Website CMS Migration Services

If you feel that your website’s content management system (CMS) is holding your business back, it may be time to switch to a new platform. It’s a daunting task, but we’re here to help. SearchWorks has a veteran team of web development and design professionals who can migrate your website to a new CMS and bring your business concepts to life online.

Contact us today for a free analysis and quote!

What is a CMS?

A CMS is a software application that handles the publication of content on the web. In the early days of the Internet, every page in a website needed to be manually coded and uploaded by web developers. As you can imagine, the process was very tedious and time-consuming. It also kept non-coders from publishing content on their own, creating a bottleneck for most companies’ tech teams.

CMS platforms help business owners circumvent these inefficiencies by providing content creators and developers alike an online application that automatically performs much of the coding work using a non-technical user interface that can be learned by people who don’t necessarily code. Most modern CMS platforms look more like user-friendly desktop publishing applications, allowing writers, editors, artists and marketers to wield direct control over the content they create.

Today, there are dozens of CMS choices for website owners to choose from. Some are designed for simple operations such as blogging, while other more complex ones can be used to run ecommerce websites and SaaS businesses. Some CMS platforms are free and open source such as WordPress and Magento, while others will have to be licensed and paid for. Still, other organizations like building their own CMS platforms in-house to make sure it’s tailor-fitted to their needs.

When Does a CMS Need to be Changed?

A CMS change may be considered by a website owner when one or more of the following issues arise:

  • The CMS cannot support functions essential to how the webmaster wants to do business.
  • The website cannot support web design effects desired by the webmaster.
  • The website has systemic limitations that hold back the implementation of SEO techniques.
  • The website requires highly specialized web development support,
  • The CMS involves unnecessary expenses to maintain.

Most of the time, CMS migrations are arduous processes that need to be considered several times before a decision is made. A platform change does not only involve a lot of time, financial resources and manpower, but it can also be disruptive to a website’s operations. As such, SearchWorks only recommends CMS migrations as a last resort to overcome the above mentioned issues.

Things to Consider When Choosing a CMS

If all potential remedies to the current website have been exhausted and the decision to switch to a new platform has been reached, we encourage clients to choose their next CMS based on the following qualifications:

  • Availability of desired features. The new CMS should be chosen based on the core functionalities sought by the webmaster. Business needs should be the basis of the technology chosen and not the other way around.
  • Flexibility for custom designs. Every legitimate online business will want to have a unique-looking website. Therefore, the CMS will need to have great design flexibility to accommodate the visions of the website owner and his design team.
  • Availability of themes. In case the webmaster doesn’t want to start his new website from scratch, using a pre-developed theme is a viable option. Make sure that your CMS supports a vibrant theme designer community and marketplace.
  • Availability of extensions. Plugins and widgets are extensions that add functionalities to CMS platforms which are not present by default. Similar to themes, a good CMS must have an active plugin and widget developer community that’s supported by a marketplace.
  • User-friendliness. The CMS must be as easy to use as possible not only for your web development team but also for other personnel who’ll be involved in the website’s operations. Non-coders such as content creators, marketers and sales team members must also be considered when choosing a new CMS.
  • Security. Your website is essential to your business operations and it will contain plenty of sensitive information about you and your customers. Needless to say, the CMS you choose should have a strong reputation for security and privacy.
  • Multi-website managementIf you need to run multiple websites with one CMS or if your website targets multiple countries using unique top level domains for each, there are platforms that are built specifically for that purpose.
  • Cost. For most business owners, cost is a secondary consideration when choosing a CMS. Just make sure that you’re comfortable with what the developer charges and you’ll be able to sustain the website for the long haul. Some CMS platforms are free, some need to be paid for on a one-time basis, while others will charge based on your sales.

If you’ve decided on your top priorities as far as the CMS’ qualities are concerned, you can start looking at specific platforms for a deeper comparison.

Popular CMS Platforms

There’s a multitude of possible choices when searching for a new CMS for your website but you can only have one. The following are the most commonly used platforms that we see with our clients:

  • WordPress. Undoubtedly the most popular CMS on the Web, WordPress started out as an open source blogging platform which kept expanding its capabilities thanks to diligent work from its massive developer community. These days, WordPress has become a do-it-all CMS with the ability to support blogs, static websites, online stores, membership sites, and more.
  • Magento. Like WordPress, Magento is an open source CMS. The difference is that Magento is designed primarily for use on ecommerce sites. Like WordPress, it’s free to use and has a vibrant community that creates plugins and themes all the time. It’s very flexible and can be designed virtually any way you want it to look as long as you have the people who know how to work on it.
  • Shopify. If maintaining a Magento website takes too much out of you and you’d rather focus on selling online, Shopify might be a better bet. This proprietary ecommerce CMS is free to use, but you’ll have to cede a fraction of your revenue to Shopify with every sale generated on it. Like WordPress and Magento, Shopify is highly customizable and comes with plenty of extensions that you can use for greater functionality.
  • Drupal. An older but still very powerful CMS, Drupal has tons of functionality and design flexibility options that you can use to create stunning websites. Like Magento, though, you’ll have to find web developers that specialize in the platform so you can get the most out of it.
  • HubSpot. A CMS platform designed for digital marketers, HubSpot CMS offers roust and streamlined features that can help even non-coders run a professional online business. The only catch is that it doesn’t come cheap. You’ll have to cough up $200-$900 per month just to get on it.

The CMS Migration Process

After deciding that you want to change your CMS and migrate to a new platform, you can call SearchWorks and enlist our expertise in executing the transition for you. If you choose us for the job, you can expect us to take the following steps when performing your CMS migration:

  1. Technical Assessment. An analysis of the existing website and its CMS to determine the validity of client’s concerns and whether they can be addressed using the current platform or not. This phase also breaks down what it’ll take to move the site’s current content to the new CMS.
  2. Review of New Platform. This is an evaluation of the client’s desired new platform and its suitability to the website’s needs. If no new CMS has been selected, SearchWorks will recommend one that we determine to be the most appropriate for your business needs.
  3. Site Backup. A backup of the current website will be archived so it can be restored anytime there is a need to.
  4. Scraping or Repurposing of Old Content. If the client desires his website’s current content to migrate to the new CMS, SearchWorks will determine the best process to do so. In some cases, the current CMS can be made to export the data using CSV files. In other cases, content may have to be manually scraped, archived in a database and transferred to the new CMS.
  1. Development of New Site. The current website in its original CMS will be allowed to run while the new website on the new CMS is developed behind the scenes. Sometime after the commencement of web development, the client will be able to preview the new site on a staging environment.
  2. Decommissioning of the Old Site. Once the client is satisfied with the build of the new website in the new CMS, arrangements will be made to ready it for launch. Meanwhile, the old website will also be prepared to be taken down.
  3. New Website Deployment and Launch. With a greenlight from the client, the new website will go live and instantly replace the old one.
  4. Post-Launch Monitoring and Bug Fixes. SearchWorks will continue to monitor the website’s performance in the next several days to address anu bugs or unforeseen issues.

Please note that these steps may be modified in actual projects as needed and as agreed upon by SearchWorks and its clients.