Marketing on YouTube is a great way to attract users to your message in an engaging, cost-effective way. This article covers the basics of how to put ads on YouTube, as well as best practices for targeting and optimizing content to serve relevant, engaging messages that won’t make your YouTube ads annoying or intrusive.
Make sure your YouTube account is set up for business.
A good way to set up a YouTube account that will be used by multiple people is to make sure your account is set up for business. Simply sign into YouTube and under “settings,” make sure to click “create a new channel,” then choose “use as business or another name” and create!
Pro tip: If you have a Google account, Google automatically gives you a personal YouTube account. Just be sure to adjust your settings to a Brand Account.
Who is your target audience?
YouTube ad targeting gives you access to your channel’s analytics when you create an account for business. The analytics tab contains stats directly related to your channel and includes information such as audience behaviors, view counts, average watch time, revenues generated, etc.
This feature helps you to answer questions such as: Where/When are your videos being viewed? What is your viewer’s age range?
While analytics and quantitative metrics are helpful, there is still much to be learned by simply reading the comments section. While this isn’t always fun to do, the comments section provides information from a variety of different viewpoints that can help with informing different aspects of your marketing strategy.
Check out what your competitors are up to.
If you want to know what’s hot, then take a look at what your competitors have been posting. Competitive analysis is the key to driving a successful YouTube channel. Identify which videos are capturing the most attention, and watch them to get a sense of what kind of content your audience is interested in. Apply this same strategy to your own channel, and don’t be afraid to read your comments section. It’s okay to respond to viewer feedback – it shows that you’re not afraid to actively engage with your community.
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!
The first rule of SEO is making sure you have an appealing title that is relevant to your video. YouTube titles can contain up to 70 characters, but less than 60 is typically recommended in addition to an eye-catching thumbnail. The description should contain a short explanation of your video along with any links to your company’s website or additional social media pages. The description of your video can also contain up to 15 hashtags, which assist in making your content more searchable. However, YouTube guidelines state that any more than 15 hashtags in a single post may automatically be ignored by the YouTube search engine, so choose your hashtags wisely.
So what have we learned?
YouTube advertising is a great resource for promoting your business and allows for collaboration between employees by setting up your channel as a brand account. YouTube also offers analytics based on your channel and provides stats that include information based on audience behavior. While these points of data are useful, it is also helpful to do a little research of your own like reading your own comments and checking out the competition. By seeing what works (or doesn’t work) for competitors, you can identify trends that might work best for you. We’ve learned that the way you describe your videos is important, too. Your title and description should only contain keywords relevant to the video topic and include common search words that will get you more clicks. Once you have your channel up and running, it will require more than just constant monitoring. Practice some of the steps mentioned above to help grow your channel and keep your message relevant.
Things are heating up between Google and the U.S. Justice Department over a pending antitrust investigation regarding the search engine’s empire. It consists of business platforms ranging from email, maps, reviews, search and YouTube to a multitude of other product categories.
Google’s dominance in the marketplace has caught the eye of the Federal Trade Commission along with several political leaders who are raising red flags that the company may be favoring its own product listings in search result rankings and the digital ad market, which in turn is hurting the competitive landscape and leading to a monopoly. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that the majority of Google-owned businesses have revolutionized from start-ups to world leaders in revenue in only two decades.
“For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior,” stated Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s chief executive and co-founder.
While the tech world is focusing on Google’s market dominance, political giants in Washington are making claims toward political bias, particularly that the conservative voice has been suppressed. However, the tech giant is catching heat from both sides of the political spectrum with Democratic presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kamala Harris, vocalizing their support to break up the company and other similar tech giants such as Facebook, contending that they have become too powerful.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley showed his support for the DOJ investigation on Twitter stating, “This is very big news, and overdue.” – Source: https://www.reuters.com
This isn’t the first time Google has found itself under the microscope for similar accusations. Europe’s competition authority hit the company with a fine to the tune of $2.7 billion for giving itself the upper hand in comparison shopping ranking results. That was just two years ago.
