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Content Management Forum

Advantages and Disadvantages of Switching from Static Site to a CMS

 4:49 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)


I have DIY website build by HTML coding for years. I heard quite a bit about Joomla and wonder what is the advantage of using Joomla
Anyone can highlight ?

[edited by: ergophobe at 9:38 pm (utc) on Jan. 13, 2010]



 9:44 pm on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld lmfoong!

There might be lots of advantages or none at all.


  • menu and other navigation updates automatically
  • ability to have visitors comment and otherwise interact
  • ability to have multiple writers and different access rules for different users
  • ability to reuse design components more easily and propagate changes sitewide.
  • ability to integrate search, though you can achieve much the same with google Custom Search.


  • more vulnerable and must keep up with security fixes
  • uses more server resources
  • more complex to run and manage.

    Hopefully other members will add their thoughts and elaborate on this.

    Now whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages depends a lot on your use scenario. If you have a very stable site that doesn't change much and is maintained by you personally, there might not be much to gain.

  • lammert

     11:53 am on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)


    • Once you are satisfied with the site structure you have created in Joomla, new pages can be added more easily than with a HTML coded site.
    • A number of add-ons are available to enhance your site


    • You will loose all your incoming link juice to internal pages if the Joomla URLs differ from your original URLs.
    • Your site will become a standard target for hackers


     12:09 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    For me the princiapal advantage for using a cms typically wordpress or jooomla, is the easy of adding funcionality via pluggins.

    Truth be told I have been thinking hard of going back to hard coded sites in php. Why, well this forum gets you to be quite focused on the quliaty of you code and semantic coding ...


     1:04 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    You won't lose your link juice if you setup proper redirects from your old structure to the new URL structure.

    Depending on the size of your site, a cms can make your life much easier. But if you only have a handful of pages, it may be over complicating things.


     2:47 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I would think using 301 redirects would take care of sustaining your link juice from the old site.


     2:49 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    if you are used to running a static HTML site, joomlas formatting and CSS is going to be a NIGHTMARE.

    I've actually left joomla and went back to hard coded sites, just saves me so much time not having to fiddle with some php or CSS to get everything looking right.


     5:02 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Why Joomla? It is quite a complex CMS, and if you do not need the functionality (if it is currently a static site you probably do not), you can use something simpler.

    I have two sites on Wolf CMS for example (one a long shot but small one of my own, and one I did for someone else) and it was very easy to set up. Wordpress is also easy to set up for anything newsy/chronologically ordered, ditto a number of wikis that can be used as CMSs simply by restricting editing to yourself.


     5:54 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    a while ago... back 05 i'm using static html page....
    searching the best cms that fit my need...
    now i'm using drupal cms.. as engin on my site...
    still look like static page and behave like static page...

    but have all the power and advantages of CMS...
    the best thing is... no need to make any url redirect... i still keep the old url(using drupal URL alias).

    not promoting any software... but you may need to try some drupal. best of luck


     9:18 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    - you can use plenty of ready-made templates/layouts - this becomes handy if website design is a challenge.

    - security, vulnerability - and this single con keeps me away from using CMS.


     10:37 pm on Jan 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Disadvantage: multiple infinite Duplicate Content issues built in to almost every CMS on the planet.


     1:56 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I've used Joomla, switched to Drupal - partly as thought there was better understanding re actual websites.
    Not seeing duplicate content issues ("multiple infinite" type coming from, say, having numbers slapped onto URLs?); there's a module to help reduce these.
    It does run some major sites.

    So, Imfoong - maybe give a cms or two a try; it's possible to run test install on your own computer (you can visit with browser, but no one else sees results).
    See how install process goes; can you structure a site, add content?
    As to retaining URLs: as well as using redirects, you can structure cms site so the auto-generated "friendly" type URLs for your articles are the same as before the transition.
    [I see Drupal has Import HTML module for importing a static site; haven't used it, don't know if it helps with URLs.]

    If you don't want "Web 2.0" functionality - visitor comments, perhaps voting and so on, a cms may be overkill.


     2:05 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I don't want to veer too much off-topic, but have you considered a simpler CMS instead? Joomla is a complex one to master.

