Planning a Successful Content Migration (Because Not Even the Migrate Module Can Do It For You)


Content migration isn't the most glamorous part of a web project. But once your site building is complete, your beautiful design is themed, and that custom module you knew you'd have to build is functionally tested within an inch of its life -- your audience is still going to visit your newly launched Drupal site for its content.

As developers, we often assume that our main task is using Migrate or Feeds to get the data from field A to field B, but migration often requires more planning, as well as more attention from the content owners.

Scenario 1: You're migrating 10,000 pages from a static website built shortly before Y2K. You have to inventory your content, decide how much of it you're keeping/rewriting/deleting, decide what content types fit your content, get it into Drupal with a mix of automated and manual migration, set up redirects to avoid breaking old links, and perform serious QA.

Scenario 2: You're migrating from an old CMS with clunky content types and fields to a new Drupal one that's much more tailored to your needs. You're migrating 400 pages from your old CMS as-is, and overhauling 20-30 of those pages with new content. You're going to spend time massaging your old fields and taxonomy to get them into your new structure.

Scenario 3: You're condensing 5 sites into one. Three are static; two are in CMSes. You know you're going to need a content audit to identify redundant and out-of-date content. Your biggest concerns are making sure your new, consolidated site is built on a sound content strategy, and having a content migration plan that shows you what content's going to end up where and how it's going to get there [Migrate module for the CMSes? Scraping for the static sites? Can we get some interns?].

Scenario 4: You're migrating content one-to-one from your old CMS to your shiny new Drupal one. Your fields line up in Drupal with what they were in the last CMS. You don't have plans to significantly overhaul your content. You are lucky, and this session is not for you.

If you're dealing with Scenarios 1-3, you'll have to sink time into content strategy and migration planning. This session will talk about:

  • Content inventories
  • Content audits
  • Content strategy and site building: a match made in heaven
  • Migration techniques and when to use each
  • Redirect strategies
  • Migration QA
  • And, of course, helpful modules

The session won't get into the technical side of using Migrate or scrape scripts. Instead, it will focus on the content strategy and site-building work that needs to be done up front to make more complex migrations successful. 

Session Track

Site Building

Experience Level


Drupal Version