Our favourite CMS SilverStripe recently released version 4.0.0. We thought it timely to share some reasons why you should upgrade your content management system on a regular basis. (CMS's are the main technology behind your website that allow you to edit or add content) Although we will be using SilverStripe as the example in this blog, the same business reasons apply to any open source CMS.
Most technologies, whether a Content Management System (CMS) or a desktop operating system, continually evolve and improve. And like most technologies, as newer versions are released older versions eventually lose their technical support. SilverStripe is a good example of this. With the release of version 4.0.0, SilverStripe, as a company will no longer be supporting versions 3.4 or older. Web development companies like us can continue to work on your site, but our ability to fix serious problems becomes more difficult. What does this mean for you?
SilverStripe CMS is regularly upgraded to address security issues, but these updates eventually stop happening on older versions. For example, if your website is in SilverStripe 3.4 or older, we are no longer able to access updates or patches from SilverStripe. This means you may become more vulnerable to hackers. This should be a concern for any business that relies on its website to generate leads or sales. Sites that collect personal information are particularly vulnerable to liability. To gain access to security patches, you need to have a strategy for regular updates to your CMS.
The investment required to upgrade your SilverStripe site is partly dependent on how old your site is and when it was last upgraded. The level of effort varies on a case by case basis but there is one consistent truth - upgrading becomes harder,and more expensive the longer you leave it. In addition to age, other factors that affect cost include the complexity of the site and the number of third party modules used. So, upgrading could be a very painless effort, or it might be more complex. We can help you determine which scenario you are facing. If the latter, you may want to look at it as an opportunity to evaluate the big picture – have your business needs changed, do you need more from your site, are there reasons the site may benefit from a re-design at the same time the technology is being upgraded?
CMS's are not the only technologies that are constantly changing and upgrading. Third party modules that help you sell product on your site, send out newsletters, collect sales leads, publish blogs, etc. are also changing. There may come a time when your site is no longer compatible with these technologies and then pages on your website start breaking. Probably more importantly, web hosting servers are always upgrading. The latest and best servers cannot host older technologies. This might mean your site will be regulated to an older, slower, less secure server. This does not make for a good user experience.
Newer features to help you win sales
If you are still in an older CMS, you may be losing out on new features that can help you convert sales. For example, SilverStripe 4.0.0 has improved interfaces that allow content authors to get the business’s message to market faster. Better collaboration tools allow teams of content creators to work together and build campaigns in draft mode before going live. Batches of content can go live at scheduled times. A better mobile experience gives site administrators more screen space to work on content. Depending on when your site was built, there are likely many other examples of new CMS features that have become available that you are not accessing to help grow your online presence.
If you think you are ready for an upgrade, let’s have a conversation. We can help you determine what works best for your business. Contact us today.