Such things happen overnight. The thought of migrating your forum to a new platform might definitely create some sweat. It’s about your customers, community, people who have come together to discuss what matters to them most in an online form. We understand that lots of your time and effort did have gone into building this online community, but the idea of a forum convert does not always have to be such a daunting prospect. After migrating hundreds of forums, we’ve learned few things and we’re glad to share them.
In most cases, making a substantial change to your forum platform might be challenging for your audience. People get quickly used to the status quo, no matter what the quality is. It’s critical to mind that the community reactions during the migration process might be different. There will always be the “all change is bad” crowd and another
Before migrating your forum, make sure that your users have the answers to all questions they might have. Some of the best questions to ask for a hassle-free migration are:
Are your staff available to answer questions and respond to feedback?
- Are there resources and tutorials available?
Your community is the key, and they want to know you care. A hassle-free migration is the one with an investment in your users, not a task they have to suffer from.
Take Care of 301 Redirects
Minimizing traffic loss when migrating your forum is one more crucial thing for you to pursue. To keep things running smoothly, it’s critical to make sure that you have set up your 301 redirects in the right way. This will help to find whether all of your links are functioning well and that the search engines are able to properly crawl your content.
Your forum discussions, categories, and comments are the most vital content to redirect. Mind that their names may quite often vary due to the type of software (threads and posts, subforums, etc.), but the message stays the same.
Aside from these basics, it’s also essential to consult web analytics. This will help to figure out which of your content is most important and then to select example content to test post-migration. By doing this, it’s way more easy to identify and fix the problems.
Think Twice Before Landing on DIY software
If you think that you can save money by building a custom forum of your own with your developer, think twice. From first sight, this might seem like a nice idea, but the problems in home-grown platform quickly become clear. The real headaches appear when your developer leaves your company and you basically get stuck with his solution alone. Then again, migration to a commercial platform is inevitable, but now your software will most often suffer from:
Messed data structures
Limited feature sets
The scenario which was supposed to save your money, will now not only cost you
What Else to Know?
We would like to sum this up by saying that your preparation is the key. It’s the number one thing that smooths forum migration. Everyone including your software vendors and the users should know what to expect from the forthcoming conversion.
Undoubtedly, migration can be a sweat. But with the right knowledge in the right plans in place, there’s no reasons why it can’t be a blast.
We make migration a painless process for both you and your customers. Perform a free test migration to verify that everything works and only then proceed a full one with minimal downtime and zero efforts.