A basic content management system works fine for a simple, static website, but for those of us with content-heavy websites—like online news platforms or schools or non-profits—a basic CMS will be hopelessly overmatched. Dynamic companies and organizations need a correspondingly agile CMS to effectively meet their web needs—and the words “dynamic” and “agile” and “effective” are all practically synonyms for “Drupal.”
Drupal is generally regarded as the most powerful and adaptable open source CMS available, and it’s utilized by influential news organizations like Al-Jazeera, powerful NGO’s like UNRWA, and prestigious universities like Georgetown. Additionally, Drupal boasts an active and passionate developer network that ensures that it’s an excellent system because it's constantly evolving to meet your evolving needs.
But a trade-off for its power is its complexity, and the simple truth that Drupal is a powerful tool that can potentially be overkill for a modest website—and this means migrating to Drupal shouldn’t be taken lightly, and that you will need to work with a competent development team.
But if you’re willing to undertake a few simple steps, you can discover whether or not Drupal is the CMS for you and make the process of migrating to Drupal simple and stress-free, while unlocking its incredible potential.
1. Map your Ambition
This is basic but necessary, and if you avoid it can come back to bite you down the road. Identical to if you’re planning on moving your business to a new office or introducing a new product or campaign, you need to turn that idea into a tangible model before you can actually proceed with any direction.
When it comes to migrating to Drupal, this will allow you to estimate how many resources you have to commit to the project and what your expectations are, and will reveal to you how achievable your ambitions are.
You should ask yourself:
- What’s the timeline for your migration?
- How soon do you need to see a return-on-investment?
- Which in-house employee will oversee the transition?
- What do you envision the minimal viable product looking like?
- What potential hangups can you not possibly incur?
- How much is the opportunity cost of upgrading?
Covering these simple steps will make it clearer whether or not you’re ready to migrate to Drupal, and armed with this model you’ll be ready to get the actual wheels turning towards your goal.
2. Perform an Organizational Site Audit
The Drupal development team needs to understand your organization's needs if it's going to build a functional website, and that means your organization can’t have a vague idea of what it needs—it needs a concrete understanding. You should comb through your site and analyze its functionality versus your needs. This will save innumerable back-and-forth meetings and potential disaster down the road—when you’re in too far to turn back.
So before collaborating with Drupal designers, you should be able to identify:
- Which components currently provide value from the source site?
- Which parts need to be migrated from the source site?
- What enhancements to design and functionality does your new site require?
- Which design or functionality features you would like to retain?
- Which required features from the old site will be difficult to integrate because of custom design?
3. Select the Right Drupal Development Team
Now, having actualized your ambitions and mapped your situation, you should be able to consult with a Drupal development team and let them dig into your site with a technical site audit. But to do that, fir, t you need to find the right developers for the job–and this should be done carefully.
A couple things to look for when choosing your team:
- Are they Drupal approved?
- Does their portfolio contain similar projects to yours?
As said before, Drupal is a complex CMS, and if you entrust your web development needs to an inexperienced developer or hire a single freelancer to handle a demanding task, the development process will stressful and the eventual product will undoubtedly be flawed.
Freelancers have their merits—but if you contract a Drupal development team with a proven track record of success, you will be dealt with efficiently and professionally. The resulting migration process will be stress-free and your updated site will be up and running promptly.
Migrating to a new CMS can be a daunting process—but it doesn’t have to be. If you put in a little legwork and collaborate with top-notch Drupal experts like
Vardot, your resulting website will satisfy your requirements and put you one step further along the path to success in an increasingly digital world.
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