Why Should We Use A Content Management System?

A long time ago, when a small change needed to be made to a webpage, a nontechnical person would have to meet with a programmer in order to define requirements, write up the changes necessary, and then the developer would go and to the work. That process, where one person hands off content to another person to do things, and the back and forth.. it is a pretty inefficient system.

A Content Management System allows users to build and manage a website without having to write code from scratch. Sometimes, a CMS system can allow end users to write HTML, but that isn’t always necessary. For example, in WordPress, the interface looks just like Microsoft Word. There is a button with a big black capital B and when you highlight text, and hit that button, the text is bolded. Behind the scenes the CMS is smart enough to help less technical people to do more technical work.

I have always believed that it is our duty to help less technical people to accomplish more in the technology world. Most of my career as a developer has been working with Accounting and Finance people to automate some of their reporting. I believe that by helping people to accomplish more in the technology world, we are acting as a ‘Force Multiplier’ to make the world a better place.

Throughout my career, it was my job to deliver complex techology to empower the less technical people to get more done without interrupting a programmer.

That was the whole POINT of providing AdHoc reports, so that people could Drag and Drop fields and customize reports without waiting in line for the programmer to get to their request.

SQL Server Analysis Services and DataWarehousing Work throughout my career

I love teaching people, more than anything else in the world. But some systems are so easy, that there isn’t a huge wall to climb, and these systems of today are just easy enough to learn on a short schedule

CMS Examples

  1. WordPress.org

This is the version of WordPress that is open-source, and people can run this version in their own datacenters or anywhere they want.

  1. Joomla

This is another free open-source CMS with lots of templates and extensions. It has a similar experience for managing content, but it is particularly useful for developers.

  1. Drupal

This platform is good for developers, or if you can commit to keeping a developer on hire. The custom content types are very useful for some things. There are many themes and plugins, similar to WordPress, but customizing those themes is more difficult and less mainstream. This is a great option if you have a lot of data and you want to do something exciting and new with that data.

  1. WooCommerce

This is the most popular eCommercce platform in the world. WooCommerce is actually a set of plugins that runs on top of WordPress, so it can use the huge library of available plugins and themes. WooCommerce runs 5.8% of the websites in the world, and even though it is just a ‘Store’ plugin built on top of WordPress, the scope of the Plugins available for WordPress mean that it is in a category of its’ own. We love WooCommerce. Most importantly, we love starting a website in WordPress and then adding WooCommerce when it gets large enough to sell things.

  1. BigCommerce

The cheapest pricing plan for BigCommerce is $29.95/month. The Pro plan is $249.85/month. There are Enterprise plans that are even more. You can do some integration between WordPress and BigCommerce, but the functionality isn’t in the same league as what is possible with WooCommerce and WordPress sharing the same Database, Plugins and Themes.

  1. Shopify

This is a hosted platform that allows you to sell things online. The monthly service starts at $29/month, and the price can go up to $299/month. You will find that Shopify apps are more limited than what is possible with WooCommerce. The support that is available for Shopify customers is a great plus.

  1. WordPress.com

It is crazy to see that this is the THIRD listing we have for WordPress on this list of the Top 15 CMS systems of 2020. The reason is that WordPress.com is so different than the system that you can install on your own servers. On WordPress.com you can choose from about 30 plugins, vs 40,000 plugins that are available with WordPress.org. The monthly charges are reasonable, and some people LOVE not having to worry about Backups, and Version Control. With WordPress.com you always have the latest and greatest version of WordPress, but sometimes, people want to continue to use an old version or feature. We love WordPress, and without WordPress.com we wouldn’t be where we are today. But we love being able to run our own Hosting platforms that allow for a lot of flexibility.

  1. Ghost

Ghost is a popular CMS system designed for Bloggers. It is sometimes connected to alternative databases like PostgreSQL and MongoDB. Ghost has some nice features, it supports Markdown, which is a nice format for writing content without needing to resort to HTML. Ghost is great for Search Engine Optimization, and it is also well set up to allow for charging for content. There aren’t many web hosts that support Ghost, but I know that we can do it. Ghost Pro is a hosted offering that starts at $36/month, with the pricing going up to $249/month for extra staff or subscribers.

