How should I approach rebuilding my organisation’s website?

John Newton

If your organisation’s website is becoming tired and is no longer fit for purpose, you have a number of options to consider when rebuilding your site.

Option 1 - stay with the technology platform you have and rebuild.

This option is definitely the easiest provided you are happy with your current digital partners and hosting and support service. If your admin experience is fine and your support agency are helpful and responsive, your best option will be to rethink your audience, your priorities and goals and redesign your site. You’ll have no need to retrain and get used to a new CMS plus you can keep your data where it is which is a huge attraction.

Option 2 - move to a DIY platform like Wix or Squarespace.

There’s nothing wrong with this option, especially if your budget is small, your needs are fairly standard and you have very little web experience in-house. This is often a really good option for smaller charities. The downsides are that year-on-year your costs may be relatively high and your site might lack flexibility should your needs change. Be aware too that depending on the service you choose your data may be stored outside the UK or EU.

Option 3 - move to a new web development and hosting company.

While this may be your best option if your current situation is unsatisfactory, it’s obviously a big commitment to rebuild your site from the ground up. You need to be 100% sure of your new partners. Take time to really talk to them and, just as importantly, make sure you talk to their existing clients. While it’s often tempting to just get moving once you’ve decided to move, this really is a time to step carefully, follow up on references and make sure you have all your questions answered. My second tip, is to go with a company that will build your solution using a leading open source platform. The open source ethos is probably in line with your values, and it also gives you the flexibility to move suppliers in the future, taking your site with you, if things don’t work out. Porting a site is generally not an option with closed source CMS vendors. A third suggestion is that you check with prospective partners that they can import your existing site data. You really don’t want to face typing all those pages again, especially if your site is fairly large and contains a database of services, projects or resources. I really cannot stress enough how time-consuming this process can be. A CMS like Drupal can really help here as it has first-rate tools for importing content from other systems.