5 Minutes to read

Is it time to build a new Umbraco site? 5 key signs

Bo Hedegaard

Director, Partner

Bo is director and co-owner at MCB. For many years he has particularly worked within the education sector, helping adult and further education to strengthen their online presence.

The digital first impression is crucial, and that's why it's important to keep your Umbraco site updated. But when is it time to build new?
There are several signs that indicate it's time for renewal and improvement if you want to maintain an effective online identity - but not all of them are equally obvious. Let's take a look at them.

Umbraco opgradering

Sometimes it will be clear that a website should be rebuilt. For instance, you may have adopted a new design style, got a different logo, or experienced a need to be rebranded.
These are all significant changes that often require a new online expression. And often, these changes are already incorporated into the larger strategy.
Therefore, the update is expected.

It could also be that you encounter a site that no longer meets your standards for security, speed, or necessary features. In such cases, an update is often considered. This way, you ensure that your site is moved to the latest Umbraco version, and you will benefit from the latest in security, performance, functionality, support, and compatibility.

In both cases, these are obvious situations. You know they are going to happen, and therefore you can prepare well in advance and take the necessary steps to get through a rebuild smoothly.

However, there are other signs that you should be aware of. They are not as obvious, and therefore they are easy to overlook and forget. And that's unfortunate. They can have a significant impact on your online presence and, thus, your business in general. Especially over time, you will find that these signs can evolve from being small and discreet to suddenly being very obvious.
It is, therefore, better to address them beforehand.


When makeshift solutions have become the norm rather than the exception

When a website is actively used, it is natural for it to evolve away from its original state. This is because it is almost impossible to anticipate every variation of content type, layout, or user behavior already in the planning phase that precedes the work on your website.

However, such evolution can often lead to content editors regularly resorting to HTML coding or other technical 'hacks' to adapt the website to changing needs. And precisely this practice can be an indicator that your website's current structure no longer meets the needs and demands of both users and business strategies.

A central goal of an Umbraco content library is precisely to create a framework that, among other things, allows for the execution of an effective digital strategy, which represents the brand, supports the user's journey on the website, and contributes to achieving conversion goals.
So when that system no longer functions optimally, it can become problematic.
For example, you may experience that your branding becomes inconsistent because editors have to improvise to adhere to design standards. And perhaps the user experience and the website's overall functionality will be degraded when the originally intended structure of content and navigation is unintentionally changed.

When editors without development experience adjust the website's code, you might also risk that your website is no longer responsive or compatible across different browsers. And this can severely impact things like SEO optimization and general user-friendliness.

Therefore, finding the 'small' and 'smart' solutions will often be the beginning of a vicious cycle.

So, consider how many 'hacks' have been made on your Umbraco site? And how often do you encounter obstacles that you have to solve with new tricks?


When you undergo fundamental changes in your company's strategy

In a constantly evolving digital world, it is crucial that a website can adapt to changes.

Editors on a website often face the need to make minor adjustments such as updating pages for campaigns or changing navigation structures - this is especially true during holidays.
And these changes become much more complex when there are major shifts in digital strategies. For example, you may suddenly have to deal with new approaches to customer engagement or changes in branding and communication.

In such cases, a thorough evaluation of how the website's structure and content support the new goals is needed.
When the strategy changes, it is often the case that the website's current structure no longer matches the new needs.

If the strategy changes involve new ways of reaching customers or changed communication methods, it may become clear that the website suddenly can stand in the way of a successful implementation of the new strategy rather than being the helpful and contributing factor.
And then it's time for a rebuild.

Strategy updates can also include integration of new technology.
And in that case, it is important to remember that not all Umbraco versions are compatible with new tools and technologies. If your current setup does not allow sufficient integration with, for example, digital marketing tools, it may be an indicator that you will encounter technical limitations in the future.
And that can also be a reason to upgrade.

A website that can support a dynamic and changing digital presence is therefore crucial to be able to react effectively to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. While a platform that limits this flexibility can result in your website becoming outdated and irrelevant. And this can have serious consequences for the company's ability to attract and retain customers.

And then, it's such limitations that can reduce the level of security. This applies, for example, to data security and GDPR - topics that today have very high standards - and general compliance, including WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).


When you experience growth in both team and processes

When a team grows and more contributors are added, the need for more advanced collaboration increases. This can challenge existing systems, especially when it comes to supporting work processes.

A limited platform can quickly become a bottleneck that hampers the team's efficiency and growth potential - especially when it comes to handling increased workloads or streamlining processes. This applies to both positive growth, where the team is expanded, and situations where the workload needs to be made more efficient among a few employees.

This signals the need to upgrade the current platform to a version that can be customized and support the needs of a growing team. In this way, constant, productive work processes are ensured, which are also the cornerstone of creativity and innovation.

If your company is on an older version of Umbraco, you might have missed a host of updates to the Backoffice - the place designed to make it easy for new users to get started, whether it be content editors, developers, or the web manager. It is the Backoffice and its many features that ensure teams can work efficiently together regardless of individual skill levels.

As the team grows, there's a need for additional functionality regarding flexibility and customization, and an older version may mean limitations in just those standard functionalities. This could make it nearly impossible to scale and manage increased traffic without compromising important areas such as performance.

More people also mean a need for increased security. Umbraco is committed to providing secure solutions with regular updates and patches - however, only for the latest 2 versions. So, take a moment to consider how well your site is protected against threats to your team, your users, and your business overall.


When you have to take financial considerations into account

During economic uncertainties, marketing budgets and outcomes are thoroughly scrutinized - especially in relation to the website platform. High licensing costs for the platform can pose a heavy burden on an already tight budget, necessitating significant decisions about the platform's future.

In this context, it's important to note that an expensive platform or license is not always the best solution for all needs. Therefore, it's worthwhile to explore cost-effective alternatives that still meet your technical requirements - many companies particularly benefit from Umbraco Cloud.
With Cloud, many experience a saving on license fees, while the platform's ability to scale and adapt to potentially growing needs is met.

Even though alternatives can reduce costs such as license fees, it's crucial not to compromise on efficiency. Thus, it's about finding a position that offers financial flexibility while still allowing for the most effective execution of strategies.

Therefore, this is about reducing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), as costs are often higher when a solution is not operated 'in-house', which is precisely what Cloud is capable of.

Such a transition can open doors to new opportunities and innovation. It can also enable teams to invest in other important areas such as content creation, user experience, and customer engagement.


When the current setup becomes outdated

It can be challenging to acknowledge that an Umbraco version is outdated. However, an outdated software version can indicate an urgent need to rebuild your Umbraco site. This applies to security when it comes to data and GDPR, it applies to compliance including WCAG, it applies to costs, and much more.

If you choose to overlook necessary upgrades, you are creating both security and functional issues over time as you fall behind with the various versions. And that's why it's important to address them early on - and sometimes, it may actually prove to be more cost-effective to completely rebuild rather than trying to repair an outdated system - which might be filled with 'smart' hacks. Especially if you are sufficiently behind on the versions.

The process also opens opportunities to reconsider your website's design, functionality, and user experience, and to update the technology to meet standards and consumer needs.

Thus, the rebuild can be an opportunity to create a more robust, secure, and user-friendly website, capable of withstanding challenges and delivering better results.


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