Picking a Content Management System (or CMS for short) is something you should really consider in some detail before committing to any web project. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different CMS’s and each one has its own individual set of pros and cons. This is why it’s quite important to really analyse what you want to achieve before deciding which path to take.
First off, let’s cover the basics – what is a content management system? A CMS is a web application which controls the content within your website. CMS systems have been around since the early 2000s and make the process of writing and uploading content simple for anyone who doesn’t know how to code.
More than likely, yes. If you just want a single holding page, or you’re pretty happy with just coding and uploading any changes you want to make as-and-when required then you don’t need to worry about a CMS.
If however, you want a website with any real number of pages or you’re not overly technical then a CMS is a must. Content Management Systems are (traditionally) built with the end user, rather than the developer in mind. This means anyone with a basic understanding of technology can log in and make the changes themselves.
This is where things get tricky to lay out – it really just depends what you want to do. We’ve outlined some scenarios below and hopefully these will help you make the right decision further down the line
You’ll want to look at WordPress. WordPress is easy to install on any hosting package and comes with a multitude of themes to pick from. The WordPress Content Management System powers about 25% of all the websites in the world thanks to it’s incredibly simple user interface and flexibility when it comes to building small to medium sized websites.
Again, WordPress. This time with a “Woo Commerce” plugin installed. Woo Commerce is a free addition to WordPress that lets you sell your products through an interface which people are familiar and comfortable with.
Now you’re going to want to look at Magento. Woo Commerce is great, to a point. Once you’ve added around 40 or 50 products though there are better systems. Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms available and it’s free, which is always nice.
WordPress is one option here, but for more complex sites, you are better off looking into one of the more advanced content management systems – namely Joomla! (the exclamation mark is in the name) or Drupal. While these allow more complex sites to be built, they do loose a little in terms of usability from an end user point of view – which is why they are not used for more simplistic sites.
If you want to write, and do nothing more than write, then Medium or Ghost are your best options. Medium is the simplest way to write content and have it published for you – although you’re unable to put any branding on it. Ghost is a bit tricker to get setup, but once you do it’s the perfect platform for just writing to your hearts content.
These are just a few possible scenarios and options. Naturally there are far more possible reasons you could need a CMS and there are an abundance more Content Management Systems available. Be warned though, as quickly as a new CMS arrives, another one will drop off the face of the internet. All of the ones I’ve mentioned here are pretty safe bets – they’ve been around for some time (apart from Ghost and Medium) and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere quickly (including Ghost and Medium)
If you want some help picking the perfect CMS for your project, or you have an idea in mind you want someone to take on for you, drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat about your options.