Choosing a Content Management System to suit your needs
In the past it took a significant amount of effort to create a basic website. Best practice included walls of text, adding images and content into table based web pages to hold the content in place. With the rise in popularity of browsers like Firefox and Safari, web developers jobs became significantly more difficult. They now had to switch between browsers and ensure that the pages looked good on increasingly popular web browsers. However, these processes have been greatly simplified with the introduction of Content Management Systems (CMS). Choosing which CMS to use is now the dilemma.
What is a CMS?
Essentially, a CMS allows web developers to create templates and layouts for their clients. Now, clients can add their own content without ever having to learn code! This means that developers provide clients with a framework to build on allowing full control from the client’s side to manage and edit their website.
Which CMS should I use?
Before diving into choosing which CMS to use, it’s important to note the different benefits and drawbacks of CMS. Maybe a CMS is not what you need! Here are a few points to consider:
Drawbacks of Content Management Systems
Extra security is needed because there are hackers out there that can figure out how to break into these platforms.
Making your website look exactly how you envisioned can be more of a challenge. Each CMS is somewhat different to the other and all present their own difficulties to ‘style’ it.
Everything is stored on a server
CMS can be slow – it stores elements separately, then assembles it on the fly when the client requests a web page. However, this can be avoided using effective caching and Content Network Distribution (CND) systems.
There are a few things you cannot do in a CMS without rewriting a lot of the code. However, this is rarely an issue so if you have specific functionality requirements, it’s best to do a little bit of research.
Benefits of Content Management Systems:
User-friendly – there is no need to know code
Content editing is separated from design and functionality – most CMS allows non-technically trained users to add, format and edit content on a website.
Helpful user community
No matter how long you’ve been developing websites for, there’s one thing that you’re always going to need every once in a while: help. One of the most important aspects when choosing your CMS comes down to how much information is available. Whether you’re trying to change the font style or add a floating information bar, we’re all going to need some help every once in a while. Having a helpful user community is essential and is often overlooked when choosing which CMS or even which theme/layout to choose.
Controllable editing permissions for different users
Users can be assigned selective access permissions based on their roles (editors can only add and edit content. Developers have universal access etc.)
Editing any content is simple & can be done quickly
Content can be updated rapidly and edited on the fly by anyone with appropriate permissions.
CMS has evolved to allow the ability to create custom page titles, metadata, adjustable URL’s, as well as helper plugins to create sitemaps, robots files and more.
Fast start-to-launch timeframe
Depending on the level of customization, you can create and launch a CMS website in a very short timeframe.
FREE tools available
A basic CMS framework, hosting and tools are FREE – anyone can create a website and learn how to use a CMS for almost no cost.
Now that you’re more aware of what a CMS entails, and are sure that it is the right platform for you, here are a few statistics on the most popular CMS platforms:
Most Popular Content Management Systems
These are 5 of the most popular CMS systems today. Using Google Trends, this data represents the interest overtime of each CMS over 5 years. For more detailed insights, including related search terms and interest according to region, proceed to the detailed stats.
- WordPress 50%
- Joomla 14%
- Wix 9%
- Drupal 7%
- Magento 5%
- Others 15%
WordPress remains the most popular and widely used CMS platform. Nowadays, there are multiple different CMS platforms to choose from, each presenting their own levels of functionality and customization. However they were all built around the same idea: to make web design simpler. Here are three factors we find important when choosing which CMS platform to use:
The most important factors to consider when choosing a Content Managment System:
When choosing a CMS, it’s best to define exactly what you want. If you’re designing a website for a client, it is usually best to avoid the ‘geek friendly’ CMS platforms that developers love to play around with. Your client may not be so tech-savvy and this CMS would likely annoy them more than it would assist them. The same applies for you – are you fluent in coding? If not, avoid platforms such as Joomla.
CMS durability & ability to adapt
If you’re choosing a CMS for your own website, it’s good to choose one that you understand and offers exactly what you need. It never hurts to do a little bit of research beforehand. Choose a CMS that’s going to be ‘future-proof’ so that any new developers will easily be able to pick it up and start doing their magic.
Do you need a website to showcase your writing skills, or a website to showcase your portfolio? Each platform has different ‘talents’. So deciding on what you would like your website to function as is key to deciding which one is best suited for you.
WordPress: great for just about anything for small to medium businesses: blogging, portfolios, commerce, etc. Almost 99% of hosting companies support WordPress. There is a lot of support for WordPress.
Wix: as the platform is very basic, it is better suited for portfolios and for people who don’t want the option of a lot of additional features such as plug-ins.
Joomla: best for those with some programming knowledge, as customized styling and even inserting content can be tricky if you are not partially fluent in coding languages.
Try not to be intimidated by the mass amounts of information being bombarded onto you when you first try your hand at your own website. Take each piece of information with a grain of salt and try your best to adapt. The digital realm is constantly changing, so what you know today may not be useful in a few years time.
In our opinion, WordPress is definately the CMS to use. By far, it is the most widely used, with almost endless support from the user-community. If you run into an issue, you can be sure that someone else has encountered it before you, and this means that the answer to your problem has already been solved for you.
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