Google also found itself in hot water with the FTC in 2011 regarding allegations that its use of tracking cookies on Safari users was misrepresented. The case was settled with a fine of $22.5 million.
An initial hearing regarding the new investigation is scheduled for July 16, 2019, where leaders of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have all been summoned to testify.
Many people thought emails wouldn’t survive the late 90s, the 2000s, yet here we are. It is 2019 and emails have been one of the most reliable forms of communication of our time. Email marketing is one of the few digital ways to communicate that can branch across all platforms and devices. The nature of this tool has evolved immensely in even the last five years. Let’s take a peek into what is relevant and where we are heading in the world of emails.
Welcome to the Game APNGs
APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphics) images can be used in emails and support 24-bit colors and 8-bit alpha transparency. They were rejected in 2007, but in 2016 Apple declared them the preferred format for animated stickers. They are similar to GIFs in that they are both lossless, but APNGs are better quality and smaller in size. This is an ideal alternative when you have several colors in an animation and want to prevent color banding.
Keep Them Engaged Within a Smaller Space
Gone are the days when emails were a foot long – thank goodness! In the age of universal ADHD, we have only a few minutes to grasp the attention of the reader and have them engage with the content presented. As email designers and developers, we need to think of smart ways to make the reader want to click and subscribe, and this can be done by gamification. There is a plethora of opportunities to create quizzes, polls, tests and games in emails that can result in a bump in subscribers, and thus increase ROI. The best part is that all these examples can be contained within the email without the reader leaving their inbox.
Get Off the Grid
There usually is a grid that email designers go off of as a base. However, more and more email developers are jumping off the grid wagon and trying a new, more dynamic asymmetrical approach. Within the abyss of an inbox, your email must stand out, and fast. By eliminating the monotony, designing more full-width imagery, and including clean icons and CTAs in a unique position, there is hope to stand out against the crowd.
There are so many other ways to improve the email experience for the viewer, but for now, take these email marketing tips to nibble on and feel free to explore and experiment. Email creation is, after all, 10% design and 90% troubleshooting. So go and enjoy the journey, and let us hope email clients (yes, I’m looking at you Outlook) will soon join us so we can further improve the future of emails.
Instagram has grown exponentially since its launch in 2010, with active monthly users reaching 1 billion. This has made it the perfect platform for brands to better connect with their consumers. Here are the latest trends in 2019 Instagram marketing that brands need to know.
Instagram stories are the most popular aspect of the platform and has recently reached 400 million users. Stories allow viewers to access a wide range of content, making this prime digital real estate for brands to place ads between the posted stories and snag the eye of the viewer. It is the perfect way to measure community engagement and gain consumer insight with features like contests and polls and to be able to see the number of views your brand’s story has.
Stories only last 24 hours on an account’s feed, but now users have the option to save their stories to a Highlights tab. Highlights are located at the top of an account’s feed and are pinned into categories.
IGTV is the latest Instagram product, and it’s taking on the bigger video streaming services like YouTube. Content on IGTV can last from 10 minutes to an hour. It utilizes the vertical video format, which is useful if a brand is looking to increase engagement. This optimizes the viewer’s experience by utilizing the entire screen, which then forces the viewer’s attention solely on the video itself.
2. Instagram Shopping
Instagram has a visual edge, making it the perfect platform for online shopping. The checkout feature allows users to buy products shown via the app instead of being redirected to the brand’s website. This feature allows the purchasing experience for buyers to be simpler, while allowing brands to capture impulse buyers.
3. Augmented Reality
Similar to stickers, brands can purchase and create filters to be used on Instagram. These filters have often been used by celebrities to promote upcoming products like Arianna Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ album. Filters can be accessed by using the built-in camera. They are free for the audience to use and promotes the brand in a non-intrusive way.
Influencers play a large part in Instagram culture, but now brands have started turning toward micro-influencers. Micro-influencers can be categorized by someone who has an audience within the follower range of 2,000 to 50,000 on any particular social channel. Brands believe these influencers have a more niche following and that they can better connect with their followers than those with massive followings, such as celebrities.
