We specialise in upgrading websites from older versions of Drupal to the latest version (currently Drupal 7). If your current website developer has told you that it's not worth upgrading, and that you should really stump up for a new website instead, talk to us before you make that decision.
Upgrading Drupal is not rocket science but it does require a careful and methodical approach to the upgrade process. We take an objective view, starting with a detailed analysis of your current website (this bit is free) followed by a written recommendation as to the best way to go. We can then perform the upgrade for you or, if we agree a new website is the best approach, we can develop the new website from scratch.
Either way, we deliver your new website using best practice Drupal development techniques coupled with proven search engine optimization methods that maximize your chances of high search engine rankings, traffic and conversions.
Upgrading vs Rebuilding your Drupal website
In some cases your current web developer may be right that upgrading isn't worth it.
This can be the case if your website doesn't have a lot of content or if you plan to rewrite your content.
There can also be challenges in the upgrade process. It's important to enter this process with your eyes open.
- Handled badly, data can be lost, or issues introduced that cause problems in the future.
- It may also be that your website includes functionality that relies on Drupal modules that are not available in the new version.
But many developers will tell you this because they are scared of (or don't understand) the upgrade process, and it's just easier to sell you a new website instead. However, they may not have considered (or even be aware of) the benefits of upgrading.
Of course, you might already be working with a web developer who wants to switch you to a different content management system such as Wordpress, Joomla or Concrete5. All of these have their merits, and you've probably been told how much easier/faster/better they are than Drupal. But there is nothing wrong with Drupal when delivered right. And if upgrading your current Drupal site might still the best choice for you then you should at least explore that option more closely before proceeding, right?
The benefits of upgrading your existing Drupal website
There are four major reasons to upgrade your current Drupal website rather than start again from scratch:
- Upgrading avoids the need to transfer your content into another website platform. This is important if you have a lot of content since it saves time and money.
- Upgrading minimizes the risk of losing your current search engine rankings since we can ensure that your current URL structures and metadata remain intact. Your current search rankings are likely to be sensitive to changes in these.
- Drupal websites often include functionality that other content management systems can't deliver, or which are hard to emulate. Rebuilding your website in another CMS may be difficult at best, and impossible at worst.
- You will get access to the improved features available in the latest version of Drupal including tools that make managing and creating the content in your website much easier and faster, and the option to quickly create a mobile version of your website for tablets and smartphones.
The pitfalls of the Drupal upgrade process
We take a realistic approach when performing an upgrade analysis of a Drupal website. We will tell you upfront about any risks or potential problems that we believe may occur during the upgrade process. We will also tell you straight if we think the risks of the migration not working, or requiring a lot of time to complete, are too great to proceed.
Things that can cause challenges in the Drupal upgrade process include:
- The website is built in a version of Drupal that is two or more versions behind the target version (i.e. Drupal 5 or earlier). In this case the site must be upgraded multiple times (v5 to v6 then to v7). This adds time and cost to the upgrade process.
- The website includes modules that are not available in the latest version of Drupal, and recreating the functionality they provide is difficult, or requires a custom module be created for a successful upgrade.
- The website is poorly built. It may include complicated functionality cobbled together from a number of modules and which is prone to breaking during the upgrade. Or it may include a number of "hacks" to the core Drupal code. In some cases - but not all - this functionality can be easily recreated in the new version. We will identify this during our initial analysis.
- It can sometimes take longer to upgrade than to simply start again, even in a website with lots of content and/functionality. We usually identify this during the initial upgrade analysis.
Free Drupal Upgrade Analysis
At the end of the day, the best decisions are those made based on facts rather than emotion.
If you have a Drupal website built in a version older than Drupal 7 (the current version), why not take advantage of our free Drupal Upgrade Analysis to find out whether the best approach is to upgrade or rebuild your current website. You can call us on 028 255 26282, or you can email us using our contact form.
Note that we will need full admin access to your current site (or a copy of the code and database) in order to complete this analysis.