I've been producing websites for over seven years now. I have used several kinds of content management systems on various sites. I've also done simple PHP templated sites and just plain old HTML pages.
I am about to embark on a big site adventure again. An informational resource alongside a forum. The forum part is easy - Vbulletin is what I know and like. I do wonder about the content part of the site and would appreciate some input here :)
For the site, I just need a unified look and to display articles in a clear structure.
I am reluctant to go with a big CMS a la Joomla. I have worked a lot with Joomla in its previous reincarnation (Mambo). Lots of nice widgets, but an overkill for what I actually need for a site. It ended up being quite slow to use. The main problem though was constant hacking whenever a new vulnerability had been discovered. I don't have the time or the attention span to track security issues and patch up the system every few weeks. I want something safe, secure and solid that doesn't need updating.
I have the option to use a custom made CMS. It was written for me for another site by a trusted coder. It's solid and has proved its worth on my biggest site for several years now. It's simple and does just what I need, but has no flexibility when it comes to actual site structure. It also lacks some SEO features which I would like to include. Yes, simple and fast, but at some cost.
Then it occurred to me. Why not just use simple coded pages? Why not use simple old PHP includes (either directly in PHP pages, or in html pages that go through the PHP parser)? Have the header, footer and menus as includes and be done with it. Very tempting atm, since this is all I need really. The only reason I don't go that way right away is the fact that everyone else seems to be using a CMS for big sites...