Instagram will continue to evolve, and these trends will play a part in shaping the future of Instagram marketing. Use these trends now to grow your brand’s Instagram presence.
Digital marketing is becoming more and more important. While traditional marketing still has its place, the ability to track a user’s behavior at the point of contact is giving advertisers a better understanding of how their audience receives the content and message being presented. Digital advertising platforms can provide numerous benefits and insights, but as the tide changes and digital becomes the core of a business’s marketing strategy, sending the same message to every user in the digital space isn’t likely to lead to success.
Done well, online advertising can be highly effective. It can also be immensely complex, and many companies are struggling to understand how their marketing efforts need to change to adapt to the world of social media and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Here are a few important things to consider when developing new digital marketing initiatives.
Digital Marketing is About Building Relationships
All advertising should help develop a brand, promote brand awareness and reflect the organization’s values. The difference is that traditional advertising channels, like television or print, only allow an advertiser to choose their audience based on what they are currently doing. This often means that the ad will need a more general appeal and the metrics for success will be more closely connected to end goal completion, like making a purchase.
To create more engaging and effective digital ads, goal funnels are used to identify behaviors that indicate that a user is closer to making a purchase. Rather than creating campaigns that are designed to generate immediate revenue, digital marketing specialists understand that not every user is at the same point of the goal conversion funnel. Some users are ready to make a purchase, while others may be interested, but require more time or information before they reach that point.
Asking the latter group for a sale will likely not be very effective and creates a binary choice that can push users in that group away from a company’s offerings by seeming pushy or irrelevant. By identifying checkpoints in each buyer’s journey, marketers can provide a message or content that addresses the needs of the users in each funnel stage more effectively. This allows progress to be made incrementally, so campaigns can be created to help move a user closer to the goal over time. By listening to the information generated by user behavior, advertisers can use this opportunity to develop brand preference in users who are not yet ready to purchase, while still working to convert the users who are. By providing interesting, entertaining or valuable content at each point of interaction with a user, a company can make immediate sales to ready buyers, while staying visible and relevant to everyone else. This is effective for building future business and improving individual user experiences, which can lead to brand advocacy and customer loyalty.
Personalized User Experiences
As advertisers begin to focus their attention on the internet, audiences in the digital space are constantly being bombarded with advertisements from a variety of sources. With so much competition for a user’s attention, the expectations for user experience are increasing, making it harder than ever to find a single message that will be appealing to all user groups.
Today’s users expect every interaction with a brand to be meaningful and personalized to their needs. It is very easy for users to scroll past ads that don’t provide a clear benefit to the individual user, especially when an ad is competing with pictures of puppies and babies on social media platforms. Since many digital platforms charge by the view, a “one-size-fits-all” approach to messaging can lead to wasted budget and poor results. So how can digital advertisers be sure they are putting the right message in front of every user, every time?
Audience Segmentation and Buyer Personas
One of the main differences, and most powerful advantages, in digital marketing is audience segmentation. Most advertising platforms offer ways to separate an audience into smaller groups, which allows an advertiser to concurrently gather and analyze data for the whole audience, as well as for each separate group.
By monitoring this data, advertisers can use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to identify commonalities between users who are more/less likely to take a desired action. Over time, audience segments can be developed into buyer personas. Buyer personas are well-defined groups of individuals who have common interests, perspectives and/or challenges. Once an advertiser has identified a buyer persona, they can start to better understand the most common motivations for users in that group to engage with the company and provide content that is timely and offers a solution that fit their needs or personality.
Best Practice for Digital Marketing: Be Dynamic
This is a great segue into another important difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing: many digital campaigns will continuously improve over time, provided there is a clear digital strategy and strong process for optimization in place.
With so much information available to advertisers, every part of a digital campaign can and should be optimized regularly. This means that most campaigns will change drastically over time, so a great digital marketing plan will be very different from a more static, traditional marketing plan. This can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, as it requires a new approach to strategy and budget planning.
