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What To Do With An Outdated News Site CMS?

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A staggering number of online media companies use a Content Management System (CMS) that’s 10+ years old and wasn’t updated for a long long time. Why?

My involvement with online publishing began in 1997. At the time there wasn’t anything around that could be called a CMS. Static HTML files were edited manually, and that was it.

Over the years all kinds of software evolved to tackle this task, and media companies embraced them with open arms to power their online publications. However, a huge problem surfaced after a few years.

Every New Site CMS Gets Outdated

Whenever a new site launches, media companies tend to utilize a state-of-the-art CMS. Shortly after the launch additional features and refinements are requested and implemented. But after a while, as soon as everything seems to begin to work properly, the CMS is left unchanged.

Years pass by without any update, because it still works more or less the same way as it did when it was new. Why touch it if it works? But after a while, it begins to slow down and doesn’t play nice with newer client devices. Often several years after the software received it’s last update the media company realizes something: technological advances that happen in an immense pace have left the CMS in the dust.

At that point the management finally acknowledges the system has to be replaced but after a short review of options they quickly find themselves in a pickle:

Introducing a new system and migrating to it from the old one is a project of monumental complexity that needs an equally monumental budget and time frame.

You and I know both, there never is a perfect time for such an endeavor.

So the old CMS persists instead. And with every additional year passing the gap that has to be bridged between the old and a potentially new CMS increases. Until the circumstances become so bad that the management is forced to finally start the replacement project. But at that time the cost of that project has grown to such an immense level that it can easily break the whole company.

There is a Better Way

The best solution is the same as it is for the health and wellbeing of all human beings:

Prevent sicknesses as much as you can, instead of treating them!

If you continuously take care of your CMS with frequent updates and performance enhancements it never gets old and sick. It’s constantly rejuvenated.

I know this doesn’t help if your company is already in the final phase of using an outdated CMS, a software that’s on the brink of falling apart. If this is you, I can only give you one advice: swallow the bitter pill (or shove it down the management’s throat) and commit to the replacement project as soon as possible.

But this time, please make a better choice! How, you ask? I can help you with that:

  1. Choose a CMS that’s based on an open-source framework with a highly active developer community. This is important for two reasons. First, open-source is key in order for you not being locked in into a proprietary software from one software developer company. Second, an active developer community ensures the core of your CMS will be updated for a long time independently from your chosen software company. WordPress is a good choice right now.
  2. Make sure the software is continuously kept up-to-date with the framework it’s based on. There’s no point in using an open-source framework if your CMS doesn’t keep pace with it. Yes, that means you’ll have an ongoing cost to cover the updates but that amount is much less than replacing the whole CMS after 10 years because it became obsolete. Let me repeat this: the sum total cost of keeping a CMS up-to-date and smoothly running for 10 years is much less than the cost of replacing an outdated CMS by migrating to a new one. Not to mention the hassle it requires.
  3. Also, your new CMS should be able to live somewhat separately, decoupled from the site design. This way you’ll be able to do complete site redesigns or introduce new custom frontend features without the need to touch the CMS at all.

Find a software that not only satisfies all your business requirements and special desires but also provides the above 3 key qualities and you’ll have a CMS that’ll stand the test of time!

A News Site CMS That Will Stand The Test Of Time