Moving From a Static Site to a CMS

Companies that are moving from a static site to a content management system can encounter some difficulties along the way. Today, I'm going to share some of my experiences and tips gleaned from past projects.

First off, I recommend using a content management system whole-heartedly. I think that for most businesses, given the concerted search engine optimization effort required to rank a site these days, a content management system like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress is a great choice. I am endorsing content management systems without reservation.

Having said that, there are a few things to watch out for when planning the move.

Pull all the content off the old site that is to be re-purposed. Storing the content in simple text files is probably the best starting point for someone new to any CMS.

Once you have chosen the CMS that fits your needs, you'll need to start reading up on how to use it properly. Nobody learns one of these things in a day but most content management systems have large user communities that provide most of the answers you'll need getting started. Don't be intimidated. Just keep at it.

Find out the proper way to optimize your particular system for search engines. Most of the popular CMS have modules or plug-ins that are easily installed to make your site more SE friendly.

If your old site has been around for a while, it's probably been indexed by the search engines already. This could pose duplicate content issues once the new site goes live so you need to create 301 redirects from the old content to the corresponding new pages. Tutorials for doing this are easily found by searching for 301 redirect.

Install the CMS. There are two basic approaches to doing this. You can install in a testing subdomain and then move the installation once it's ready to roll or, if you aren't getting much traffic anyway, install under your main domain and get on with the task of moving the content over. I personally like the first approach because it gives you the time you need to get your sea legs under you with the new system and you don't run the risk of having a shoddy, unfinished site getting indexed.

Get cracking on the content and your seo efforts. It's very likely that your ranking will drop during the initial months of operation but with diligent care and promotion of your site, your future ranking should surpass your old ranking. This is a huge consideration and if you have a long-established site with a good ranking, moving to a CMS may not be a good decision.

Sound overwhelming? For some people it is probably easier to have someone do that for them. Like us. If a CMS sounds like the answer to some of the difficulties your experiencing with your static site, contact Farbewerk and we can get you set up.