Many people are put off the idea of building a new website for the business (or updating their existing one), simply because they don’t understand the language and jargon used by developers. This is a great shame as for many potential customers, their first point of contact with a business is via their website. Without a modern, engaging design, you will struggle to make your mark in the ultra-competitive digital landscape.
What is a CMS?
A CMS is a type of software that simplifies the process of building a website. CMS stands for ‘content management system’ and the platform is used by many professional developers to create modern, engaging websites.
To really understand the capabilities of a CMS platform, you have to first get a handle on the process of building a website from scratch.
Web developers use a specific language to create websites. This language is known as a ‘code’. There are several different types of code that work hand in hand to build a site.
Is this sounding all a bit too complicated? Well, fortunately, a CMS platform takes care of most of this for you, enabling you to build a website with limited coding knowledge.
However, it’s not just tech-newbies who make use of this technology. Web developers often use CMS platforms as they offer a secure, convenient starting point from which to design a new site.
A CMS is made up of two different components — a content management application (CMA) and a content delivery application (CDA). This two software combine to take care of all the technical aspects of web development, enabling you to focus on building a website that reflects your business, brand, products and services. Most CMS platforms offer users an intuitive interface to create and require limited coding knowledge to operate.
Open-source vs proprietary software
CMS platforms can be divided into two broad categories — open-source and proprietary.
These terms refer to who owns the software. It can be used to describe CMS platforms but also many other types of applications. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two.
Proprietary software is software that is owned by a specific individual or group. In the case of a CMS, a proprietary CMS is one that legally belongs to the organisation or individual who developed it.
This being the case, the owner does not release the source code of the CMS to the general public. They hold the licensing rights and have complete control over all aspects of the software. As a result, proprietary CMS platforms often come at a hefty price tag. However, you can expect high levels of customer support in return.
Popular proprietary CMS platforms include Kentico and SiteCore.
An easy way of explaining open-source software is that it is the exact opposite to proprietary. An open-source CMS is one that has been collaboratively developed by the public and is therefore not owned by any one person.
Anyone can add to or modify the code of open-source software and popular open-source CMS platforms often have a large community of developers behind them. They are also usually free to download and use, the trade off being the possibility of bugs and vulnerabilities in the source code.
Popular open-source CMS platforms include Drupal and WordPress.
Your open-source CMS options
There is no one ‘best’ CMS platform or software type. In reality, your choice of CMS should come down to your developing needs and budget.
However, many developers prefer to work with open-source CMS software, for a range of reasons.
Open-source CMS platforms tend to be updated on a frequent basis, due to the large number of developers working on them. These developers tend to be closely linked to the community of users and so can respond quickly if bugs and issues arise.
Many open-source CMS platforms are completely free to download. If you are building a very simple website, it is unlikely that you will need to invest much money into your creation. If, on the other hand, you are looking to load up your site with extra plugins, you may need to sit down and work out a budget.
Finally, open-source platforms are extremely flexible. If you have the coding skills, you can effectively create any website you desire using the basic tools that are made available to you.
If you are building a website and believe that open-source may be the solution for you, make sure you research the various open-source platforms that are out there. Two of the most popular, as previously mentioned, are Drupal and WordPress.
If you like the idea of an open-source platform but are not confident that you have the skills to build the website yourself, why not contact a professional WordPress or Drupal developer in Melbourne? With their skills and knowledge of open-source software, you will have the website of your dreams in no time.