Blog / Content Management

Gain the Edge on Content Creation—Avoiding Manual Migration


by Tomas Hruby

Jan 24, 2018

These days, it’s more important than ever to tell an engaging and consistent brand story, and, accordingly, content hubs have gained a lot of traction. However, some projects keep using deprecated approaches and tools because of the fear of migration to a new platform.

One of the biggest fears is transferring existing content. Since you don't always get the luxury of building a project from scratch with no existing content, you still need to make sure that most of the content is migrated successfully. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of content migration to portray the biggest challenges and show you how Kentico Cloud helps alleviate these pains.

Migration Process Pains

Meet Laura, our fictional marketing manager, who is trying to adapt her team to working with a content hub on a project with a lot of existing content. Generally speaking, there are a ton of ways to migrate existing content. As an example, let’s see what she did to migrate the existing content and how a content hub would have helped her. Let’s elaborate on the following migration processes:

  • Define a new content model
  • Collect and revise available content
  • Reassemble content according to the new content model
  • Migrate content
  • Recreate relationships after the migration

Inevitably, Laura’s team needed to define the structure of the new content. It’s like pieces of Lego. Take landing pages. Laura’s designers and content engineers outlined how content writers should compose landing pages and what structured content components to use. It’s essential that you do this at the beginning, or you risk that by changing the content model later, you will generate a ton of manual tasks.

Now, when the structure was clear, Laura needed to collect content from all possible sources and analyze what could be reused. Imagine that she did a large spreadsheet of existing content, analyzing what its purpose was, when it was last updated, how long the text was, and much more. Then, she could have decided whether to reuse each piece of content or throw it away.

As soon as she identified what portion of the existing content could be reused, she needed to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole. Transforming content to fit the new content model sometimes means a lot of changes. Especially, if the existing content was stored in an unstructured way as a single blob inside a rich text editor.

All in all, Laura thought that the heavy lifting was over, and all that remained to do was to migrate the prepared content to Kentico Cloud. However, at this point, many Kentico Cloud evaluators encountered a big challenge—there’s no automated way to import existing content, only copy-pasting. Importantly, the manual work doesn’t end with copying. The old content was probably nicely linked. So all the links in the rich text and all the content relationships needed to be manually reconstructed as well.

Imagine migrating 1,000 pages manually. Copying a single page into structured content and making sure that everything went right, including link reconstruction, can take as much as 20 minutes. That’s an insane 333 extra hours that could be spent on delivering a better project.

There's a Better Way

Luckily, Kentico Cloud helped Laura avoid that extra effort of manual copying by using our Content Management API. Once the content had been reassembled to the new model, Laura's development team could use the API to import content within hours. The new API allowed the developers to import the reassembled content using a script or our migration tool. Additionally, the Kentico Cloud Content Management API allows you to reconstruct content links and relationships programmatically, without the need of manually touching every imported item.

As we always try to do in Kentico Cloud, we went beyond the notion of simply providing an API. We worked very hard to deliver the most comfortable way to migrate content. By leveraging smart consistency enforcement and external references, developers can easily import everything in one go and even perform repeated imports without starting from the ground up. If you're a developer, stay tuned for the follow-up article when I'll elaborate on the Content Management API’s features.

Content migration is now a breeze. Instead of days, you can now get it done in hours, which buys you time for making an outstanding brand story. So, don't hesitate to take a look at Kentico Cloud today.