The process for upgrading an existing site to the new style can vary greatly depending on what systems are in use and what form your content is in. This page provides some generic advice on upgrading steps.
- Assess your content - now is as good a time as any to review the content on your existing site and decide whether it all needs to be there. If you are going to revise or restructure content, it is best to develop that plan first. You may need to do a site inventory.
- Create wireframes - create some basic outlines of pages to show where different pieces of content are going to go. It doesn't have to be fancy or in colour. Wireframes will allow you to talk to people about what the new website will look like, without you having to code it first or develop full colour mock-ups. Think - measure twice, cut once!
- Register your site with an ID
- Set up a development site - upgrading can take time, so you'll need a space that you can work in. It might be a folder within your existing site, or an entirely new web instance. You will not be able to apply the style in one step to a live website. Make sure you have a couple of test pages working in the new style, so that you see whether your site is working as expected.
- Look for opportunities to automate - if your webpages have repeated blocks of code, you may be able to search for that block of code and replace it with the relevant value from the new style (see the template mapping page for some ideas).
- Develop a upgrading plan - if you can automate some of the upgrading, your plan might be to copy the files from your live site and do a search and replace on the code. Or your plan might be to create new pages and cut and paste content into them. Or you might need a mix of both.
- Activate the plan - populate the development site with content and test.
- Request publication approval
- Go live - make your development site the live version.
Allow plenty of time!
Upgrading to the new style is not simply a matter of connecting to a new style sheet.
The old web templates use code that is no longer acceptable. When upgrading to the new style, you need to change the code and use new class names that did not appear in the old style sheet.
Is upgrading worth the effort?
Yes! The new styles have been designed to make future changes much easier than the upgrading we're undergoing now.
Websites that convert can take advantage of centrally managed changes being automatically applied (such as changes to colours etc.), new styles and widgets being added, instructions for any template code that needs to be changed (we try to keep changes to a minimum) and release notes explaining what has changed.