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A man with a box of clothes and cleaning up shelves

Content Migration: A Marie Kondo Inspired Guide

I’ll admit to having watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix. She has definitely inspired some of the downsizing my wife and I done over the last few years. I even applied her thought process to my personal website. When I moved it to a new host I thought about how much of the content on it was not sparking joy.  If I didn't really care about stuff did my readers?

This thought process is probably even more valuable for a large business-focused Drupal site than it was for my goofy personal website.

Kondo's six principles for tidying up your house are:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, not location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Find joy.


Commit yourself to tidying up

This one is pretty obvious. Make a plan or create a schedule with a hard due date for a wide, sweeping content audit. Require every department to provide a list of their content that needs to stay. Question why stuff needs to stay on the site. "Because it's always been there" is not an acceptable answer.


Image your ideal lifestyle

If we substitute website for lifestyle, this one starts to be helpful. What websites do you love? How can you apply inspiration from those websites to your site?


Finish discarding first

This one is important. Migrating content to a new CMS or new website is expensive. Don't pay to move content that doesn't need to be there. Make sure the timeline requires the content audit to be done first, prior to migrating to the new site.


Tidy by category, not location

Don't worry about whether or not press releases deserve a place in the top-level navigation. Worry about whether or not press releases need to be on the site at all. When is the last time somebody other than a Googlebot visited the 2005 press release archive? If regulatory or other pressures force you to keep them around, do they need to actually be on the site? Consider options, such as keeping the last two years of press releases on the site and drop everything else into a public Dropbox folder.

Then repeat the above process for every other category of content on your site.


Follow the right order

With houses, Kondo recommends clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and finally sentimental items. In our house, we still haven't gotten through eight boxes of loose photos because every time I start, I waste three hours looking at old pictures, without making any decisions. This is why sentimental stuff needs to come last.

For your website, maybe you want to follow the 80 / 20 rule. First, clean out 80 percent of the content that gets no action. As you are doing so, be mindful of SEO and any decisions that might undermine strategies for how search engines treat your site. 


Find joy

OK, does any website really spark joy? Well, maybe XKCD does. The annual blog post recapping the company retreat may not spark any real business value, but it may spark a smile when you remember it. That's okay. You can keep those posts.

Finally, remember to greet your website and thank the content that you are removing, like Marie does when she enters a house or determines an old sweater can go.  

Not exactly sure how this relates, but I needed an ending.

If you need help wrangling your content or migrating to a new site, get in touch. We can help!