Content Management Systems (CMS)

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An Easy Option for Web Site Owners

Content management leaves the responsibility for most maintenance in the hands of the site owner - not the web professional.  There are many different types and many different uses for CMS and the popularity of these programs nowadays is incredible due to the blogging trends. Any time you can "do it yourself" and add something that brings visitors in and improves your "searchability" (better known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization), then it's worth a try.

Different Solutions: Different Results and Problems

The important thing to remember is that the wrong CMS can end up costing you incredible amounts of money and frustration. These are Open Source solutions, free and supported by communities of volunteers:

plus WordPress is a great blogging tool that's been around a long time and...
it can be used for your complete website and not just for blogging. There are many thousands of add-ons that can expand WordPress' basic capabilities. The down side is that too many or the wrong plugins can really bog down load time and create a variety of problems. Since it was intended to be only a blogging platform, using it for complicated web sites is probably not a good idea. My very first major WordPress site was a case of that - they should have chosen another platform to accomplish their goals. They ended paying a lot of money when it wasn't necessary.
plus Drupal is a better choice for that...
and was just selected for the Hall of Fame Award in the 2009 Open Source CMS Awards. That lifts Drupal into the same category as Joomla, the old standard. This "Best Open Source PHP CMS" is widely used by government and business. The tiered user administration makes this a great choice when you have need of a way to manage users and content.
plus Joomla is also widely used in that same circumstance...
but I've found its admin and configuration to be complicated and confusing. Both Drupal and Joomla have many add-ins and amazing configuration options.
plus Silverstripe is an upcoming player in this game -
one I'm extremely interested in. It was developed with a different mission in mind. It claims no restrictions on how the site looks and was written to aid in extending it. The visionary developers stress that it is deliberately simple.

Dasfenster MagazineDelia's CMS (DDcms)

Due to the complexity and learning curve involved with the larger systems, I decided early on to also look at the smaller cms. I ended up deciding to create my own and it really is simple! It's very user friendly and provides lots of features in a small package. There's more information about the page editor here and a full description of the cms here. The code is simple enough so that if I disappear, any competent php coder can support it as well.


Captavi's QixSuite™

Yeomans in the ForkA for-profit system, Captavi's QixSuite™ is a hosted option. In their words:

"Captavi QixSuite™, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) integrated suite of marketing Applications that allows companies to self-control their website content, manage and build contact profiles, execute personalized email marketing programs, and offer online event registration from one integrated platform."

I'm proud to have been a part of bringing QixSuite™ to the present version. I've acted as the CSS lead for over a year now and help to support the their clients as well.

Cost of Content Management Systems?

It can be cheaper than a static site to use a open source content management system - as long as you don't mind using free templates and doing the work yourself. It can also be cheaper to use one instead of having custom programming installed. But be careful - you can also pay just as much as custom programming. Planning and choosing the right solution is paramount. And, beware, you must keep abreast of your system's news - applying patches and upgrading when appropriate.