How we upgraded our website

We use a Content Management System (CMS) for our website.  A CMS is an online database that holds all the content of our website and allows us to easily edit our website online. 

There are many great CMS's out there, however Aspiration uses Drupal.  We recently decided to upgrade the version of Drupal we were using because of all the new features available in the new version.

Although our website is very easy to edit, we cannot manage our website without our website developer--FloatLeft.  FloatLeft set up the website for us, did the initial layout, and led us through the upgrade steps below. 

Here are the steps we took to upgrade our website. 

1.  We met with key staff to discuss what specific content changes we wanted in the new site. We then prioritized these content changes with abbreviations (IC, UC, AC) 

  • IC--Immediate Change
  • UC--Upgrade Change
  • AC--After Upgrade Change 

2. We met with our Drupal developer to describe what changes we wanted to make to the website. We also learned about new features available with the new version of Drupal like:

  • Adding a blog roll to our blog page.
  • Easily adding images to our blogs, or stories.
  • Randomly rotating the content on our some of our pages.
  • Adding a tagging feature to all our pages.
  • And more...

3. We used our project management software Basecamp to enter all the content changes as to-do items and milestones, and then we assigned the content and upgrade changes to either FloatLeft or a staff member. This way we were able to track when upgrade and content changes were made. We made the IC changes first.

4. Our developer created a test website with all the new features. While we were working in the test site, if we added content to our live site, we also had to add the content to our test site too. 

5. We verified that all the content in the test site matched the live site.

6. We went live!! 

The process took us about a month--we did it quickly because we worked together as a team and it helped that everyone completed their to-do items and milestones in a timely manner.

On a side note:
If your nonprofit is considering switching to a CMS, find a good developer first!

You can post your request on Nonprofit Techie Listservs like npo-techies@lists.compasspoint.org or nten-discuss@groups.nten.org.

Also, be sure to interview your top candidates and check their references too.