August 11, 2009
Content management systems are quickly becoming a necessity for medium-sized and large businesses. Small businesses with basic websites can still get away with paying for maintenance, but larger companies need more maintenance and need to rely on employees, such as office managers, secretaries and receptionists to do some of the basic maintenance. They also need to be able to strictly enforce website standards among all their sites and pages on those sites. The easier way to do that is to use templates within a content management system because a good cms will not allow basic users to change the websites look and feel (the templates), but it will allow them to update the content.
Some of the content management systems you may have heard about are Drupal, Geeklog, Joomla 1.5, Mambo, PHP-Nuke, phpWCMS, phpWebSite, Siteframe, TYPO3, Xoops and Zikula. Those content management systems are open source, so they are free to use if you know how to install and customize them.
Evaluating Content Management Systems
These points will help you evaluate cms and decide which one is right for your business.
In our opinion, this is the most important factor in deciding between content management systems. Not all open source applications are widely used or supported. Is there are website for the cms? Does it contain a knowledge base and support forums? Is the support up-to-date? Are their new releases and bug fixes made available to the public on a regular basis?
2. Add-on, Plugins and/or Modules
What kind of extensions are available for the cms? If it doesn’t come with all the features you need, will it be easy to upgrade in the future without having to hire a programmer to custom code changes to the software?
3. How widely used and accepted is the software?
Are there tons of articles when you search google for that cms or are articles on the cms “few and far between”? If not a lot of people are using the cms, there is either one of two reasons – either the system is so new you might want to wait for others to test it and for some of the early bugs to be worked out or no one is using it for a good reason – either it has a lot of bugs, it doesn’t have great support or there are just better cms out there.
4. How often are the same old bugs being found without any real solutions?
For example, our experience with php-nuke is that when it has errors in the code it produces blank pages because the code simply stop without finishing loading. Php-nuke 8.1 is the newest release and it’s still producing blank pages without good error messages to tell you what the underlying issues might be. Do your research or have your web developer do it for you. There are loads of articles in google about blank pages in php-nuke. Php-nuke also seems to have sketchy support, so it is not our cms of choice and not the one we recommend to customers.
5. Have security issues been reported?
Do your research or ask your web developer about reported security issues? The last thing you want is a cms that isn’t secure or has security holes. If there is a specific security hole in a piece of software and there is no patch to fix it, your web developer more than likely can not fix it and having an SSL certificate will not fix it either.
For our money, Joomla, Drupal and Zikula have the best support, a huge variety of great extensions and are the easiest to use, but do your own research and follow the advise of your web developer.
Acclaimed Web Development & Online Marketing offers all of these content management systems, as well as, custom-designed content management systems that are offered to larger businesses with a bigger budget and special business needs. Contact us for a free presentation!
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