Should you use a CMS for your web project?

The quick answer is: it depends. Content Management Systems -- as opposed to sites created using static HTML -- have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of using a CMS

  • Easily edited content - A CMS will allow you to update and revise the text content of many sections of your website without extensive knowledge of HTML, simply by using a web browser.
  • Version control - Many CMS tools perform version archiving, which shows which edits were made when -- and by whom. You can also frequently revert to earlier versions of a page or document.
  • Search functionality - Most Content Management Systems include built-in search functionality that allow users to easily find content on your website.
  • Open source - Many CMS's, such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, are open source software tools. This means that the software itself does not require licensing or subscription fees. You'll still need a web developer to install, configure, and customize the Content Management System.
  • Plugin availability - A wide variety of pre-built plugins are available for most open source CMS systems.
  • Commercial themes - A commercial CMS theme provides an excellent starting point for many web projects.

Disadvantages of a CMS

  • Upfront cost - Building a website into a CMS is more complicated than using static HTML and requires a significant upfront expense. If the site is small, won't need to be frequently updated, or staff won't be available to actually learn and use the CMS, then this initial cost may not be justified.
  • Security considerations - Websites with CMS's are much more vulnerable to hackers than sites made from static HTML. Regardless of the CMS that you use, ongoing maintenance, upgrades and security patches will be required to keep your software up-to-date and as secure as possible.
  • Possibility for site damage - A Content Management System gives you alot of control. But in the wrong hands -- of an over-zealous employee -- this can cause alot of potentially expensive problems. For each CMS that we install, we get called for a few "emergencies" where clients make unintended changes to the website. Good backups will limit the scope of the damage, but it's still a consideration.
  • CMS Limitations - Regardless of the CMS you choose, you'll still need a web developer for certain tasks. A CMS will never give you complete control over your website. In fact, CMS's make websites more complicated, not less. So you'll need to keep a web developer around for ongoing maintenance, security upgrades, and other tasks.

For a free consultation, call us at (801) 633-4262.