If you are a web designer, you are no doubt familiar with the vast array of content management systems (CMSes) available today. WordPress has become the darling of the CMS and web design crowd and has been for quite some time now. Its large and active user and developer community has a lot to do with that. Even if you are a novice web master, you may find yourself turning to WordPress to drive your site because of its popularity and the wide selection of free and premium themes and plugins available for it. In this way, even a neophyte can have a web site up and running in 10 minutes or less.
But WordPress isn’t the be-all, end-all of CMS existence. There are several other content management systems out there that are just as popular and have just as loyal a following. But because we work closely with WordPress and CMS Made Simple, it just goes to show that you have more than one option depending on your clients’ individual requirements.
Why Use A Content Management System?
Why Reinvent the Wheel?
Sure, you can create a custom CMS from the ground up. But why should you when there are already so many well-coded CMSes out there that just need a few expert tweaks to shape them into exactly what your client needs?
Hand Control Back to the Client
Why not use a CMS? Especially if you are a web designer/web developer offering services to your clients. Empower them by letting them take control of their web site, add their own new content, and make their own changes. I’ve seen many a web site die on the vine because the client didn’t update the site either through lack of training or lack of funds to hire a web developer to do the updating for them. Using a CMS is a step in the direction of self-maintenance and client empowerment.
Content Management Systms That Are Updated Are More Secure
Most CMSes are database-driven and even those that aren’t are created with security in mind. As long as you (or the client) update the system regularly, security breaches can be kept to a minimum.
Take Advantage of Features that Let Your Site Grow With Your Business
There are no shortage of plugins, modules and extensions for most of the popular CMSes out there and new ones are being developed every day. You just have to imagine a feature and if it’s not already available, someone will likely create it if there’s interest. Most CMSes offer basic features such as calendars, RSS Feeds, blogging capabilities, social media integration, forums and much more.
No site is too small to make good use of a CMS. There are several lightweight CMSes available that don’t overwhelm, including Get Simple CMS, sNews and Chyrp, to name a few. When asking which CMS is right for you or your client, just think about what you want to do with the site. And beyond that, think about the future, what you might want to do down the road. But most importantly, try several out and find the one that you are most comfortable with. Because let’s face it, if updating your web site, if adding and changing content (let alone changing the design elements) are chores that fill you with dread, your entire web site will end up so much web lint.
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.