The transition to advertising on social media and SEM platforms has started to close the gap between marketing and data science. To maximize Return on Investment (ROI), digital advertisers allow the data to drive optimization. User behavior provides clear indications to determine what works and what needs improvement. The difference between success and failure is often in the process that an advertiser employs to reach their goals over time.
A/B Testing for Personalized Messaging
Individual users in an audience can be very different, and those differences can change the user’s reaction to an ad or creative asset. Geographical location, age group, gender, religious and political belief systems, and cultural dynamics all have a huge effect on how an audience will receive a message, or even what message they will receive from any piece of information. For example, a younger user in California likely has different personal beliefs and a different sense of humor than an older user in Arkansas. Advertisers must consider not only messaging, but also the tone and voice of the message, including choice of words or expressions.
This is where an established testing process can be invaluable. Digital advertisers know they can gain actionable intelligence more efficiently by evaluating one audience’s reaction to multiple messages or creative assets. By continuously generating new hypotheses and testing them appropriately, audiences can be segmented more effectively, user experiences can be improved and success can be achieved more quickly.
Marketing has always evolved to incorporate new technologies, and digital marketing is the newest frontier. Digital marketing still requires all the creativity that has driven traditional marketing, but it also gives advertisers vast amounts of information that was previously unavailable. This is a powerful advantage, but it also requires a complete change in the fundamental understanding of marketing theory if a business wants to stay relevant.
Advertisers who embrace this new approach by developing a more scientific process for analyzing and leveraging this information will be more successful in providing valuable, interesting or entertaining messages to each of their audiences. Advertisers who don’t will largely get stuck in the past and quickly left there.
It happens often with Google Ads and other search engine platforms, performance goes down. Improving conversions is an essential part of any Google campaign. When talking about conversions, marketers are usually focusing on cost per conversion, which can also be thought of as return on ad spend. There are many types of conversions; conversions can be sales, forms filled or a phone call, and are often the lifeblood of a campaign.
Below are a few things to keep in mind when conversions are dropping on paid search campaigns.
Tracking and Website Issues – First, it’s important to determine if there is a technical issue with the campaign itself by ensuring all conversion tracking is working properly. That can be done by comparing actual sales or form fills against the data. Do the numbers match up? Sometimes there can be a disconnect between ad managers and webmasters, so it’s important to maintain a good relationship to know if site changes occurred that could have impacted performance.
Seasonal – It’s hard to admit that sometimes a decline can’t be fixed. It may be out of our control. Seasonality is a real thing for many industries. It’s not just a B2C trend, it can often affect the B2B world as well. Having prior year data and a knowledge of the industry helps tremendously with this. When it is known that a lack-of-demand season is coming, marketers can prepare and adjust their budgets accordingly.
Competitors – Once lack of technical and seasonal issues have been verified, the next step is to see if anything has changed in the marketplace. As with any business, offline or online, a new competitor changes the game. Marketers should search the space to see what shows in results pages. Even if the ad is still there and positioning has not changed, searchers now have more options. A new competitor can mean a higher cost-per-click in the auction, better deals for consumers and fresh, new messaging and ads. If a new competitor is in the space, marketers need to do the work. What is the messaging? What are they offering? However, this doesn’t mean advertisers should attempt to match competitors. In fact, many can’t do that. Advertisers may not be able to be the cheapest, but there is a reason a consumer should pick them over competitors. That should be emphasized.
Refresh – Ultimately, it could be that absolutely nothing has changed, including the content. If everything else seems constant, it’s probably time to refresh the creative. New ads can make a world of difference. Potential customers may have seen the ads too many times, so marketers should change it up and try something new. Be sure to let the data lead the refreshment. If the ad clicks are the same, but conversions are down, then it may not be the ads that need changing. It could be the landing page experience; the destination could have lost its appeal to consumers. Meeting with the web and creative teams can help add fresh creative and an updated experience.
These are the initial steps marketers take when a search campaign is losing conversions. It’s a rinse and repeat situation with digital advertising. A/B testing is always a constant. The goal is to make changes before those declines start to happen. Keeping an eye on keyword and ad performance is a lot of work, but if it was easy then everyone would be doing it.
