cms-system-doom

What is a CMS? And Why Not Having One For Your Website will Spell Your Doom

CMS stands for ‘content management system’. A CMS allows you to make changes to any part of your website without needing to learn a programming language. Pretty neat right?

There are many different CMS flavors (providers) out there – the most popular one being WordPress – the CMS used by yours truly which powers 25% of the internet.

With a CMS you can save money by being able to make changes yourself and not needing to pay your web developer every time you need to make said changes – and you also gain control over your website – since you are not dependent on an external party to update your site; which means if your developer is not responsive it won’t stop you from keeping your website up to date.

When choosing a web developer you should know not only whether they will provide CMS functionality for your website – but also how much training they will provide – since there is no point to have a CMS if it’s too complicated to use.

Also – be careful when web development companies offer to set you up with a website using a CMS they have built internally. This will create many problems for you including limited online support community, limited plugins/extensions, a very small developer community, and being locked into their business model with no means of escape. For example what happens if you want to switch to a new developer and you are still using another company’s CMS? Let me tell you a client of mine wanted me to make some changes to his website however when I went to check the CMS I realised it was a proprietary CMS system developed by a Sydney based web development company – in order to help the client I would have to learn the CMS system from the ground up – which would cost the client a lot more – and this would be the case for any web developer he hired.

Also – be careful if your developer is going to set you up with a CMS that you have never heard of before. For example there is a ‘Wordpress alternative’ called Camaleon CMS – if your developer sets you up on this you will have a bunch of problems even if the CMS itself is good – for example finding another developer who is knowledgeable in Camaleon will be very difficult – also if you need to find a specific plugin or integration with another software you will most likely have challenges since there is such a small number of plugins and integrations for that CMS (integration means cool stuff that the CMS can do).

Remember – you want a CMS that has the most support and the most active developer community. There are extensions being written by the WordPress developer community every day – and many of these extensions are available for free or a small price – if you were to engage a developer to build one of these from scratch it would cost you thousands of dollars – so you can imagine how having a CMS with a big developer community can save you a lot of money in the long run!

So let’s summarise what we learned and keep these notes in mind:
  • The web developer should provide a CMS (content management system) for the website they create for you
  • The CMS should be a popular CMS that has a thriving online community – don’t use some niche unknown CMS that no one has heard of
  • Make sure you have budgeted the time/money for training once the CMS launches
In summary – make sure that the person developing your website will provide you with a simple way to make changes to their website. If they don’t – you’ll need to pay them every time you want to make a change. Also my recommendation is to use WordPress for your CMS needs – it’s the most popular and if you ever need to change developers (or if your developer becomes unreachable) then you will not have to look long for a well priced WordPress developer to help you.
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