Whether you are opening a new website, or need to convert your old site onto an open source platform, making that leap to a new CMS isn’t something to make light of. You can go with the tried and tested giants, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or maybe the more designer customizable LightCMS or Squarespace. There are a lot to choose from basically, but some simple factors can help you cut the legwork in half.

Designer or Developer?

Essentially, looking at the big contenders, WordPress is more for your designers, Drupal for developers. Drupal leaves plenty of room for customisation, although admittedly has few real quality free plugins (or modules). However WordPress has more themes and layouts, allowing the less tech savvy amongst you to update and alter your site, long after initial setup.

 Do you know your CSS from your PHP?

I would guess that not everyone within your company is 100% up to scratch on their scripting languages. Not really a problem with CMS, but certain sites will be more attuned to helping you out. The big three for example, all have a huge supply of webinars, white papers and blog entries available online to help with those 3am queries. Expression Engine and Squarespace, less so.

Favor the underdog?

 Squarespace, one of the smaller CMS providers, but getting a lot of hype at the moment. Again it has various built in templates and is in fact easier than others for standard formatting. But one of it’s biggest pulls is its focus on mobile usage and high resolution images. Screens are only getting better, and with retina display you really can’t afford to cut corners on visuals.

For the future…

It is worth remembering when looking at each of these providers, that at some point In the future you will more than likely need to hire in a developer to help with improvements and scaling. It could simply be that you need to update your SEO with Google’s ever changing algorithms (the clever buggers). But if you go with a bigger named CMS such as WordPress (with 326,605 plugins to date), any developer worth their salt will be fully proficient. A less known platform could mean you spend longer in your developer search, or even have to fund the catch up mandays. Open source platforms can be tempting with the initial no cost start up, but upscaling to a more bespoke site can be painful if you can’t find a low cost developer.

  • Developers – Drupal, designers – WordPress
  • Open Source is free, but to scale to bespoke later will have you digging deep, so think about where your company is heading in the long term.
  • Drupal is built up around SEO
  • You’re never far from a tutorial with the ‘big three’

What do you think?

Appnova is a digital agency specializing in web design, UX, eCommerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.



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