If you are still using old technology for the management of your website, you will maybe agree with me that it has become a headache. In fact, due to considerable changes in the IT world, it is more and more challenging to cope with an outdated tool. I will elaborate on some of the reasons below. In this article, we will discuss the challenges of an outdated website. We will also talk about all the possible options to move forward.
Some of the challenges of outdated sitesFrom my own experience working with companies that were willing to move to something new, I have noticed those few problems.
Image source: Giphy
1- The security concern of their websiteEach time there is an update on the net, it comes with some security patches intended to solve the vulnerabilities of previous versions. And most of the time, a time limit is given to users to apply all the necessary changes before the complete shutdown of prior versions. PHP is an excellent example of an illustration. A couple of years ago, PHP version 5 was so accessible and then came all the latest releases that lead to 7.4. As such, if you have a website still running under version 5, your website is at risk for many attacks.
2- Some features that stopped working at a point of timeUpdating software or programming language usually means stopping using some features that are replacing them with new ones. In such a case, that feature will stop working.
3- Lack of supportFew developers would want to work on something that people don't use longer. Most of them will focus on new releases.Whenever notice to stop using a particular version of a solution is out, many developers stop maintaining or building on that version. For example, many developers stopped developing Magento 1 extensions because it is no longer up-t0-date. And as a result, if you are using Magento 1, you will have difficulty getting some features. Moreover, few people would assist you in case you run into trouble with your site.
4- you spend more in a short periodTo keep their website alife, most companies will install patches that enable them to keep the site for sometimes. And because few people can assist them, the cost is usually too expensive.
Some considerations to handle before migratingIf you are considering migration, these are what you need to consider.
1- The content on your websiteYour content is probably the most important thing you need. In case you spend probably months or years developing the content on your site, you won't want to lose them. The question you should ask yourself is how to get them. If you have that save somewhere out of your site, then the problem is solved. Otherwise, you can either export it from your database or use a scripting language to get them from your website.
2- Some of the featuresIn most cases, you can always find new features that are better than previous ones. However, if you have some custom features, it might be an option to find a way to get them.
Are you feeling nervous about the idea of moving from old technology to a new one?Anyone would like to improve without applying drastic changes. But if you have been on the internet for long, you will agree with me that there is no way to remain at an individual state. Technologies that use to know some years ago are long gone. And the day after days, new tools of solutions replace old ones.How do we do in such cases? Do we resign ourselves to continue using what we know best running the risk of not been about to have more opportunities? Or do we go for new solutions? Today, I am going to give you some tricks that will enable you to move from old technology to a new one. Whether you used HTML 1 or a non-responsive website, there is a way to drive safely to something new.
As far as websites are concerned, what changed over the years?A lot If you made your website your website ten years ago, you would agree with me that the site likes a lot of features and are not probably up to the standards of the current website. And that is unless you have been doing some changes over the years. Below are some changes that you could have noticed.
The outburst of Mobile phones - ResponsivenessMany users spend most of their time on mobile devices and tablets. As a result, the number of users browsing websites on mobile phones has grown considerably. Today we talk about more than 69% of mobile and tablet usage compare to desktop.What does that imply for you?It just means you need to have a mobile version in mind when you build a website. And failure to do so, you are probably losing 69% of potential customers.
The need to Write to much content to increase the organic reach - Dynamic websiteA couple of years ago, I believe it was somehow OK to build a simple website. The reason was that most of the companies would target people and do a lot of hard calls. Moreover, there weren’t that many competitors online. But today everything has completely changed. To have more organic reach, you need to produce much more content to have more reach
The need to improve the performance of a websiteCould you imagine that we have more than a billion sites on the internet? That means that, If you have a terrible website, a visitor will not have the patience to stay. Internet users are unconsciously becoming impatient due to the large number of options that they have. In order words, to keep visitors on your website, you now need to improve your website performance. And that will mean optimize your images, script and style.
