28 Feb Which CMS is right for my website?
Migrating a static site to a CMS, or switching from a custom CMS to open source can bring significant advantages. It helps to have a bit of background about the choices available, so in this article we are comparing the benefits of the three most popular open source CMS platforms, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
Each of these three open source platforms have evolved and come of age in the past five years or so. There are two concepts which are common to all of them:
Content database: All content is written and edited in an admin-only area, behind password protection. Content can be stored as pending until such time as it needs to go live. When it is published, the website pulls the content, and any images, forms etc. from the database and places them on the page according to your chosen layout.
Plugins / extensions: Additional functionality is added to your website by way of plugin software. These are codes and scripts which can be uploaded and installed. When activated they provide new processes and methods which are not available in the base installation of the CMS. Example plugins (extensions in Joomla) are things such as forms – for collecting visitor-entered data; SEO tools – for organising your content and making it more digestible to search engines; and Social Media icons – for placing icon links to your facebook, twitter or linked-in pages.
There are thousands of plugins available. WordPress has the largest library and it has been said that anything you want to do with your website can be done by configuring a combination of one or more plugins from the WordPress plugin library.
Themes / look-and-feel: Like plugins, themes are uploaded, installed and activated on a CMS website to give it a unique, or branded look and feel. The theme controls aspects such as the background colour, the page width, the typeface and paragraph defaults and the sidebars. Like plugins, each of these open source CMS’ has thousands of themes available for free in its theme library. As the most popular however, WordPress has the most.
Given that each of these CMS’s are based around these three concepts, you can then base a decision on which one to chose using known factors such as what you want your site to do. Do you want a website which collects visitor details, for example. Do you want it to find new custom for your business, or merely nurture your existing client base? Do you want a website you will update daily, weekly or monthly? and how will you want to handle images – do you have a large image library?
Questions like these are among the deciding factors when it comes to choosing the right CMS. With over 50% of the CMS market, we usually see WordPress is the strongest contender. Most often our decision hangs on whether there are any good reasons not to use WordPress.
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