  1. Magento

This eCommerce platform has been interesting to look at over the years. I have looked at it a few times, as this is one app that is included on http://TurnkeyLinux.org and that allows it to be setup easily in a Virtualized environment. Magento has some nice features, but there are a variety of paid options and these can get expensive quickly. Some large firms like Nike, Ford and Coca Cola use Magento, but in order to run the Commerce edition of Magento, monthly charges start at $22,000. There are some interesting features available in Magento, and it is very scalable. There are a lot of 3rd party extensions that an add extra features.

  1. Textpattern

This is a much simpler platform that other CMS, but it has some nice features that really aren’t met in other systems. Specifically the ability to use sections and categories allows for a lot of flexibility in publishing content. Readers can subscribe to specific RSS feeds for different parts of your site. This system has been around since 2003, and has a lot of available Modifications, Plugins and Templates for free. Textpatten is a tiny bit harder to install than WordPress, and it can be hard to find authors or developers that are familiar with it.

  1. Wix

This platform is useful for beginners to get a chance to play around with different design elements. I like to recommend that people go and build a prototype in Wix, and then once they know what they want, it is easy to rewrite in WordPress. There are a lot of people that move from Wix to WordPress, because Wix does some things right, but it isn’t nearly as powerful of a system as WordPress. Some parts of Wix are difficult to deal with, for example once you have chosen a template in Wix, you can’t change to a different template, which means you can be stuck with a layout that isn’t quite right. You can’t run an eCommerce store on Wix without upgrading to a paid plan, and even once you use a paid eCommerce plan, you can only accept payments with Paypal and Authorize.net. Wix doesn’t allow you to easily download your data and export it. You can download your blog posts, but it’s not really possible to save your images. If you have any pages on your site, you’ll need to manually copy and paste them into another system. The worst part is that if you are using a Free Plan, there are ads that show up on your page, and unfortunately, those ads pay Wix, not you.

  1. Blogger

This is one of the oldest platforms around. It was started in 1999, and it was purchased by Google a few years later. Blogger is easy for beginners, and it is well designed system for writing and publishing content. Many gadgets are available to add for free, and you can add things like a contact form, or even ads with ease. Blogger is hosted by Google, and there is nothing to install or keep track of. Blogger even offers a generous amount of space, and you have a limit of 20 pages, unlimited posts, and photos are stored on your Google Photos space, so it will count towards your 15gb limit. If you want to run a more complex website, Blogger doesn’t really fit the bill. Blogger doesn’t allow you to grow into an eCommerce platform, or to charge for content, for example.

  1. Bitrix24

This is a business tool that offers a CMS along with features to manage your tasks, projects, communications, and customer relationships. This platform is free at the basic level, which includes 5gb of space and 12 user accounts. This also offers a CRM, and even eCommerce, which is important once an online company starts to grow. There are a huge number of features, and it has a great website builder for drag and drop website design. This platform is really designed to be a CRM, and if you already have a CRM, then it might be more complex than what you need. The premium plans start with Start+ at $24/month and go up to Professional for $199/month. If you want to use without their monthly hosting fee, that license starts at $1,490.

  1. Typo3

When we look at all the CMS in this list, this is actually the oldest. This system was released in 1998, and it allows for having intranets and public websites. There are 6,000 extensions and applications that you can add to Typo3 for extra features. Due to the open-source nature of this system, it can be extended by developers or other companies who work on your site. The system is a tiny bit more difficult to setup and maintain than some of the other platforms. When it comes to themes, there aren’t many themes available, so you’ll want to hire someone to build a theme for you.

  1. PrestaShop

This eCommerce platform has a large community and forums for tips and tutorials are shared. You won’t have to pay more as your shiop grows (except for hosting) and there are tons of modules to add new features. There are a fair number of Themes available, but the quality of these themes means that you will probably spend a long time looking for the right theme. Most addons in the PrestaShop Addons Marketplace start at $59.99.

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