Running a website is often likened to running a car – you have to maintain it in order to keep it at its best, and to get the most out of it. There are a number of reasons for you to do so and almost none not to – even the well-known fact that upgrading a CMS can be a royal pain should not be a deterrent. It’s worth it in the long run, so if you or someone at your organisation still needs convincing then here’s a few reasons why...
Probably the most obvious reason is security. Just like web browsers and operating systems require updating to minimise security risks and plug potential holes, your CMS vendor will do the same. Some of these may be made available as smaller updates (often called hotfixes) however the best way to ensure that you are on top of your security is to use a combination: keep your version as up to date as possible as well as applying hotfixes where necessary.
2. Bug fixes
Though bug fixes are often treated in a similar way to security updates, there are always issues that will get pushed through to the next release. The technology we use is constantly changing and CMS vendors will release new versions in order to keep up with this. Lagging behind may mean that when you upgrade other aspects of your environment, certain features might cease to work.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom – there’s plenty about upgrading to get excited about, too! CMS vendors are constantly working to improve their product in line with ever-changing digital landscapes, and upgrades will contain brand new and exciting features which will allow you to do things that you weren’t able to before. Some might seem simple – like creating subfolders in a media library for example – and some large, like entire new marketing suites or integrating with new systems – but even the smallest changes can make a big difference!
4. User experience
It’s important that your CMS users are not pulling their hair out. Major CMS upgrades can also include improvements to the layout of the CMS itself, making life easier for those of you who spend their days staring at the back end of your site rather than the front and saving you money in training. For example, Sitecore’s recently released Sitecore XP 8.1 CMS has a whole new look compared with older versions, making it much quicker and more intuitive to use and Kentico 9 includes new usage features to find what form controls, web parts or widgets are being used where much more easily.
CMS upgrades often contain much more efficient code, too, which all counts toward your website running better. Everyone wants that! Cleaner code will put less strain on your web server as it is easier to process, thus reducing rendering times. This also helps minimise bandwidth, which will be important to you as your website and audience grow.
6. Future proofing
Finally, upgrading generally makes upgrading in the future easier. Most CMS vendors have a defined upgrade path, which means that only certain versions are able to upgrade to the next. For example, users on the second or third most recent version may both be able to upgrade to the latest version, but anyone who is running anything older than that will have to upgrade multiple times over in order to bring their version up to one modern enough to cope with the final upgrade. As you can imagine this can be quite headache inducing – especially as there is likely to be database or programming changes in between that need to be accounted for as well – so its good to keep with the times!
If you need advice on upgrading your existing CMS solution, get in touch on 01753 775050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We're happy to help!