In previous posts, we have provided tips and tricks for a successful Drupal migration from earlier versions of the content management system to the latest Version 8. In this installment of our series, we will talk about the Drupal 8 Migrate Plugin System.
About Drupal 8 Migrate
The migrate module has been moved into the core in Drupal 8, showing the community dedicated to making the process of upgrading between versions or migrating into Drupal an easier path to a successful move. The migrate module takes advantage of the Drupal 8 Plugin system, offering developers several Plugin types that they can implement: MigrateProcessPlugin, MigrateSourcePlugin, MigrateDestinationPlugin.
In an earlier blog post in this series, we dove into an introduction of the Migrate module in Drupal 8 and reviewed a basic setup of the migration mappings needed to get started. In this post, we will dive into MigrateProcessPlugins: what they are, how they work and examples on how to create your own.
What is a Drupal 8 Migrate Processor?
A migration processor is a plugin that is used to manipulate data that is being mapped from a source to a destination. These plugins are typically small, but very powerful. Processors are used in the “process” portion of your migration configuration file.
Drupal 8 comes with several migration processors out-of-the-box. Some of the more notable ones that you will likely use on a regular basis are:
get – Default, 1:1 data migration plugin
default_value – Allows you to define a default value for a field
explode – Converts a string into an array of strings based on a delimiter
iterator – Iterates over an array of values to perform a process on
migration_lookup – Looks up an entity based on an ID from a source to a destination
skip_on_empty – Skips the current field or row if the value is empty in the migration
What Are the Benefits of Using a Drupal 8 Migrate Processor?
Migration process plugins provide developers with more flexibility and reusability when working with migrations in Drupal 8. By utilizing the Drupal 8 Plugin system, the Migrate module allows users to create new processors that implement a generic interface and can essentially be plug and play. In addition, the OO design of the plugin system allows developers to utilize inheritance of abstract classes and enforcement of methods if they have several variations of a plugin, without reinventing the wheel or duplicating code every time.
In English, this means that I can develop my own processors that manipulate data from my data source in any way that I want, and then reuse it across any migration that needs to use it.
How Does a MigrateProcessPlugin Work?
If you are finding that the out-of-the-box MigrateProcessPlugin’s are not enough for your use case, you may want to consider creating a new custom MigrateProcessPlugin. Creating a new process plugin in Drupal 8 is a fairly simple task.
Let’s take a look at a simple MigrateProcessPlugin as an example to get us started.
In the DefaultValue MigrateProcessPlugin, we only have one method that is implemented, called “transform”. Transform takes in a value that is passed in by the user, checks to see if it is set, and sets that value for the field in the destination mapping.
How Do I Use a Process Plugin in My Migration?
Using a process plugin in your migration is relatively simple. If you have written a migration before, you have used these without even knowing it. Let’s take a look at the example below:
In this example, you will notice several plugins are utilized:
get: The “get” plugin is the default plugin. Any mapping that does not have a child element defining a plugin will utilize the “get” plugin
default_value: In this example, we are setting the user ID of a blog_post to user 1
When am I Going to Need a Custom Processor Plugin?
Before you venture down the path of creating custom processors, ask yourself the following questions:
Can any of the existing process plugins, or a combination of any of the existing process plugins, manipulate the data to the format I need?
Is the data transformation something that follows a pattern?
Is this processing/data manipulation something that will need to be used for more than one migration?
Is this a transformation that other users/migrations may benefit from?
If the answer to any of the questions above is “YES”, it is worth your time to create a custom processor plugin.
Stay tuned for our next blog post in our migration series on custom processors. In this post, we will dive into what it takes to create a custom processor for a WordPress to Drupal migration.
Would you like help to create a more detailed plan for migrating your website to Drupal 8? Contact Us – We would be happy to help!