Emphasis on website securityCompanies put a lot of focus on website securities due to the increase in online transactions. For instance, many websites would use forms to collect users’ messages or information. And as such, if the site is not secure enough, it will be a gateway for a steal of identity. Many companies like Google are reinforcing their measure daily regarding security. And some of them are: • Decreasing your organic reach if you don’t have an SSL certificate • Making sure users are aware that your website is not secure • Block your website from access if any vulnerability is detected.
What do you have to do in such a situation?There are three approaches in such cases:
- Take the content and features of your current website and build a new one
- Update your website with a new template or design if you are using a CMS. And also, make sure to update your CMS
- Use existing modern features to readapt your website.
1-Take the content and features of your current website and build a new oneThis approach will depend on many criteria: the technology that you used, whether your website is static or dynamic, and if your features are still up-to-date. Let assume, for instance, that you built a static website 20 years ago and did some custom programming with an outdated PHP version. In such a case, it will be challenging to go through each line of your code to get your content. In such a case, writing new content, and building something from scratch will be the ideal solution. But if you used a CMS like Joomla or WordPress, we can easily find a template or create one to make sure your website is up-to-date. In any case of this scenario, the steps will be:
- Getting your content
- Doing an inventory of your features
- Build a new website with your content
- If your functions have up-to-date equivalent, we get them of an update to your website
- Otherwise, we see how we can build or get features that will provide the same services.
2-Update your website with a new template or design if you are using a CMSThis approach does not always work for all sites. In fact, with CMS, some templates have outdated features. As such, trying to change the model or design after a long time of development process might require some adjustments. In the ideal world, if your existing website does not have custom features, switching from one design to another will be easy. Moreover, you need to make sure that part of your content is not static. In fact, during the development process or customization, some developers have a terrible habit of adding custom text in the code. And as a result, it becomes difficult to update. If this option is suitable for you; these will be the ideal scenario:
- Updating your CMS with the latest version. For example, if you are using Wordpress 4, you can upgrade to WordPress 5.2.3
- Buy or build an up-to-date template and features
- Upgrade your website
3 - Use existing modern features to readapt your websiteIn most cases, customizing a site with many changes to be done is always more expansive.Nevertheless, if you feel like building a new website or creating a new template is difficult for X or Y reasons, you might try this. The whole idea here will be to use modern features such as a mobile responsive library and other tools to make your website better. I will give you some examples to help:
To fix the responsiveness (website adapted to all screen sizes)You can make use of Bootstrap to adjust the responsiveness of your website. Bootstrap is a CSS and JS framework for a mobile site. In fact, with Bootstrap, you can build a website that changes the layout according to the screen size. To use it for your website, all you need to do is to go on the website, get bootstrap, download it and add it to your site. Once you use Bootstrap CSS and JS files to your site, you can then call "classes" and "ids" to fix your website responsiveness.
To fix your website performance. (load time issues)There are generally many things that can affect your website's load time. Some of the reasons are:
- The size of your images. If your pictures are too big or bulky, they will slow down your website
- A lot of CSS and JS files. If your site has a lot of CSS and JS files, your website will be using a lot of resources to call those files and hence it will slow down your website.
- Some broken links or features. It is common to see broken features if you did not update your website for quite a long time.
- Your server configuration and location.
To fix the performance of your website, you will, first of all, identify what is causing your website to be slow. You can make use of a tool like GTmetrix to identify all the aspects of your website that you need to fix. Once that is done, you need to handle them one by one to improve your website performance.If you are using CMS like WordPress, there are plugins like Fast Velocity Minify that can help you to compress and merge your CSS and JS files. Additionally, you can also use SMUSH to optimize your images. Another tool that you can use to check your Markup language is W3C Validator. It will tell you which markup is still up-to-date and will highlight all the lines that you need to fix. Check also with your using provider if your Server uses the latest features. If your website makes use of server languages like PHP or Java, it will be great if you could validate if they are still up-to-date.