7 Lessons We Learned Migrating Big Media To WordPress

Are you preparing to migrate to WordPress? We’ve spent the last 5 years helping big media and publishing companies make the move to WordPress and along the way we’ve learned a number of important lessons. While your migration will be unique, we’ve found that there are solid principles that apply. Fresh off of helping News Corp Australia make the move to WordPress we’ve put together a list to help in your own planning efforts.

  • Collaborate Closely – Be sure that all stakeholders are involved in the process and are aware of the dependencies inside and outside your company. This is a lot of effort, yet time very well spent. The folks at News Corp Australia employed a dedicated “Change Manager” responsible for keeping track of the dependencies and communicating progress throughout the organization. While a close collaboration takes time and can be messy, it serves as the foundation to ensuring your project’s success.
  • Choose the Technical Approach Carefully – There are many technical approaches that can be taken as part of a migration effort. Ensure that you’ve carefully explored your options (i.e. using existing CSS / JavaScript assets versus rewriting them) and rigorously vetted them, both internally and externally, before making a final decision.
  • Respect the Past – While a migration can be a great opportunity to “start over” be sure that past decisions, both business and technical, are understood and accounted for in your decision making process.
  • Plan for Handover from the Beginning – Begin with the end in mind. Do you want to empower your Producers to manage your sites going forward or do you want to rely on a dedicated development team? Decide on an approach that is aligned with future management and maintenance responsibility. From developer onboarding and support to end-user training, be proactive about anticipating “handover” and ensuring the affected parties are ready.
  • Anticipate Difficulties – Don’t rush the “go live”. Expect that there will be difficulties and work hard to anticipate and eliminate as many as possible in advance. Then, knowing that difficulties, however minor, are still likely to occur, ensure that the right people are available at go live to resolve any issues that arise.
  • Leverage Momentum – Do you plan to move more than one property to WordPress? Focus on the first property, yet build with the next in mind. Leverage the momentum of the first launch to speed up the second by ensuring that code bases, knowledge, and resources, as far as practical, are shared across your teams.
  • Measure Impact – There are many benefits to moving to WordPress as a platform. Know the benefits to your enterprise and evaluate the impact of those benefits throughout and beyond the initial migration effort. Communicate those benefits to stakeholders and then measure against them to ensure that the impact of the migration is aligned with your business objectives.

As you move forward with your migration efforts keep these principles in mind. With close collaboration and rigorous planning you’ll be well on your way to a successful delivery.

Are you planning a move to WordPress in the near future? We’d love to help! Whether working with your team directly or just answering questions we want to help you make the move to WordPress as efficient and effective as possible. Contact us and let’s talk!

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