I’ve written about what proprietary websites are in a previous post because I’ve had several clients, or prospective clients who have built sites on proprietary systems and run into trouble later on. They weren’t happy with the service or the fees and wanted us to take over management, refresh or expand it. Unfortunately, they were unable to move the site because it was built on a framework that belongs to someone else.
Are They Keeping up With Technology?
A new challenge I’ve realized is these companies spend a lot of time and effort building a system; they become deeply committed to their technology. However, technology changes so rapidly that if their platform is not flexible, users of the system may not have access to the latest and greatest technologies.
For example, I have a client who has an e-commerce site built on a system that cannot integrate a WordPress blog. The client is into social media and blogs are great content generators, as well as helpful to SEO. The company can’t rebuild the whole site right now. We’ve found a work around – we’ll use an external blog with it’s own URL.
Think How Much Has Changed in the Last Year
There are other considerations – can the proprietary system support mobile versions of websites? That’s a need that came up very quickly. Not mobile apps, just a site that can detect if it’s being viewed on a mobile device and re-jig itself to look good there. WordPress, for example, very quickly had a plug-in that made that easy. Now there are options available that are even easier or automatic, and even see the difference between a tablet and a mobile phone = three formats. What about how they work with search engine optimization? Google is constantly changing their algorithm – can they adapt.
What about potential needs as you grow? Everything gets easier and less expensive to do as the months pass – will the proprietary system let you take advantage of that or force you to do things the old, expensive way?
Open Source vs Proprietary
Open source technology like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla have to be flexible, and have large, active communities of developers keeping up with the latest demands. This also means if your web company goes bust there are other people who can take over.
Proprietary website systems were developed as a way to make building websites easier, to provide content management systems for their clients, to make it more affordable with monthly fees – all with the best intentions. But if you’re considering this kind of system, ask hard questions about their adaptability to evolving technology.