    Personally, I use textpattern for my content sites. It's lean (compared to its 'classmates' like wordpress), mean (you have unlimited control over your CSS and HTML for example) and overall just gets the job done extremely well. It takes some time getting used to, but since I got the hang of it, I have been able to set up 100% custom sites in a matter of an hour (excluding design and content ofcourse).


     4:28 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I've kicked this debate around in my head for years now and the only solid advantage I can come up with for using a CMS like Joomla over a static site is that with the CMS you can lower your standards for finding someone to manage day-to-day operations for you.

    To manage a static site effectively, you need to have a good understanding of the operating system from a perspective other than an average desktop user. Something that might take a user with intimate knowledge of sed 20 minutes to accomplish can take hours or even days for an average user to do by hand.

    However with a CMS, you can setup a generic installation of the CMS and just about anyone can educate themselves about how to use it effectively over the course of a weekend.


     7:39 am on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I'll second Johnnie, recommending Textpattern as a CMS.

    I didn't find Joomla to be very intuitive, whereas Textpattern is quite clear. Joomla is complex, as is Drupal, you don't need that for converting a static HTML site. You don't need to know PHP for Textpattern, it uses its own, well-documented, XML style tags for inserting content, menus, and such, into templates.


     12:39 pm on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    - 10 in short run
    - 100+ in long run

    - 10 in short run
    - 2 to 3 in long run

    Not using a CMS can often be too safe to play and being too safe is too risky for business (in my experience).


     2:55 pm on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I've basically always looked upon this to be a short term vs long term gain too.

    A good CMS (I use Drupal having previously tried Wordpress and Joomla) can make it much easier to manage functions I like to use like blogging.

    Many of the websites I write are for other people and I found very quickly that other people are quite demanding. Giving them the tools to do their own work and suddenly they are not so demanding anymore.

    It does take more to administrate but Wordpress and Drupal are fairly admin friendly. Constant updates and patching can get a little techie though.

    I can now set up a CMS in probably only an hour or so more than it would take to produce in HTML. That one hour at the beginning have saved me thousands in the long run.


     5:53 pm on Jan 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I've never used Joomla. I've been resistant to using CMS for years, but now I'm migrating several static sites to MODx and I highly recommend it -- it's open source, easy to use, flexible, modularizes code well, and has a good community.

    The primary advantage of CMS in general is that it makes it easier to add content, particularly for people other than the webmaster to add content. The advantage of generating more content faster outweighs any disadvantages IMO.


     3:48 pm on Jan 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

    dont underestimate the security aspect of running a cms. you must update as soon as patches/new versions are released. this can be time consuming if you have a lot of plugins/customisations.


     12:35 am on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Try Cushy CMS. Its FTP based so all your URL's remain the same but it is very easy to use and update pages. Its not a FULL CMS, where it won't create pages for you but I find it very easy for my customers to use and its VERY SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY.


     2:39 am on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Well, Imfoong - various answers here, but you've been quiet.

    With open source cms, seems to me you might find core project is developed pretty well.
    But with add-ons - some of which are extremely useful - can be somewhat whimsical: a module, say, might appear as creator gets all enthusiastic about it, then receive only few updates or become abandonware.
    You can be on cusp of progress, then! - can even help with developments, perhaps "just" through documentation. Yet some frustration is likely.

    cms not good, then, if you're set in your ways


     4:06 am on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    @freejung, Modx is very flexible, and has nice feature like built in caching, but it is too complex.

    I have a Modx site, and I now think it would have been better to build a custom CMS using a framework like Django.

    If you do not need that flexibility, then use something simpler.

    But with add-ons - some of which are extremely useful - can be somewhat whimsical: a module, say, might appear as creator gets all enthusiastic about it, then receive only few updates or become abandonware.

    The really useful ones get forked and continued.

    That said, you may well be able to find a CMS that matches you needs closely out of the box, minimising your dependence on extensions/plugins.

