of automated and manual migration enables finding the right balance between efficiency and control.

  3. Development of a new frontend concept:
    Developing a new frontend concept that considers the requirements of the new CMS and SEO recommendations lays the foundation for successful migration and content optimization.

  4. Training and support for the team:
    Comprehensive training of the team in using the new CMS is essential to ensure that all stakeholders are familiar with the new tools and processes.

  5. Continuous support and quality assurance:
    Ongoing support during the migration process and thorough quality assurance ensure that potential issues are quickly identified and resolved to ensure a smooth customer experience.

  6. Usability of the new CMS:
    Choosing a CMS with high usability and intuitive operation facilitates the transition for the team and helps increase the efficiency of the migration.

  7. Testing and troubleshooting:
    Testing the migrated content for errors and setting up URL redirects are crucial in ensuring customers receive a consistent and error-free user experience.

  8. Clear communication and collaboration:
    Open communication and effective collaboration among all stakeholders are crucial for the success of the migration.

At Ergosign, we believe that no content migration is like any other. Therefore, we approach each project tailored to the customer.

Start today with the individual migration of your content!

Our team is currently working on optimizing the ordering route. The next part of our content series will deal with how we have taken the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf ordering route to a new level.