Whether you are a small business owner starting out with their first attempt at an online presence or a designer just starting in the website game, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what website platform or Content Management System (CMS) you are going to design into. There are lots of providers in the market now, all offering different ways of getting a site online. Below we take a look at a few of them just to give you a basic understanding of where to start.
The stalwart – WordPress
For the better part of the last decade WordPress has been the ‘go to’ for both website designers and business owners when it came to creating their first site. It’s a tried and tested platform that has a huge array of plugins and templates available to be bolted on when building your site. In years gone by it was also seen as the ‘easy option’ when it came to website editing – letting you build a site without any real coding experience. Nowadays the game is moving forward a little bit around WordPress. While it remains the go to if you have specific functionality in mind, it is no longer the ‘easiest’ website editor in the market. This, coupled with the need to make sure all your plugins are kept up to date, has seen a few ‘new kids on the block’ start to become more prominent.
The newbies – What You See Is What You Get
For those business owners that aren’t too tech savvy, the latest round of website content management systems are all designed to be easy to use for everyone. They rely on a drag and drop interface and what you see in the editing mode is what you get on the published site. Wix is the mainstay in this space, but Weebly and Squarespace have quickly jumped into the mainstream. They all offer slightly different ways of doing things – Wix gives you a ton of customisation, Weebly let’s your designer have a bit of creative and coding freedom, and Squarespace keeps things simple.
The ‘ultimate’ – a fully custom approach
Beyond the website editors mentioned above, there is always the opportunity to custom code yourself a site from scratch. This will inevitably be the most time consuming and costly approach, but if you have a really specific functionality in mind, you may want to head down this path. Be sure to make sure you bring someone (or a company) with design flair as well as technical software skills into the mix. A good designer is not necessarily a great programmer…and vice versa.
This is just a really brief overview of the CMS’ available. There are a HUGE number we haven’t mentioned, from Magento to Silverstripe, Joomla to Django, you’ll find a vast array of Content Management System’s in the market. Ultimately there is ‘no wrong answer’ when it comes to picking the CMS for you – it is a horse’s for courses decision. Take your time, speak to a website design professional, or do a bit of your own research to find out exactly what you would like your CMS to do.