Choosing the right content management system

In today’s crowded internet world it is increasingly more important to add new, high quality content to your website on a regular basis.

Not only does this provide a valuable insight into your business for potential customers and helps you stand out from your competitors it also really helps your search engine ranking. Google just loves websites that produce new, relevant content.

In view of this, in order to keep your website up to date you need to be using a content management system (CMS). Whether it’s you updating the website, members of staff or an external PR/marketing company a (good) CMS can greatly simplify this process.

Many years ago, frustrated by limitations of CMSs that were available at the time I developed my own basic system. However, over the years it became too time consuming to maintain and other CMSs improved considerably to the point that I concluded it was better left in the hands of developers who are only focussed on the development of the CMS and set about researching which ones were the best to use.

Of course, unless you are developing websites on a regular basis then you wouldn’t be expected to have a clue which CMS would be the right one for you—the choice is endless. What you will find is that many of these systems are open source and free. The most popular of which being WordPress which currently powers nearly 75 million websites worldwide!

Too good to be true?

As a potential end user of the CMS don’t be swayed by the fact that it’s offered to you for free by your web designer/developer. The overriding factor for you should be ease of use. A website developed for you using a system that you can’t get to grips with is a waste of money. It will either end up looking a mess or you will just neglect to update it (unless you pay someone to do it properly).

When considering ease of use you should also consider not only your own abilities but others. You might be employing someone that’s “good with computers” now who will update the website but what if they leave?

I have used—and still do use—WordPress for many of my clients’ websites and it works well for them. It can be a quick and low cost option to get online. However, it’s not for everyone, including me.

King of the Content Management Systems

This site is powered using Craft (a commercial CMS, with Client and Pro versions for US$199 and $299 respectively—I am using the Pro version). A content management system in the true sense of the word. WordPress started off as a blogging platform and out of the box is still essentially that. Extra functionality is added in the form of themes and plugins which you either develop yourself or can get for free or paid from third party developers.

Craft Cms Logo

So this is where costs start to come into it. A lot of the better plugins charge for their use (or at least for a “pro” version which contain features you might need), often in the way of annual subscriptions. With Craft the vast majority of websites can be built using the system as it is out of the box. There is a comprehensive plugin architecture available if required but I have found I’ve rarely needed to use this and often it’s for the most minor of functions.

However, where Craft truly wins is in the ease of use stakes. It is an absolute joy to use, and especially for multilingual sites. I have no problems using WordPress, Joomla or any other CMS for that matter but they just don’t compare. Because Craft is all custom fields what you see when editing content is only the fields and information you need. No confusion just a nice, clean interface. I have developed sites which have required dozens of users to add and edit content and all of them managed to do so easily with no training and without making a mess of things!

Development is also a breeze. Other CMSs and their plugins/themes output their own HTML which might be less than ideal and necessitate overriding them in custom plugins and themes which is often not easy. If not done correctly these changes can easily be overwritten or just break when updating the system. With Craft I have complete control over the markup.

As Craft is also a commercial system support is included. I have reported bugs to them and seen them release updated versions of the system within 24 hours. The support really is first class.

Take a test drive

Not everyone has the same budget and requirements so for that reason I highly recommend that potential clients see for themselves. I can arrange to demonstrate my recommended solutions before a decision is made. If you’re not happy with your existing CMS why don't you contact me today to see for yourself that there is a better way.

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