Monday, May 4, 2009

Using a CMS Vs. Not

This post is a response to: (

There are very few things you need to worry up-front about building a site, except if your style fits the designers’, the platform, and if they build your site up to web standards.

Many programmers will use a scare tactic to avoid building a site with a CMS because they do not believe in CMS platforms or don’t know how to use them properly. The reality is, that a platform is only as good as it’s designer/developer. If you don’t employ someone who understands how to program, not using a CMS is like shooting yourself in the foot or throwing money away. It simply makes it so you have to permanently employ the person who builds your site.

Your screwed.

Your stuck using a developer or relying on him/her forever to help you maintain and update your site.

The upside of WordPress is that the platform is very simple to maintain, you can make the design look ANY way you want, literally any design can fit into WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Express Engine. Unlike most CMS platforms, WordPress if open source and therefore free. Plus if you use social media to promote your brand, WordPress conveniently has many FREE plugins and social media tools that fit hand in hand with WordPress and you can use RSS (really simple syndication) to feed those platforms. Oh, and not to mention yes, content is king of the web but Google loves WordPress. It’s clean, simple, and there are a dozen things you can do to automate some of your SEO (search engine optimization) initiatives that will be ever-so-important in the future, unless you have plans to marry a programmer/seo person and have them do your ongoing SEO. Regardless, you should have someone do your SEO, but your programmer needs to know the basics so that your SEO person doesn’t have to scrap it and start over.

It’s not that I don’t have reasoning behind what I was telling you. Building a site on any platform is not as constraining as some people would like you to believe. It’s helping YOU. The code is essentially all the same. The design, can still be the sky is the limit for you and the designer/developer.

Just because a website uses a CMS doesn’t mean that it has a cheap look or 90′s look. That all depends on the company behind the brand. Many corporations or wonderful sites are fully customized on platforms like Express Engine or WordPress. Cheesy graphics can be added to any site, even a hand coded html/php/css site that over-uses the use of drop-shadows and bright colors from the 80′s doesn’t have to be built using a CMS, that is purely the designer’s fault. Besides beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Clearly even non-CMS sites can use widgets, like disquis, to improve usability and management.

Content is king. Getting the word out about a brand and the content they are trying to share, that is a whole different ball-game. Using widgets like Facebook share can really help with that. Unless, you want to charge your client twice as much to hand code that, which would be a waste of your time and your client’s money.

Many of the sites that look like they where built 10 years ago, look that way because they where. Not because new designers built them. Cheap graphics (and bad designers) are to blame, not the platform.

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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.

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