One of the favorite parts of my role at Duo is talking with potential clients about their digital challenges and helping determine whether Drupal can help develop a solution to their problem. Ask any of these people, and they'll tell you that I love talking about the benefits of Drupal 8 and how revolutionary the newest version of the platform can be.
Photo by Clark Young
There are a number of fantastic aspects about Drupal 8, from how you can build and display content to new functionalities that come out of the box. In order to upgrade to D8, though, you need your site to be redeveloped. Even if you're completely happy with your site's existing design, your site will need to be recreated in order to take advantage of all that D8 has to offer.
You might be wondering why someone would have their whole site rebuilt if they're happy with how it looks and it is structured. Well, there are two answers. The first is that they may be happy with how the site functions now, but down the road they would love some additional functionality. Drupal 8 brings that added functionality.
The second reason, though, is the reality that all Drupal sites are on the path for being upgraded. Drupal 7's "end of life" — when Drupal and its thousands of contributors around the world no longer support or made updates to the version — is scheduled for November 2021. That means all D7 sites have three years to be upgraded to D8.
If you're going to need to upgrade eventually, why not do it sooner so you can take advantage of all that D8 has to offer?
Whether you've already considered moving to D8 or the thought hasn't crossed your mind yet, these three questions may help you decide that the time to upgrade is now.
- Are you considering a design refresh?
Whether you are considering a visual update to your site or are trying to determine how you want to rebrand it, you may want to step back for a minute and evaluate whether an upgrade to D8 should be done at the same time.
If you know you want to update how your site appears, consider what I think is one of the best new features of D8: Flex pages. I've written about flex pages in the past, but the reason I continue to bring them up is simply because they give site admins and content creators so much power over how their site looks. Flex pages allows these admins and creators to build beautiful sites with ease — and without the need for someone who knows how to code.
If you haven't considered an update to your site's appearance recently, perhaps you should. Remember what I said above. Drupal 7's "end of life" is three years away. That means you want to have your site updated by then.
- Do you want more functionality on your site?
I talked with a past client recently and she told me that her company was considering switching their CRM (customer relationship management tool), and they wanted to know if I had a recommendation. I said I didn't have an opinion on a specific CRM, but I asked why they wanted to make the switch. I then asked if they were going to integrate the CRM to their website, and I was met with silence on the other end of the phone.
After a couple seconds, she confessed that she didn't realize that was possible. I said not only is it possible, but in Drupal 8, it's easier and more efficient than ever before.
Drupal's ability to seamlessly integrate with other applications is one of the platform's biggest differentiators. Looking to streamline your marketing automation? Considering connecting your website to voice recognition tools like Amazon Alexa or Google Home? Thinking about how the Internet of Things can work with your site? Considering more personalized content on your site? Drupal 8 makes it possible to do all of those things — and much more.
Now technically, many of these integrations can be developed in Drupal 7, but like I said earlier, all D7 sites are going to need to be rebuilt in the next three years. So before investing the time and resources into a new D7 integration, consider instead putting that commitment toward D8.
Are you ready to upgrade?
The past two questions are somewhat high level, but this question is far more straightforward. If you were to upgrade your site today, do you have the resources to actually make it happen?
Upgrading to Drupal 8 is prime time to reevaluate everything with your site, from tools you're using to platforms you're integrating with to your actual site content. An upgrade to Drupal 8 will require you take your site down to the studs, and that's the perfect opportunity to do some house cleaning.
Many of our clients begin the upgrade process with a content audit. We work with them to review their analytics and determine what content is worth moving. Sometimes, it's the majority of the content, but more often than not, we'll migrate the highest value content and supplement with new content. Do you have the resources to create that content?
Maybe you've been thinking about upgrading your site to D8 for a while now, or maybe the idea hasn't crossed your mind until now. Either way, hopefully answering those three questions will help you determine if now is the right time to upgrade.
If you'd like some help thinking through those questions, or if you decide now is the right time for a D8 upgrade, please get in touch with me, and I'd love to help out in any way I can.