The migrate module has been moved into the core in Drupal 8, showing the community dedicated to making the process of upgrading between versions or migrating into Drupal easier. The migrate module takes advantage of the Drupal 8 Plugin system, offering developers with several plugin types that they can implement: MigrateProcessPlugin, MigrateSourcePlugin, and MigrateDestinationPlugin.
The Drupal 8 migrate module that is shipped with core provides a set of API’s for setting up migrations. The module also provides extensible object-oriented base classes and interfaces for migration plugins including:
Source & Destination Plugins
Config Migration Mappings
While the migrate module has been moved into core, the contributed space still provides significant value and I wouldn’t recommend trying to build a migration without it:
Migrate Plus: The Migrate Plus project provides extensions to core migration framework functionality as well as examples.
Migrate Tools: The Migrate Tools module provides tools for running and managing Drupal 8 migrations.
Creating Migration Mappings
In Drupal 8 all of your migration mappings are done through configuration files. In Drupal 7 these migration mappings would have been done in classes through the $this->addMapping() function.
Configuration files provide the blueprint for the migrations, and there are two main types of configuration files that we will need to define:
The migration group is a configuration file and is similar to the idea of hook_migrate_api in Drupal 7. This configuration file defines a group of migration classes and configures global configuration/settings to be shared across the classes.
id – Unique identifier
shared_configuration – Defines shared configuration between all migration classes that are part of this group. **Example: setting the source database to use
dependencies – Sets the dependencies for this set of migration classes to function
Let’s see an example:
Migration Configuration File
The migration configuration file is similar to a migration class in Drupal 7. At a high level, the migration config file defines the metadata and field mappings for a particular migration in Drupal 8. There are 5 key concepts that you need to be aware of in the migration configuration file:
Definition – The definition of this migration class, its dependencies, and what migration_group it belongs to
Source – What migration source should be used for this migration when it is run (i.e. where am I migrating my content from?)
Destination – The destination for the migration (i.e. where am I migrating my content to?)
FieldMappings – The mappings from Source -> Destination
Processors – The processing of the source data so that it can be consumed by the destination
Let’s see an example:
Stay tuned for our next blog post in our migration series on custom processors. In this post, we will dive into what it takes to create a custom processor for a WordPress to Drupal migration.
Would you like help to create a more detailed plan for migrating your website to Drupal 8? Contact Us – We would be happy to help!
As one of the top Drupal firms in the market, we get a lot of questions around Drupal 8 and its broad range of functionality, including Drupal 8 Batch Processing. We thought to start out the new year, we would offer our primer on Drupal 8 Batch Processing.
What is a batch job?
A batch job or batch processing is the execution of a series of jobs in a program on a computer without manual intervention (non-interactive). Strictly speaking, it is a processing mode: the execution of a series of programs each on a set or “batch” of inputs, rather than a single input.
In English, this means that it allows a computer program to break up a series of tasks into smaller chunks or pieces that run without any manual intervention to trigger.
When would I want to use this?
Drupal 8 Batch Processing jobs are valuable to use when there could be large amounts of data or long processes running that utilize a significant amount of memory. An example would be regenerating all URL aliases on your website. The “pathauto” module sets up a batch process when doing this to regenerate 25 aliases at a time, instead of trying to regenerate an entire site (think 5,000 – 500,000 entities) at one time that might cripple the system.
Why would I want to use this?
Performance & Scalability are the biggest reason to utilize Drupal 8 Batch Processing in your development. Batch jobs allow the processing of large amounts of data without relying on a single process to complete the task from start to finish in a single execution. This allows your server resources to be utilized in smaller chunks and freed up after each batch execution finishes.
Here are some questions you can ask when determining if you might need to create a batch process:
Does the action I need to perform against these items have a per-item resource cost?
If the action your performing requires loading or processing of each item individually, you should be looking to use batch processing to handle it. If you are performing a simple task, such as a bulk DB query that impacts all nodes in your database, it may not be required.
Do I need to perform an action on a large number of entities?
If the answer is yes, than you will likely gain significant performance benefits by utilizing batch processing to work through your task.
