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Content Management for Clients

6:35 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello all! I am a fairly new web designer, and I am used to hand-coding custom sites and maintaining the content by directly editing the code through Dreamweaver or a text editor. However, I have had several clients express that they would like to update their sites on their own and avoid having to pay for maintenance. My most recent example is a client that has 60+ page website, and he would like the ability to change the content and add new pages etc.

What CMS would be best for a client who wants to be able to make substantial changes to the site on his own, but has no understanding of code or web design? I have come across numerous options such as Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Contribute and others, but I am having a difficult time knowing which one would be best to use in the long run. Any suggestions? I would appreciate some feedback from those who have experience in using different content management options.

Thank you so much for your help!
6:59 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Personally I'd recommend against using MS Frontpage or Adobe Contribute. They are development applications that provide the ability to make and create pages locally then upload to the web server. Better to use an on-server application IMHO.

I tend to lean toward WordPress for customers making the jump into CMS systems for many reasons. It's a good introductory platform to get comfortable with.
7:22 pm on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the quick reply! Excuse my ignorance, but what is the advantage to using an on-server application?
11:18 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Frontpage was actually discontinued in 2006.
11:54 am on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The advantage is you don't have to deal with FTP and the issues of revisions - especially if more than one person will be working on the site. Everything you need is on the server and when you do need to FTP something - the interface is part of the application which not only uploads the image or PDF, but allows you to put it into a library/gallery where it can be labeled and organized.
12:43 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'm not going to recommend a particular CMS but rather some peripheral considerations to take into account. I throw these things into the fray because you mentioned that you are fairly new to web design and therefore may not be aware of the full implications of applying CMS solutions. Also if your client's sole reason for wanting a CMS is to save maintenance costs they may potentially pay more in terms credibility costs in the long run if there site gets hacked and injected with nastiness -- a very common occurrence with sites running on CMS platforms. Hacked sites, if they go undetected for an extended period of time, will likely get de-indexed form SERPs -- out-of-business for a while. The process of communicating with search engine people afterward to request re-inclusion after the hacked site gets cleaned up can be a PITA and an additional tech support cost if the client cannot do it themselves.

These are just a few highlights:
1) - The more popular the CMS is the more highly targeted it is to hacking exploits.
2) - Will your client be responsible for updating the CMS package themselves to ensure they have the most up-to-date security patches? If not they will have to pay someone technical support to help them -- additional cost.
3) - Many CMS platforms are really bloated with code and can greatly affect site performance -- not credible in the eyes of search engines.

Hand-coding custom sites and maintaining content by directly editing code through Dreamweaver or a text editor as you do is a better alternative, IMO. But really it depends on your workload and the frequency of updates the client is going to require. I try to educate clients who want CMS control for many reasons. For me it's mainly because their post-development changes will break my SEO efforts but also for server security reasons. If you are able to explain the potential long-term consequences of using a CMS they may re-consider your maintenance offer as not-so-bad after all. And finally, if a client insists on using a CMS -- the site is not going to be hosted on my server.
5:37 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I don't see why using static content has an advantage. A CMS provides dynamic content and gives significant advantages to the site owner to manage content.

However there are issues with the popular packages some mentioned in this thread because they lack security, at the end becomes abuse platforms as users have absolutely no clue what's going on underneath. The majority is simply attracted by a theme/template not internals.

There are CMS they can support any type of links and maintain the SEO during content transition from another type of site at 100%.

Since someone mentioned earlier WP or Joomla, take only the URL poisoning and is enough to detriment the SEO of any WP or Joomla site by exposing effectively duplicated URLs to spiders. For some this is bad for others advantageous.
12:54 am on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for contributing! The information has been very helpful.

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