At Schweb Design, we’re familiar with various content management systems or CMS. A content management system allows us to create websites for you off existing platforms. This means we (and you) can publish, edit, delete, and modify content from one spot.
How Does a CMS Work?
In an over-simplication, when you get on the web and type in a URL, this information is sent through Internet to a server. The server creates an HTML page. This page is sent through the Internet back to your computer. Your browser shows you the page. A content management system is how the HTML code goes from the server into what you can see.
If you’re not technically adept, a CMS is great because it keeps your code and content separate. This means you make necessary content changes without wrecking your site. Plus, a CMS allows you to keep your content fresh which is a big plus for search engine optimization.
What Are the Big Names in CMS?
In the web development community, it’s easy to stir up the geeks over the pros and cons of each. But when the team has extensive experience in more than a dozen, the quirks of each system become apparent. We recognize there’s no perfect solution.
You may have heard names like Wordpress, Wix, Drupal, Joomla!, ExpressionEngine, Magento, WebGUI, eZPLatform, MODX, concrete5, Composr, SquareSpace, TextPattern, Radiant CMS, Cushy CMS, Silverstripe, Alfresco, or TYPOlight.
Most of our customers ask questions about Wordpress and Wix but we wished they’d also ask questions about Drupal.
What Content Management Systems Do Your Customers Want?
Hosting and storage aside, Wordpress offers a free option and has lots of plugins.
For those who don’t like the plugins that are available, developers can create plugins with WordPress API.
Wordpress initially started as a blog platform so if you want to integrate a blog on your site, Wordpress can be a smart way to go.
It can integrate e-commerce and Android Apps, and it’s backed behind a huge community of open source developers. It also has lots of custom coding options which our developers respect.
Uploading and editing content in Wordpress is simple and there are even plugins which help with SEO.
All in all, Wordpress offers a solid solution.
Our customers also ask about Wix.
Wix has done an amazing job marketing to their customers with the slant that they can create a professional website from available templates. The simple interface allows customers to drag and drop to create the look they want. Wix does so using HTML5 technology.
Wix is also great if you have no development experience at all. It’s simple to use which makes it appealing but … and there’s a big but … there’s nothing you can do to change the design. Each design comes from a template. If you don’t like the available choices, that’s too bad. You don’t have a workaround. This is a huge limitation from our perspective. You can’t change the template once you’ve picked it.
Also, when you make any changes to your main website, you need to know they won’t be automatically transferred to your mobile version.
Older website browsers such as Internet Explorer 8 can’t display Wix sites.
You can use Wix to blog, set up ecommerce, newsletters and membership services. You can also add hundreds of apps. Yes, there are free choices, but most likely you’ll be paying between $5 to $25 a month and won’t be getting any ads unless you go with the free plan.
Then there’s Drupal.
Drupal works well for companies that want an open source platform and an easy-to-use interface. It’s on par with Wordpress for pricing, and it works from small to large businesses. Companies like Popular Science, Harvard and Fast Company use it.
But there are many, many more.
Love reading The Economist? You're reading on a Drupal platform.
From a content standpoint, the taxonomy-based categorization makes it easy to update missing meta descriptions, and put in content efficiently.
Why We Like Drupal for CMS
According to Cameron Hess, web designer, developer, and owner at Schweb Design, LLC who has been working with websites for more than a decade said, “Drupal gives us flexible building blocks that we need to build an easy-to-update website for clients that is flexible for future changes.”
“Drupal is the best current solution in my opinion for many small-to-medium businesses, or even most large business websites,” said Jason Borden, BS, Information Systems and Technology, from Penn State University, who has been working with content management systems for more than a decade. “The reasons for that are Drupal Core is an extremely powerful data modeling system as well as a plugin (module) system to provide a lot of additional functionality quickly.”
“Data modeling allows us to structure the site around the content we're using for the site, rather than dumping everything into a single content field like Wordpress,” said Borden. “In Wordpress, while it is possible to create custom field and content types, it's a tacked-on feature that isn't well supported by plugins if at all. In Drupal, this is built-in, so all modules support it. This means we can create a structure that works for the specific customer.”
Drupal lets us customize the website for our client’s needs.
“Drupal offers the core features that the average website needs,” said Nathan Heffley, web developer at Schweb Design, who previously studied business administration at Millersville University. “We can use it to quickly create different types of pages and content and cut straight to creating the unique features of the site. It doesn't give the power to create radically unique sites with special features, but for most businesses the features that Drupal provides are exactly what they need."
"Drupal's plugins are also more modular. This allow for more customization in building the sites," said Borden. " Again, this lets us give our customers a solution tailored to their specific needs."
There is a downside, however.
“Drupal will never get you the fastest, most efficient site,” said Borden. “I don't think it's an appropriate tool for large-scale solutions like Facebook or Google, extremely custom projects and some other things, but it is the best optimization of cost, performance, and flexibility currently available.”
In the end, you’ll hear a lot of names when it comes to content management systems. In our experience, many of our customers who have no HTML experience, can easily log in to Drupal sites and make simple changes. When they get stuck, they email the team and we help them solve the problem.
The crew at Schweb Design, LLC has been vetted and must have the heart of a teacher to be part of the team.
We don’t just make the necessary fixes, we teach our customers how to make these edits, too so they feel empowered.
Many of our customers have been taught to update content, insert hyperlinks, name their content so it shows up in search engines and include URL aliases or slugs. They’re doing so in Drupal.
If you’re wondering which option is best for your business, contact us today.