In any website redesign, one of the most important questions is always, "Which content should we migrate?" The answer for each of our clients is as varied as the content itself. But there are a few best practices I tend to recommend across the board.
1. Look at Your Analytics
While page views alone don't tell the entire story, they are a great place to start when deciding what should be migrated to the new site. Any page that's gotten fewer than 10 views in the last year should be put to bed. And really, 10 views is an incredibly low bar to set. Depending on your traffic, consider removing any page with fewer than 50 or even 100 views. Your users are showing you with your usage that the content simply isn't important to them.
This, of course, isn't a hard and fast rule. Maybe your existing architecture is preventing users from finding important content. User research can help you determine what's still relevant and valuable. Then, you'll have more data to help you decide what is most important. Your new information architecture should support high visibility of that useful content. Think carefully about what your users want and need from you when making these decisions.
2. Turn PDFs into HTML
In this digital age, PDFs are simply impractical for the web. With ever-evolving devices, content should be poised to adapt to smaller screen sizes. Just try viewing a PDF on your smartphone or smartwatch--it's one of the more frustrating tasks on those devices.
While the thought of migrating a large amount of PDF content to HTML is undoubtedly daunting, it can be managed by breaking the task into pieces and doing it over time. You don't have to do it all at once! If you're faced with this task, set aside an hour each week and work through it slowly. It will be well worth the effort to future-proof this content.
3. View a Redesign as an Opportunity
Within almost every organization we work with, I see people panic when the topic of content migration comes up. They're afraid the contribution they make to the website will be lost. That's why it's so important to frame a redesign as an opportunity--one that allows you to revisit your content, evaluate what works and abandon what doesn't. This ensures you don't just "lift and shift" your content to a prettier site, but rather, consider it with a critical eye and migrate only what makes sense.
Website redesigns are stressful, and content migration is no small contributor to that stress. Keep these best practices in mind. Educating your team and working with them on a concerted effort to create a better overall user experience will go a long way in easing the pain.