thinking to your website’s future

As WordPress 5.0 gets closer to release, my clients are asking questions about it. Why? It brings one of the largest changes in years with the Gutenberg content editor. They ask if they need to update. Yes. They hope it’s possible to avoid this new feature that they’re skeptical about. Also yes, install the classic editor plugin. The next question asks about why it’s become such a complex unwieldy system. I don’t have a quick answer. There is one more question that I keep getting asked and the one I want to address today, what should they do?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It depends on a variety of factors that are as unique as every business I work with. The longer answer can be found by a review the website to make sure that it is still meets business needs.

The good news is that within a system like WordPress, you own your content and you can do with it whatever you want.

The not so great news is that there is a cost. Here are four factors to consider as you evaluate your website if you need make large changes.

One – Transfer Costs

While you own your data and can export it (in a variety of ways), that doesn’t mean it can be directly imported into another system. They may be minor costs and you need to simply map fields so the transfer completes properly. Or they may require significant time and effort to migrate correctly.

Two – Branding

The largest concern for every client is that their website reflects the branding of their business. While many of these decisions, with a well written style guide, are transferable, it’s unlikely that they can all be copied and pasted from one type of website management system to another without modification. This is another cost that needs to be anticipated.

Three – Integration

It’s important to look at the entire workflow of the website and make sure that if things are changed there is no decrease in critical functionality. It’s important to take time to test any new system to make sure all the parts still work as expected.

Four – Learning

It’s important to also set aside time to learn a new system. Both for the administration needs of your site, but also for the simple tasks you do frequently. It’s tempting to try to learn-as-you-go but when going that route it’s very easy to not be aware of more efficient ways to do things.

Final thoughts

It is beneficial for software to evolve. Change is difficult. I think the biggest lesson from the upcoming arrival of Gutenberg is that it’s beneficial to evaluate systems and make sure they’re still the right ones for your business needs. I’m evaluating different options for those who wish to migrate away from WordPress. At the basic level, everything is the same as it was when I first started twenty years ago. The way it gets bundled together to streamline routine tasks is what changes.