With so many voices in the web building world, it gets tricky to sort through it and find the solution that works best for you. Here are some terms that can help sift through the web talk and help you make a better and more informed decision.
CMS: Content Management Systems: Long gone are the days of building webpages and sites by hand coding. With the size and scale of the sites on the web now, trying to manually manage them has turned from tricky to near impossible.
Introducing Content Management Systems. What is it? A platform that provides the structure, organization and deployment of content. Software is installed on the server, that allows a user to login to an admin panel where they can access, edit, and publish content without knowing any code. The setup and customization is typically much less work than traditional websites, and with a skilled developer you can have a fast, secure, and unique site on a time table that is a fraction of what they were 5 years ago. There are a variety of CMS available, with the most popular being WordPress.
WordPress: I know you’ve heard the term. It’s been floating around for almost 10 years now. My first experience with WordPress was in 2007 when I created my first photography blog. Then, I chose it simply because it was free and it promised a simple and quick installation. I’ve been able to watch it grow into the number one CMS powering 23% of the internet.
WordPress is my choice for CMS for a variety of reasons, the first being its community. As open source software, anyone and everyone is welcome to develop and create for WordPress. This establishes a network of well… help. Anytime I have needed help or had questions someone within the WordPress community has usually seen the same issue or wanted to try the same thing.
Plugins are extensions for the basic WordPress platform. There are plenty of free options, but if you’ve got a budget you can use premium plugins to quickly turn your site into whatever you would like. E-commerce site, blog, portfolio, you name it.
WordPress also anticipates and embraces new technology. They were leaps and bounds ahead of other platforms in developing sites that were mobile friendly. That is just one example. They continue to be ahead of the curve in adopting what users want on a front and back end.
Framework: Not interested in a CMS? There are plenty of other options. The next most used option is a Framework. People often compare WordPress and Drupal. Having a limited amount of time working within Drupal, it felt less like a CMS and more like a framework. You could build a CMS with Drupal but it requires more time, more humans, and more money. It is also open source, and there’s a very loyal community, but the learning curve is steep, and building and maintaining a framework site will require a team of developers. There are lots of arguments out there on why one is better than other, but I’ve yet to run into a situation where Drupal did something WordPress couldn’t. But the White House does use it, so there’s that.
E-commerce: Like shopping online? Me too… E-commerce simply allows you to sell online. Just a few years ago this required the use of highly skilled developers. Things have gotten easier. WordPress has plugins like WooCommerce to make this possible. And there are other sites that will make e-commerce very simple for you; but beware because they are often interested in taking a significant portion of your profit.
Free software: There are dozens of free options out there for websites. Some of the most popular being wix and weebly. As a developer I did not have any fun working with these platforms. While I am sure there is a demographic that benefits from these services, I am yet to see who they are. If you are a business, or anyone seeking to establish an online presence, I have found these options tend to be just as much work, with significantly less payoff.
Still not sure what’s right for you? Drop us a line in the comments and we can help steer you in the right direction.