Now here’s another reason for an association web site evolution that is often quite legitimate.
The online needs for the association have changed and the site must change with those needs.
This isn’t about a software failing, or going away. It is about an organization changing – and either deciding to do considerably more, or sometimes considerably less, on the web, and that requires a change in the online tools it can avail itself for the web site.
A good example is a complex e-commerce site, one in which there may be multiple servers involved in transactions. It’s not just a shopping cart, but it’s a client profile lookup that is housed elsewhere, and a reporting to accounting software for transactions after they are completed. It could be access to a learning management system, or access to subscription services provided by others, or customer support. Whatever the case, it may be considerably more than what your current site environment can handle today, and grow for tomorrow. If so, you have to evolve to the new.
This is where it really makes sense to talk to other organizations that have done what you are planning to do. Because when you expand the amount of data sharing in a web site’s applications, you expand the complexity of the site, and…
You require greater rigidity in how the site is constructed, because a variety of other online applications are depending on that rigidity.
What does that mean for you as the web site owner? It means that it will be more time-consuming and costly to make changes, and because of that, changes may be limited and reduce your flexibility for changing how something works on the site. It means your security needs may increase considerably. It may mean that the ability to manage all things on the web site will have to be limited to someone that actually understands how the web site is constructed. Because the web site is more complicated, the knowledge for
maintaining it must be greater.
So, I suggest doing as much homework in this case as possible on the web. Look for web
sites that appear to do what you want your site to do, and are non-competitive. Reach out to those web sites and honestly explain that you are considering a similar web site conversion for your organization, and ask if they have any suggestions or regrets on process, tools, contractors, costs, etc. Particularly… results. Because this is a big endeavor, implementing less flexible strategies, and you want to make sure of what
you’re doing, before you do it.
Successful organizations that don’t feel this is a competitive conflict are likely willing to share their experience. On the other hand, you may not hear back from those still trying to determine if their web site is successful.
And once you’ve done that – talk to vendors. Multiple vendors. Consider that this will probably be a long-term relationship, so do what you need to do to figure out who you are most comfortable with – and why.