Your website is a crucial tool for your business. It allows people to find you (ahhh, the magic of seo), understand what you’re offering and gives you a platform to communicate with your audience. It is a space for you to share content, which in turn will allow your customers and potential customers to get to know you and your business.
Your business shifts, you have news, you have new offers, new team members and these are all important things that should be captured on your site. But alas, updating your site can be an overwhelming task, especially if you were sold a clunky platform with a proprietary back-end. Of course, your proprietary site is beautiful and dynamic and unique when the agency hands you the keys, but what do you do if that one person who knows how to dive leaves your company? This is where an open source CMS platform can be very beneficial. These platforms allow people with little-to-no experience to design and edit sites. The online support available is endless and it’s virtually impossible to make an unfixable mess of your site if you’re willing to learn a few new skills.
Of course, there are places where a proprietary system makes sense. If your website requirements go beyond what an open source CMS platform can offer, then by all means, pay that agency to develop a system that works for you. But many businesses will get approached by an agency and sold something that is well beyond their requirements and will leave them with a costly retainer to have someone external make updates for them.
OUR TOP 3 CHOICES FOR OPEN SOURCE CMS PLATFORMS
Squarespace is our go-to. It is a beautiful platform designed to fit your needs. Whether you’re starting a blog, running an e-commerce site or looking to showcase your offerings, this platform is for you.
- Moderately easy to use
- Beautiful templates
- Awesome support and tutorials
- Plenty of options for outside service integrations
- Mobile responsive (with no added effort!)
- Fairly priced
- Light SEO included
- Beyond the one-month trial, there are no free options
- Knowledge of basic HTML is ideal
- Can feel overwhelming for a first-time user
WordPress is another user-friendly CMS that we often use for client projects. It started as a blogging platform so it’s roots are based in allowing the user full control. It is one of the widest used CMS platforms which means there are plugins for virtually anything you could dream of. WordPress comes second on our list simply because it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the possibilities out there.
- Tons of built-in and third-party themes available
- Can be very user-friendly if you stick to the basics
- Thousands of free and inexpensive plugins available
- Mobile responsive
- Easily accessed CSS for customization
- Annoying updates. If you’re not paying attention you can miss a theme update and have a broken site on your hands
- Customization can be very pricey and difficult to maintain
- Slower load times
Wix has come a long way since it’s inception in 2007. It quickly became a popular choice for users and had 3.5 million people creating sites with it’s platform by 2010. And for good reason.
- Huge selection of designer templates
- Easy drag and drop builder
- Good support
- Free option!
- Great for total beginner
- Once you pick a template, you are stuck with it
- Definitely better for a smaller website
- Feels limiting if you have HTML and CSS knowledge
All that said, we know that even creating your own simple CMS-based site can be intimidating to the beginner. We have, on our growing list of offerings, the option to have one of our creatives design a site for you and ensure you’re comfortable and confident editing it on your own through training and post-launch support. Get in touch if you feel like you could use a little extra help on your shiny new CMS site!
by COURTENAY DAVIDSON