While you’re waiting to get your hands on your new CMS, it can be very tedious. Or just downright overwhelming when you only have one person in charge of the entire operation of dealing with the content. During this time, we were mostly working with the various people on campus who were there — in the summer, you have barely any academic types, which is hard — but we setup a strategy that would essentially allow us to start to revise content and prepare what the new site’s organization would look like.
We had a really drastic change, because the new site allowed us to archive and compile new stories and a host of other capabilities that in the past simply were not part of our operations. For us, it was all about just “getting the content out there.” That can often be a big challenge for people who are one or two-person shops.
I do think that this time is the most critical time to start to get your ducks in a row. In our case, there was no automatic migration. We had to migrate every page over ourselves that we wanted to move over and the company we worked with did about 200 of the most critical for us, but that wasn’t enough for us to really scratch the surface. One thing I’d suggest doing that we didn’t make better use of, is identifying those pages early and then revamping them before the company you’re working with gets their hands on them.
That way, when they’re migrating you don’t have to worry about that and can focus on organizing other areas that are important to your operation. There are always going to be changes. But if you can save yourself work during the dead period, when you’ve effectively stopped updating pages on the existing site — to prevent from doing double the work — it will benefit you a great deal in the opening days and weeks of the new site.