October 21, 2010 | Web Design
I’m often asked which content management system (CMS) is best? Choosing a CMS can be challenging and there are many considerations.
At Visible Logic we find that we are developing web sites in a number of different CMS platforms. We have used WordPress, ExpressionEngine, and Joomla extensively, and have a project that is just getting started that will be developed in Drupal. In addition, we have worked with developers on fully custom-built tools. Therefore, we are using many of the major content management tools that are available.
There are a number of considerations that go into helping us determine which platform we will develop in. But these can be boiled down to these three key questions:
The bottom line for us is that the CMS needs to be able to handle the content and functionality demands, and still be usable by our clients.
You’ll notice that design needs are not addressed in the above considerations. It is our strong belief that design should remain separate from the content management tool. Our short list of preferred platforms will adapt to whatever design solution we think is best. As long as you have talented developers working with the tools (and we do) worries about compromising the design are not part of the question.
In general, our clients and potential clients do not have a Content Management System picked out when they ask us for an estimate, although it occasionally happens. Rather, they are looking for our expertise in helping them to select the right tool.
The reality is that there is no magic bullet CMS. Usually more than one tool could get the job done.
At Visible Logic, we’ve made a decision to use the best tool for each web site and not limit ourselves to only one platform. We do some development work directly in-house and have built great relationships with development partners such as Dunkirk Systems and Transit ID for more complex work. With that combination of resources we can offer the best solution for each individual client or project.
We have a full arsenal of tools at our disposal. And we find that we add value to web design and development projects with our ability to help our clients sort through the choice of a content management system.
We prefer to use tools that are widely available and economical. With so many free open-source tools and low-cost options there is nearly always a way to develop your web site without having to pay large upfront or recurring software fees.
We also want to ensure that our clients “own” their web site and its content. That is why we would never recommend a tool that essentially leaves you at the mercy of an outside vendor. Using open-source and other commonly used tools, we are able to promise to our clients that should something happen to us (God forbid) someone else could step in and take over the site. We also have enough confidence in our work to bet that our clients won’t go elsewhere unless something does happen to us.
How did you choose your CMS? Did you do your own research, or did your web designer or developer help you with the decision?