Building your website and getting it right can be a challenge at the best of times, but when you are faced with the question if you should go with an open source CMS or customised CMS it can be hard to weigh it all up.
First of all, let’s be clear on what we are talking about here. CMS or rather content management system is the back end software used to build and update your website. You may have heard of open source content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal? These are all open CMS tools that can be installed and used by anyone with a little bit of know how. A customised CMS is well what is says it is ~ customised software.
So what can you do to make sure that you are going down the right path when you decide that it is time for your business to have a website?
The first thing that you will need to do is to decide upon what features you would like to have included on your website. Once you have this information it will be easier for you to weigh up your options. We have had a lot of experience in both open and custom content management systems and have provided some positives and negatives that we have encountered.
- Free or low budget option.
- Easy to use.
- Many premium tried and tested designs.
- LOADS of extra plugins that can make your website unique and to ensure that it has all of the functionality that you require.
- There are many specialists that can assist you to set up or maintain your website if you get stuck or simply don’t wish to work with your developer any longer.
- Design can easily be updated to keep your website looking fresh and keep your customers coming back.
- Easy to convert to mobile friendly website.
- Unique design tailored for your specific target market.
- Customised for your specific business needs.
- Harder for hackers to get in and mess up your content.
- No knowledge of HTML coding required. (I hear you asking HTML what?)
- You have complete copyright over your design.
- No reliance on “plugin” developers that may disappear in 12 months time.
- No worry if you need to integrate the website with your accounting software or payment gateways.
- Can easily be hacked without regular updates or easy to break usernames and passwords.
- Templated designs.
- Some coding knowledge may be required if you are designing it yourself.
- You may find other businesses have your same theme or layout.
- Some open source websites are more susceptible to SPAM comments.
- Templates can have limitations as to what you can do with it.
- You don’t have complete copyright over your design.
- Not as easily hacked.
- Because you are using someone’s customised content management system you will need to pay to ensure that it is updated regularly.
- Less manageable. This means you will need to contact your developer each time you want a major layout change.
- Can sometimes be difficult to understand how to use it.
- Can be expensive for you to have your developer maintain and update each time you need something changed.
- Because you are relying on the one-web developer lengthy time delays can occur.
- Costly exercise to have a mobile friendly website.
Whichever type of content management system you decide upon, remember to ensure that you ask as many questions to your developer as possible and check their recent designs and customer feedback. This will ensure that you will achieve the outcome that you require.