Creating a website always involves a series of design choices. Color palettes, logo choices, navigation choices all are part of the process and there is an entire other issue in deciding whether to use a content management system. A content management system is a means whereby a website can be published without the need-to-know PHP, HTML or being forced to FTP files using an FTP client.
A content management system may sound perfect for a new website owner and it could well be the ideal choice. Unfortunately, it is not the right choice for every single website either.
There are positives on both sides of the fence (client and designer) to using a Content Management System. There are also distinct disadvantages to using them to both parties. It is important that a website designer discuss both with the client in order to help the client come to a decision they can live with.
Content Management Systems Pros
- Larger firms may have several contributors and may monitor their contributions using a content management system. It streamlines the process.
- Content management systems can be used by almost anyone to create new pages. Many clients who engage a website designer are experts in their own fields but may be unfamiliar with how to create content pages on the internet. Most content management systems include a simple interface called a WSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that will allow the client or one of their staff members to create pages without knowing how to code. This is a distinct advantage to the expense of having to use the services of a web administrator.
- Web maintenance costs can be cut drastically by creating new content in the office as opposed to paying an administrator or developer to update the site.
Developer Advantages to Content Management Systems
- Many content management systems will have pre-made appliances, widgets and plugins available that will streamline the process of development.
- Developers can design a site and often turn it over to the site owner with no further involvement.
- A site may be faster to develop using a content management system as they often have solutions to common problems coded into them.
Content Management Systems Cons
- Content management systems do require training and can be broken if used incorrectly. A site that has been carefully designed and created can actually be broken by improper use of a CMS.
- Content management systems require time to update. If your organization does not contain persons with extra time to devote to updating the site then a content management system may go unused and be unnecessary.
- If you do not already have a web perceptive, computer-oriented person on your team then extra training will be required to enable an employee to update it.
- Using the content management system like WordPress, Joomla! may hinder your ranking at search engines. Just think about it, why would a search engine reward your website if your code is same as million other websites?
- Popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla! are often targeted by spammers and hackers. Since just about anyone can download the code and look for loopholes, security issues are inevitable. Not to mention that popularity of these systems gives hackers an excellent incentive. Hackers know that many popular sites will be using these platforms. So open one door and others will open by themselves.
Disadvantages in Using a Content Management System for the Developer
- A content management system will use more server resources as opposed to a static page and this should be balanced.
- Cost inflation due to training expenses are not well liked by clients or by developers but training may be necessary in order to teach the client to use the system effectively.
- Poor text design is possible using a content management system. Designers work hard on fonts, and text to give a website certain feel and flow and business owners pay for that polished professional look. CMS editors can permit poor text design and ruin the design the business owner paid for.
As mentioned before the positives to using a content management system are equally balanced by the negatives and the business owner will need to consider both sides before making that decision.