    [edited by: ergophobe at 6:43 am (utc) on Jan. 20, 2010]
    [edit reason] quote tag fixed [/edit]


     6:49 am on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)


    You raise a good point - most of us are equating CMS with "ready-made CMS", but in fact the first few that I used were simple ones I built myself and though limited in terms of functionality, they were blazing fast and did exactly what I wanted, and nothing more (now I usually use ready-made ones, but that's a choice to put my time into creating content rather than coding).

    If you have complex needs and find a CMS that has all the features built-in that would require plug-ins in some other CMS, it almost certainly has many many features built in that you don't want too, so you're back to the out-of-the-box verus Django (or Kohana or Cake or whatever).


     7:29 am on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Another advantage that came to mind as a result of another thread [webmasterworld.com]: much easier to generate RSS feeds for your regular readers. Since your content is usually already divided into page title, date, main content, etc, in the database, you can pull out an RSS feed.


     3:47 pm on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    Something else to think about that doesn't get mentioned very often: your exit strategy. If at some point you plan on selling the website, you can put off potential buyers if it is not intuitive and relatively simple for them to run (depending on their level of knowledge). A CMS can make it more attractive for them to run the site and add content though some CMS are more intuitive than others. I include a document outlining the procedures I use to run the site and a list of public resources with each website sale. This document is very similar from site to site using the same CMS and it is usually well received.


     8:58 pm on Jan 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I would echo what others have said above: Joomla is a pretty complex CMS, and if you're going from a hand-coded site straight to Joomla, it's going to be an incredibly steep learning curve. Back in '05, I went from hand-coding to WordPress, and have since pretty much "mastered" it, producing some very complex sites.

    Last year I thought I'd give Joomla a try for a new site and it was still too much of a leap for me personally. The advantage that WordPress gave me (for non-blog, non-chronological websites, mind you) was that it was scalable in complexity-- I could start at a low level and work my way up. With Joomla it just felt like there was only one complexity setting: high, and it just didn't seem very intuitive for a newbie. Anyway, that's just been my experience, yours might be different if you give Joomla a try.


     10:58 am on Jan 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I may have missed it above, but I haven't noticed anyone mention the biggest potential nightmare of a CMS. And that is the developer/s either stopping developing the CMS or, perhaps worse, becoming sloppy about updates.

    This can leave a website in limbo. Especially if the CMS is an all encompassing blog, comment, directory, guestbook, forum tool.

    One of my sites was all of the above and I'm glad that I used different CMS tools for each element. After several years of running the site, I have gradually stripped out the CMS functions and gone back to static HTML. Best thing I ever did.

    I no longer worry about PHP errors, script security updates, developer forced software upgrades requiring a whole new skin design, and various unforeseen SEO url issues/duplication and so on.

    OK, forums can't be done statically, but pretty much all of the major forum programmes seem to have import filters now. So if the worst comes to the worst, a crossgrade may be called for. But for anything else, unless I plan to start adding 5 articles a day, I'll be happy if I never see another CMS again.


     3:15 pm on Jan 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

    With Joomla it just felt like there was only one complexity setting: high, and it just didn't seem very intuitive for a newbie. Anyway, that's just been my experience, yours might be different if you give Joomla a try.

    I agree 100% , i never looked at php before i started using joomla. After that it was learning php by FIRE! and lots of sloppy CSS that comes with each theme. Used it alot for a year, i'll never touch it again and im migrating every site i ever used joomla with back to static HTML.

    I have the same feeling about drupel too.


     5:40 am on Jan 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

    I migrated a large static site to Mambo/Joomla around 2005 or so. I can attest to pretty much all of the pluses and minuses. Drupal, WordPress and one other cms whose name escapes me were among the finalists.

    Nothing replaced prototyping my website with the different cms's and the critical add-ins. My website (an all-volunteer nonprofit) needed a certain type of organization and presentation that I was best able to achieve with Joomla at the time.

    While I hoped that the website would gain multiple contributors I learned two other lessons: 1) I sometimes still wanted complex articles that I used Dreamweaver for; 2) I never got anyone else to contribute articles until I stopped.

    I am still happy that I moved this site to Joomla. It took a lot of work but this site needed the interactivity, rss feed, etc. But, I would not consider it for a simple site. I will investigate some of the suggestions from other responders.

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