When planning a site, the major technological question for a business owner centers on selection of a content management system (CMS). At its most basic, a CMS is a set of templates that allows you to easily add or edit pages to your site without having to write new code. Even if you have the skills to code a website from scratch, using a CMS can save you a lot of time and energy.
Available CMS options include proprietary systems developed by familiar faces like Microsoft and Adobe, and those built around an open-source community like WordPress or Drupal. Each content management system has its own approach (or metaphor) to managing a site and that has ramifications for how you build your site.
If you’re trying to figure out which CMS to choose, here are some points that might help you make the best choice for your needs.
- It’s #1 For A Reason
WordPress powers 23% of all sites on the Internet and is by far the most widely used CMS. It’s the system behind the sites of big-name brands like Time Inc., CNN, and Vogue, but its affordability and ease of use has helped make it popular for personal blog use as well.
- Great Bang For Your Buck
It’s ideal for news and blogging sites and has a huge ecosystem of plugins for standard needs like event management and e-commerce. As long as your needs aren't too specific, WordPress can get you there.
- Thinking Inside The Box
While it can handle anything if you push it hard enough, it doesn't do nearly as well with highly customized processes or designs that require frequent updates.
- Popularity = Vulnerability
As the most popular CMS, WordPress is also the biggest target. If you don't take extra steps to secure your Wordpress site, you run a risk of having your site taken down or opening yourself up to a number of other cyber threats.
- Great Plans On The Horizon
Versatile and highly customizable, Drupal includes a robust open-source community that volunteers its time to build and maintain the CMS and its associated modules. Drupal's User Interface allows for easy content management and editing on all devices, including your smart phone. Among the modifications, Drupal is introducing the ultimate editing function: being able to make changes by clicking on the public-facing page on your website!
- Attentive To Security
If Drupal’s good enough to keep the White House’s website secure, it’s good enough for you! If you run all security updates, your site will be much less vulnerable to passive attacks.
- Only Tech Savvy Need Apply
If you're building a new web-based business from the ground up, it's likely you'll need a lot of custom functionality and you don’t necessarily have the time to learn the ins-and-outs of an off-the-shelf CMS like Drupal.
- Frequent Upgrades Required
We noted that Drupal’s security is great, but those crowd-sourced patches don’t install themselves. You’ll need to pay close attention to core and module updates and make sure to install the critical ones posthaste.
- Your Brand, Your Way
Among the benefits that come with a site is built specifically with your needs in mind, you can have an interface with a clear 1:1 relationship with what is visible on the public-facing part of your site. You don't have to worry about interface clutter, loads of settings that aren't relevant to you, or trying to work around the way the plugin authors conceptualized issues.
- Safety In (Smaller) Numbers
While we would never recommend relying solely on “security by obscurity,” it remains highly unlikely that your site will be compromised unless someone is targeting you directly. Custom systems are more trouble than their worth for automated bots.
- Pay The Cost To Be The Boss
If you’re in the early stages of development and on a tight budget, customization may not be the route for you quite yet. You could probably get what you need from Drupal or Wordpress, but it may be more expensive to fill in the gap between what it can do off-the-shelf vs. what you need.
- Regular Check-Ins
Though you avoid the need for frequent updates and upgrades, you will be more reliant on your developer to make any structural changes to the site. As your goals and requirements change, you’ll need to custom code new features (even ones that may seem relatively simple).
Here at New Possibilities Group, we have experience with WordPress, Drupal, and custom CMSs, and we’d be happy to help you decide what will work best for your project!