Converting from 1 content type to another

Newer content types might be a better fit for an older page.

Summary

Using the correct content type makes a big difference in your users’ experiences. The Mass.gov team has been steadily rolling out new content types, each designed for a specific purpose. One of the new options might be a better fit for your older content.

If you’re not sure what content type might be right, try our Choose the right content type tool, which helps you decide which content type is right for different types of content.

Once you’ve decided to make a change, you’ll need to take a few steps to:

  • Maintain your search rankings

  • Avoid breaking links

  • Make sure that users who bookmarked the old content can still find it in its new form

Here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Note: Please pay close attention to steps 5 and 6 to streamline this process.

Step 1: Learn about the new content type

While many of the fields are the same on most content types (e.g. title, short description, overview), some have unique fields. For example, a How-to has Quick Action buttons and Method dropdowns, and Curated Lists have Manual and Automatic list sections.

Review the fields in your destination type before beginning your conversion. Consider how your content will fit into these fields. Also, check for any images you may need that you didn’t before. For example, a Service Detail doesn’t need a banner, but a Service Page does.

Step 2: Move your content to your new content type

For the most part, you might be able to simply copy and paste.

Open your old page and your destination page in separate tabs. This way, you can look at both pages at once and easily copy and paste from one to the other.

After copying and pasting, you may need to reorganize your content. For example, if you had a list of links on a Service Detail and you are now creating a Curated List, you’ll need to rebuild that list in the new page. Or, if you are moving to a How-to page, you will need to select which Methods are appropriate for your content, and you might need to break out the steps into a numbered list.

On your old page, check the “Pages Linking Here” tab to check which pages are linked to this page. Make sure to remove these links so they don’t break when you unpublish the old page.

Also, be sure to double check links in rich text fields. These should be preserved, but be sure to double check after moving the content to be sure.

Step 3: Save and preview your new page

Before deleting your old page, preview your new one and compare them. Make sure you haven’t left out anything important from the old version.

Step 4: Publish your new page

Once you’re satisfied with your new page, hit Save and Publish.

If you had to remove links to your old page on other pages, this is a good time to go back and add the link to this new page.

Next you’ll need to do a little cleaning up to make sure none of your links break.

First, look for any inline links you added to rich text fields. These won’t update automatically, and you’ll have to replace the old URL with the new one.

Second, use the Pages Linking Here tool to see if there are any pages linking to your old page. If there are any pages linked, make sure you link these pages to the new page you just created instead of the old one. This will prevent the likelihood of broken links.

Finally, you may need to change the structure of your content. If you changed a Service Detail to a How-to, for example, you will need to move that link from “What you need to know” to “What do you want to do?” on any Service page where it appears.

Step 6: Save your old page to the Trash

Once all your links are updated, go into your old page and select “Save and Move to Trash.

Step 7: Request a Drupal-to-Drupal redirect

Note: Drupal-to-Drupal redirects require us to permanently delete the old content. Make sure you have everything you need from the old page before making this request, as it can’t be undone.

Now that your old page is in the Trash, submit a support request to Digital Services through ServiceNow for a Drupal-to-Drupal redirect. Include the old URL and where it should point to now in your email.

We will be able to direct traffic from your old Drupal URL to your new one to make sure users end up in the right place. This process also preserves your content’s search engine ranking.

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