One of the biggest obstacles moving to a new CMS is your existing website. Trust me, we know the feeling. Questions like 'How do you get a website with the same design and the same content on the new system without getting bogged down in a lingering project that costs you a lot of time and money?' pop up. But despite what you may think, bringing your whole website onto HubSpot CMS isn't a painful lingering process if you are well prepared. In this article we tell you all about what you need to know beforehand.
Migration or redesign
If discontent of your current CMS is the main reason for switching CMS, a migration may be a wise choice. For example, because costs become too high, your current CMS does not offer the desired flexibility, you cannot work efficiently or because support ends, from the CMS itself or from your technical partner.
But if your website is already a few years old, it is also possible that not your CMS, but your website needs to be updated. If your design is outdated, you would like to add new functionalities or if the integration with your marketing tools is poor, a redesign can be a cost-effective option. A migration can often be completed much faster than a redesign - a few weeks for a migration, a few months for a complete redesign - but if you want a new website in the near future, you can consider not to rush a migration but keep your current website online a while longer.
What you'll need to migrate
The most important elements to migrate are your templates, the content and the data. You don't always have to migrate everything, it depends entirely on the context and the purpose of the migration. A solid migration plan is essential to make a migration a success. Before starting a migration, check whether these three components are included in the plan.
Making the website look exactly like your current one on another CMS is by far the biggest challenge, but also the most transparent element of a migration. It all comes down to looking at pictures; does the version on the new CMS - for example HubSpot CMS – look the same as on your current CMS, for example Wordpress or Drupal? Keep in mind that in specific cases you have to settle for a compromise. Some visitors may notice a difference after the migration, but only someone who is very familiar with your website will be able to pinpoint what has changed exactly. It is up to you to determine how much you care; after a migration you will also have to get used to how your old dinner table looks like in the new house.
The most important factor is the number of templates of the current website; a website can have thousands of pages, for example a separate page for each product, but except for the content, the page can look exactly the same. If this applies to you, you will have your website up and running faster than you think. But if you have a dozen pages and every page looks completely different, migrating your templates might be challenging. My advise: Ask your developers to make a good impact analysis to get an overview of all costs.
Make a distinction here between the blog and website pages such as the homepage, the about-us page and pages about your products or services. An average website has a few dozen website pages, and a blog archive can contain hundreds to thousands of posts, making it often the biggest concern of a migration. The main advantage of a blog however is that every post is structured in the same way; a title, often an image and the message itself.
This also means that a migration can be automated. For Wordpress, HubSpot even has a tool that allows you to import your entire blog in an instant. For other systems, an automated solution can be found relatively easily – a developer will only need a few hours to get it done.
Depending on the CMS being migrated from, the normal website pages can be a bit more complicated. Automation is often possible, but partial manual transfer of the content can sometimes be more cost-effective. Before starting the migration, make a proper plan for the content migration, and a proper plan always starts with a thorough analysis of your current situation.
Besides the blog and regular content, every website generates a lot of meta-data. Think of; visitor statistics, contact requests via forms or a complete CRM. Often the data is not stored within your CMS itself, even if you manage it there. For example, statistical data can be managed in Google Analytics, contacts in a CRM such as Dynamics, Salesforce or HubSpot. You have three options for the data;
- Migrate: move the data to your new CMS.
- Archive: make a backup of data that you do not need to be available on a daily basis but that you cannot part from
- Integrate: connect your tools to the new CMS so that your data is available there and your data generated by your website is processed in relevant systems. Think of analytics, CRM, Sales software or ERP
Who will migrate your website?
In some cases, you may be able to complete the migration yourself, especially if you have a web designer or developer on staff, but it is always a good idea to get proper counsel, even if you engage a third party. Weigh the costs and benefits against each other, taking into account not only the initial start-up costs, but also the effort that is expected of you and the quality of the process itself.
HubSpot migration service
The fastest way to get started with a HubSpot website is HubSpot's migration service. A team of specialists will rebuild your website as precisely as possible on the HubSpot CMS, including your content, assets (images and documents), blog posts, etc. Within 2 to 3 weeks you will be done and you can get started on HubSpot. And for small websites (up to 20 pages) it is even free.
Of course there are limitations – or it would be too good to be true. For example, a webshop cannot be migrated, nor can pages that are automatically generated from a database. But if you have a relatively simple website, without special integrations with other systems, you will be on the road quickly. Make sure you are well informed in advance so that you can be sure that you are not missing any essential functionality after the migration.
More than 2,000 HubSpot partners specialize in HubSpot CMS. A good partner can guide a migration for you and is generally much more flexible. You will incur more costs, the migration process will also take more than 3 weeks, but you will have complete control over the end result.
Even if you want to use the HubSpot migration service, it can be worthwhile to engage a partner to guide this process for you. They can communicate with the HubSpot specialists, and most importantly, advise you on how best to implement specific pages.
Do it yourself
If you can miss your own developers for a couple of weeks, you can perform the entire migration yourself. HubSpot has excellent and daily updated developer documentation, a community forum and an active Slack channel where they can get support. A good starting point – for every HubSpot user – is the free HubSpot Academy. Carrying out a migration yourself can save you a lot of hard costs, but make a well-considered choice; it can sometimes be more efficient to pay a specialist than to use your own developer resources, being unavailable for other tasks.
Migration pitfalls to avoid
A migration or redesign can be a smooth and enjoyable process, if properly planned and as long as you are well informed. The easiest way to avoid problems and disappointments is to be consciously involved in the process;
- Appoint someone who is responsible for the migration or redesign process, as well as for communication if you involve an external party;
- Make sure you make a proper plan before you start. Document not only the process itself, but also what exactly will be migrated and what the end result should be;
- Organize a training for everyone who will work with the new CMS. If everyone is familiar with the new CMS and knows what is expected, you will avoid frustrations and disappointments in the first weeks after the transition;
- Don't miss out on opportunities; the transition to a new CMS is the perfect opportunity to think carefully about your processes, what you can get out of your website or even your entire marketing strategy.
Our migration specialist are here to help
If you’d like to migrate your website to HubSpot’s CMS, our migration specialist are here to help. Request a free consult with one of our migration experts here.shares