Is there a finite set of data that I am performing actions on or can the dataset grow?
If you are unsure about how big your data set will get, you should strongly consider batch processing. Not planning for this upfront could cause site downtime and lots of headaches later down the road.
Even if your current data set is small, can it expand?
For example, maybe your site only has 30 nodes at the moment, but that number will increase in the future. If this is the case, or you are building a module that you may want to contribute back to the community, you will likely want to look at batch processing as an option for handling this action.
How do I do this?
Creating a batch process in Drupal 8 is relatively straightforward. Here is what you will need to get started:
The routing file defines a route, the Controller to be used, and the requirements to use it.
The controller tells Drupal what to do when the route (defined above) is accessed. In this case, we are creating a Batch Controller which will handle the processing of the batch job.
This includes file provides the callback functions for the controller to handle execution of the job. In this example, we are running through a migration task.
Are you still on Drupal 6?
Whether you operate a blog, a small business page, or a large corporate website, if you are still operating on Drupal 6 it is past time for you to consider upgrading your operations. Drupal 6 officially reached End-of-Life on February 24th, 2016. Since then, the Drupal community has largely abandoned support for this version of Drupal.
Why does this impact me?
Anyone running their business on a Drupal 6 version should be concerned because the Drupal community has moved on. As an open source platform, the vitality of Drupal depends on contributors adding new components, modules, features and more. When the community moves on to new versions of Drupal, the older versions are no longer receiving the care and attention required to maintain modern content platforms.
By not adopting Drupal 8, you no longer have the community actively working on modules, bugfixes, improvements, and most importantly, security updates and improvements. The Security team is no longer providing Advisory updates for Drupal 6, and the majority of modules are no longer supported by the maintainers. The bottom line? If you are still operating on an old version of Drupal, you are exposing your site to unnecessary security risk.
Uh oh…so how do I make the switch to Drupal 8?
It’s easy! Upgrading your Drupal site using a migration approach. The first step is to decide how you want to handle your upgrade. Use these questions to help you get started:
Am I happy with how my website functions and how it looks?
Does my website/brand need a refresh or update?
Do I want to refresh my content as part of this upgrade?
What are the key functions that my website needs to perform?
Based on your answers to the questions above, you will likely fall into one of two categories: Lift & Shift or Website Rebuild.
Lift & Shift: As is migrations
Drupal 8 has made significant strides to make the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 as smooth as possible. Mike Ryan and others have made a huge impact in this space, rewriting the migrate module from the ground up and including it in the Drupal 8 core. The fact that this was added as a Drupal core initiative speaks volumes of the importance that has been placed on this by the community.
If your site is mainly brochureware, the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 should be quick and relatively painless. The new migrate module not only migrates content, but it will also migrate data structures through a configuration migration tool. Wait, what? I can migrate my content types and taxonomy terms so that I don’t need to rebuild them!? The answer is YES! (…with some caveats of course).
For more information about the Drupal 8 migrate initiatives and upgrade documentation, check out the “Upgrading from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8” section on Drupal.org.
Website Refresh: Rebuild Content, UI and UX
So, I don’t have a basic brochureware site but I really need to refresh my brand. Can I still use these tools to take some of the load off of my shoulders? The answer is yes, but in a more limited fashion.
Depending on the size of your website, utilizing the D6 to D8 migration tools may still save you time and money. This will ultimately depend on how significant the changes to your information architecture and content will be.
If you have a large number of pages (let’s say >1000) and some percentage of these pages will remain relatively in-tact from an information architecture perspective (Blogs, Resources, Press), then you will likely still benefit from investing time in migration scripts.
If you are planning to refresh/rewrite all of your content AND provide a new UI/UX on your website, the effort to create a migration script may be higher than handling the process manually.
So, how do I get started?
If you are planning to move forward with an upgrade, it will be useful to check out the following links before you start:
While the idea of being able to be generic enough to meet a wide variety of peoples needs, it is unlikely that your migration to Drupal 8 will be handled out-of-the-box. In the likely case that you will need to customize, here are some more useful links: