Building a new website requires that a number of critical long term technology decisions are made fairly early on in the project cycle. Typically most business owners are not fully equipped to make key technology decisions of this nature and do not completely understand the long-term impact of these initial decisions. They are reliant on impartial guidance from their web development company. Unfortunately personal ability and business strategies can influence advice received. Selecting a Content Management System is one of these critical decisions that can have a very long term impact.
So what is a CMS?
A Content Management System is a piece of software that enables you to edit your own website content. They typically work by providing you with an online login from where you can access a number of tools to edit your own website content. There are a number of CMS systems available, some of which are open source and some which are licensed by various companies.
Why do you need a CMS?
Building your website using a CMS is a very convenient way to manage your website content, but it can also reduce your ongoing maintenance costs and the development costs of your site in the future.
Most content management systems are open source and have access to a multitude of additional features that can easily be activated as you require them. Why rewrite code when someone has already created a plugin that will meet your requirements. This is a major cost saving and can improve project turn around times.
An additional unexpected benefit is that much of your site will implemented in a search engine friendly format and should comply to most coding standards when a good CMS is used. Often coding standards are overlooked in favour of reducing the development time of a website. Today coding standards and the speed of your website are becoming significant factors in your website featuring high up in the search results. In fact it has been said that poor quality website code is the underlying reason for the creation of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry. So using a CMS will ensure that you get most of it right the first time.
Why should you consider WordPress?
Yes, there are other options but from our experience 90% of the time WordPress is the perfect solution for our clients. WordPress was initially designed as blogging platform, which as all blogging platforms do, allow users to publish content to the web. The WordPress interface was particularly intuitive to use which lead to website developers using the system (with slight modifications) to enable business website owners to use the platform to edit website content. Over time the WordPress community has accepted this use of the software and the more recent releases of WordPress have embraced this application. So you are not longer are using blogging software to run your site by choosing WordPress. You are selecting a highly developed CMS that can take you website well into the future.
WordPress is also easy to use. When compared against the likes of Joomla or other common CMS systems, WordPress wins hands down. There is a very strong developer following for WordPress globally. So if you ever decide to change development companies, most developers can start off almost seamlessly from where the previous firm finished.
Avoid a custom CMS at all cost.
Should you for any reason decide not to use WordPress just make sure that the CMS that you are using is open source. Some companies provide you with use of custom proprietary CMS solutions that while you may not realize initially, will bind you by the hip to that company. Open Source solutions ensure that you have access to a limitless developer network and that you truly are the master of your own domain.