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Content management systems (CMS) allow website administrators to edit content without knowledge of html code. Consequently changes can happen in real time and without the cost of an engineer on staff. These changes include such things as replacing or editing text, images, videos, calendars, blog posts, promotional events and products. With a little more knowledge, users can make changes to the arrangement of their own website.

Sounds good but what are the trade-offs?

If you do not use a CMS, your site will have each page coded individually. While some code can be copied from page to page, there is a greater chance of error. For large websites, this has risks in continuity and is also not very efficient. It becomes very tedious to maintain as well. And we all know that websites should change regularly to reflect your business as it changes.

However in today's world, this means that most organizations will find greater benefit by using a CMS provided they manage security issues well. And that is not a big issue if you incorporate that into a regular site review and maintenance schedule. So which CMS is best?

There are three types: proprietary CMS, free proprietary and or one of the popular open source CMS: Drupal, Joomla or WordPress.

Proprietary CMS

Proprietary CMS

To use a proprietary CMS, you agree to use a web system from a private company who wrote the CMS code. It’s great for security because their code is known only to them. However if you become unsatisfied with their service or fees, the only way you can change from them is to recreate your website elsewhere. There are situations where these vendors also register your domain in their name and that is a real challenge to resolve in some cases.

Free Options

Free options

squarespacewixFree proprietary CMS systems are also popular for those on a budget. Examples include Squarespace and WIX . The primary advantage for these options is that usually the cost is very low or free. You have access to their proprietary CMS and selections of popular design options. If you want something that they don’t offer e.g. different layout, there is usually no option to customize. If there is, then you will need to hire an engineer who understands their CMS.

Drupal

Drupal

drupal

In times past, Drupal’s biggest attraction was its ability to grow a website with less effort and to support high volumes of traffic. It is also more difficult to learn. So typically it was used by only larger organizations with those needs. Landau Design has preferred Joomla and WordPress but if you there is information from developers who use Drupal readily available.

Joomla

Joomla

joomla
Joomla
was the first choice for Landau Design for content management systems.  We choose it for several reasons:

  • Compared to Drupal, Joomla has easier configuration and editing of content. This both reduces the cost of websites and makes maintenance easier for our clients.
  • Compared to WordPress, Joomla still offers more flexibility than other CMS with greater security.
  • Joomla offers many technical solutions at low or no cost. As an example, the tabs display on this page is easily configured with nominal cost.

WordPress

WordPress

wordpress icon

Initially WordPress did not allow you to arrange content except in limited ways. The traditional WordPress theme was arranged for blog posts on the left side of the page, a tag cloud on the right and a menu at the top. To change this, an engineer needed to change the code in the theme.

WordPress has made a major step forward with the divi theme. This theme puts the placement of content in an administrator’s hands without need for an engineer. It is still not as secure as Drupal but many people understand it because they have used it for blogs.