What’s your LightCMS migration strategy?

December 12, 2019

Like most LightCMS resellers, you’re likely still reeling a bit from last week’s End of Life announcement. I’ve had conversations with many resellers this week and the consensus seems to be that we all knew it was coming, but still didn’t expect it to hit us with such a short timeline (or such poor timing considering the holidays).

Quite honestly we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, and it’s one of the reasons I started Sitewild to begin with. I grew uncomfortable with the lack of updates from LightCMS after their acquisitions and realized that it was only a matter of time before they either pulled the plug or sold it off.

We stopped building new sites on LightCMS in late 2017 and launched Sitewild as a place where you can create, host, and manage your sites stress-free with the additional peace of mind that you’re never stuck in our platform should you need to go elsewhere. No other hosted website platform gives you the ability to migrate an entire site – content and CMS intact – to a standalone WordPress installation the way Sitewild does.

Some think that’s a risky business strategy, but I believe it keeps my team focused on our core mission – delivering a great platform that website resellers are proud to build their sites on. I come to work every day knowing that if you’re not happy, we’re not doing our job right and you’re fully entitled to leave for greener pastures. It’s a unique point of view in the hosted website platform industry but one that, to me, just makes sense.

OK, OK, enough about Sitewild – let’s talk about you.

Do you have a strategy in place for migrating your client sites off of LightCMS? Have you even notified your customers yet?

You likely have lots of questions floating around in your head right now:

  • Should I absorb the cost of migration? Can I absorb the cost of migration?
  • Should I shift the cost to my customers? Or split it with them?
  • Should I pitch this as an opportunity to redesign during the migration? Do I even have time to redesign X sites?
  • What the hell do I do about SEO?

Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to answer these and move forward, so I’m working one-on-one with every Sitewild customer to make sure their sites and clients are safely migrated before the deadline.

You’re free to build your own sites, of course, but we also have a number of assisted migration services available should you need extra help getting everything moved.

If you haven’t scheduled your free consultation call yet (or even if you have and just want to chat again) please book a time with me here:

New features coming soon

Before I wrap this up I wanted to point out a few resources that we’re putting together now and into 2020 that will assist all of us in communicating with clients and building amazing websites.

LightCMS End of Life Resource Center
We’re sharing answers to common client objections, email templates, talking points regarding the benefits of migrating to Sitewild, and more. This will be a hub of information that we’ll continuously update in the coming weeks and months. If you have anything to share – or anything you need – please let me know.

Automated import tools
Moving a site between CMSs is, unfortunately, quite a manual process, but we’re building some tools to ease the transition. A blog importer has already been completed, and a page importer is on the way. The page importer will scrape content from a list of pages you define and set them up in Sitewild with URLs, SEO metadata, and text/images/documents intact. All that’s left to do is to organize and format the content on the page as you see fit.

Theme builder
Craft pixel-perfect page templates (including headers, footers, sidebar, etc) using the visual builder tools you already know and love. An unlimited number of templates can be defined and used either globally across the site or be applied selectively only to certain sections, pages, posts, etc. We have documentation and training coming soon, but the theme builder is live now under Design -> Theme Builder if you want to experiment with it.

Coming in 2020
We have a number of awesome resources and improvements in development and planned for release in the new year:

  • New staging/live site architecture: This will enable you to easily create new sites in your existing account without being billed for them until they’re live.
  • Reseller billing: Automatically charge your clients for their service and collect the profit into your own bank account.
  • Online Store: Coming out of beta and will feature a number of UI enhancements and bug fixes.
  • Custom post types: Define your own custom post types (and custom fields for each post type). This will give you more options for structuring content beyond just pages and posts. New visual builder modules will be released as well to allow you to search, filter, and display your custom data. Combined with the theme builder release, this will make it possible to, for example, create store locators, project portfolios, and searchable databases all within the comfort of Sitewild.
  • Instant SSL: We’re upgrading our server infrastructure and eliminating the short SSL propagation delay you currently experience when adding a custom domain.
  • Enhanced UI throughout the system: We’re working harder than ever to remove the WordPress-iness from Sitewild by revamping nearly every part of the interface. This means new, simplified settings screens, streamlined page create/edit interfaces, faster user and menu management, and more.
  • Accessibility improvements: Accessibility is poised to become the next hot topic in web development. With all levels of government struggling to enact effective legislation, don’t be surprised if Google forces our hands before anyone else by simply making it a prominent search ranking factor (as they did before with SSL). We’re working with an accessibility expert to improve the technical infrastructure of your sites as well as provide tools and guided support for making sure you’re building accessible websites in 2020 and beyond.
  • Better documentation and communication: When we started Sitewild, one of my core beliefs was that your website platform provider should be open and honest about everything happening behind the scenes. You’re entrusting us with the future of your business, so we should entrust you with the future of ours. In private conversations, this has been true, but my own personal perfectionism has prevented me from being proud enough of some of the updates we’ve made to proactively announce and market them. Going forward, expect at least once a month updates from me personally about the progress we’ve made and the things to come in the future.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to working with you all to make 2020 known for more than just the demise of LightCMS. If there’s anything my team can do to help in your business please don’t hesitate to reach out and start the conversation!

Get tools, info, and resources for migrating your LightCMS sites to Sitewild

We’re building a comprehensive set of resources to help as you discuss the LightCMS end of life notice with your clients and prepare your site migration strategy.