Content Changeover

flower sketch by jeremy snyder

Earlier this week I had a conversation about making changes to a small business website. The current website was primarily functional but was showing signs of neglect. Several pages of content were never fully completed. The overall format was not flexible for most smaller devices used today. It turns out that the website is set up in a proprietary system. It was hard to determine if it was a content management system with any similarity to WordPress. The business owner did not seem to be regularly self-updating the website.

The question to me was “what would it take to changeover the website into WordPress”. I am a fan of WordPress so I am happy to facilitate moving from a proprietary system to a more adjustable and expandable platform like WordPress. However, before making the change, I suggested that we contact the manager of the current website system to see if other designs, themes or templates are available that could address the issue of lack of flexibility for smaller devices.

As it turned out, the real issue was more involved than the formatting or design. A large portion of the content was not owned by the business. Instead, the industry specific content was provided by the company managing and hosting the website. Not much of the content was customized by the business owner and therefore very little content could be transferred into a new WordPress installation. While the technical parts of the changeover to WordPress would relatively quick and easy, the overall project would be more time intensive. New content for most areas of the website will need to be created–practically starting from scratch.

The time needed to create engaging new website content is a task that is frequently underestimated. A small business owner wears many hats and will logically put a higher priority on revenue generating activities over writing new text for a general awareness website. A portion of the content creation time can be outsourced to a writing professional, but not likely 100% of the effort needed.

When the website was started years ago, a package that included hosting, setup, a design template, support and industry specific content probably seemed like a reasonable, efficient and cost effective approach. To make the change to WordPress will require an up front investment of time and financial resources beyond the recurring monthly fee for the current website package.

Takeaway lesson:
When considering use of a closed system that seems all-inclusive, consider the amount extra work that you that might incur when you decide to make a change to a different platform.

Image Credit: Jeremy Snyder