When you’re planning a redesign of your website, there can be a lot of factors that led to this decision. It could be the need for additional features or utilities, performance, enhanced user experience, and so on. The changes in the user interface can be perhaps managed using your current CMS solutions. However, to integrate more features and functionalities, you may need to contemplate switching your CMS.
For example, if you’re an Ecommerce portal and wish to incorporate additional graphical elements, your current CMS may be unable to accommodate this additional feature. Alternatively, you are updating the data on your portal manually and need to automate this process. The decision to redesign is a difficult one. You will encounter pretty many roadblocks while trying to update your current CMS.
We have listed 3 points that you need to ponder on before you decide to go ahead and make a switch.
1. Do you have a valid reason to switch?
Switching to a different CMS will bring in its own set of challenges. You will need to create the entire CMS from scratch, including the designs. You need to be sure when you’re switching systems. Here are some sustainable reasons why you would consider switching:
- Current CMS won’t support the desired redesign
- Current CMS has limitations that would or do require extensive custom development
- Current CMS is too expensive, too slow, or suffers from other problems
- Want to move from hosted platform to self-hosted
- No CMS in use
If you don’t resonate with either of the reasons, we suggest you stick to your existing CMS and opt for superficial changes instead. On the other hand, if you did find yourself saying yay to almost each one of the reasons then follow us along.
2. What are your options?
Now that you’ve made up your mind that you need to change systems, it’s time to find the right one for you. What are the options you ask? Let’s see:
You can purchase or download self-hosted CMS and install it on a server you own or rent. Although complicated and steeper in the learning curve for beginners, self-hosted CMS is highly flexible and functional. Some of the popular choices are Magento, Drupal, Joomla, and Sitecore.
Typically, this kind of CMS is owned and hosted by the same company. These are very common for ecommerce platforms as these are simple to use and are essentially ready to plug and play. Some popular choices for hosted CMSs are Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and 3dcart. There is only one limitation with these hosted systems is that they are pretty difficult to modify according to your specifications.
WordPress is like a household name. Initially introduced as blogging software, it now functions as a much more powerful system that enables users to host a blog, e-commerce, or a business website. With all the libraries of themes and plugins, the flexibility it provides is unmatched.
If you’re not sure which one fits your needs best you can outsource the WordPress development to CMS experts like us.
3. The process for switching to a new CMS
Now that you’ve selected your CMS, you will have to retain the data from the existing site, set up the server, and take care of the new design. Sounds like a lot, right? It’s a lot. Here is what you need to do:
Exporting your data
You’ll have to backup your existing site data. You will have to work with databases, which is not easy, since it has user accounts, purchase history, report data, etc. Missing data can cost you dearly.
You’ll have to set up a test server so that you can ensure that nothing breaks in the live environment.
Once the servers are ready and data is imported, the design will begin. Getting validation on design can take days, weeks, or even months.
This is the stage when you go through the final iterations of changes and see if you’re happy with the design and everything. Testing for different devices, browsers, and responsive will happen in this stage.
Pro Tip: Take care of the redirects once the redesign is complete. You wouldn’t want your users lost in the web of 404s if your URLs are changed. You can find helpful information on creating 301 redirects in your .htaccess file on this Google Help page.
We know there’s a lot to do and there are so many things that can go wrong. Our experts can take care of the unknown for you and move your website to a new system without any downtime and other hassles. You can get in touch with us here.