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use a CMS or not?

does it make sense to use a CMS for this website?



11:42 pm on Apr 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have been reading some posts on this forum about CMS. The different types, pro, contra's and different opinions about whether or not using a CMS. I was hoping I could find an answer to the question I have: is it wise to switch to CMS (and if so, which one?) for the website I work on?
So many different opinions, I have no idea what would be wise to do in this particular case.

As a volunteer I made a website for a museum. At the moment it has about 40 pages, some with only little content. I think 10-20 pages will be added in the near future. All static pages.
Next to this there are a few items on the wish list:
- translate the site into English and German and make it able for visitors to choose their language
- add the possibility for visitors to give a review on their visit
- add a search option
Maybe, on the longer term, it might be necessary to implement the possibility to buy tickets online.

Up to now I just needed html/css to make the pages, but obviously this will not be sufficient for these "wishes". I know a very little bit of PHP, but that's where it ends at this moment. However, I like learning, better said I need learning, but the question is what's most wise to learn.

Since the museum works with volunteers only and I have no idea how long I will stay there, it might be wise to make the website easier to maintain. If a CMS is the solution for this, I don't know. Like said before, I read so many different opinions. Some people tried CMS and never want to go back there. Some people are happy with Wordpress, others with Drupal or Joomla. Person A says Drupal is complex, person B says it's not so difficult. I really don't know what would be best.


11:45 pm on Apr 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It sounds like a CMS would be more suitable than a blog, but have you considered using a Wiki format?

MediaWiki is the most popular, but the rival DokuWiki runs off flat files and doesn't even need a database!


2:25 am on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

A wiki format? Well, I don't know.
I might have the wrong impression, but thinking of a wiki I see all kind of people adding information to a website, posting on threads, that kind of things.
The main part of the website is meant to give information. Thinking of the possiblity to add a review of your visit, I think of an amazon-like experience, which is not wiki-like. I might have a wrong idea though of what MediaWiki and DokuWiki are meant for.
When the word CMS was dropped my first reaction was "no", because I thought I would end up with having no control at all on the lay-out and there would be no more for me to do then adding text. Based on an experience with a bad-working CMS, as a user.


10:45 pm on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I see all kind of people adding information to a website

You can control the access, so not everybody could edit the content.

As for the rest, you can have control of the layout on all major and common cms systems. You could do both with Drupal and Wordpress.


8:09 am on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for you reply. You mention Drupal and Wordpress. About Wordpress I read it is a good choice when you're dealing with a social-network. Since the only interaction is the review page, all other pages are informative, I'd say Drupal would be a good one, but what about the complexity? Maybe I must just try and see what's like. In the end it's a relative, what one person considers to be complex, someone else might experience differently.


5:25 pm on Jun 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have the same puzzle, which format did you decide on? My site will be 50% hard facts about financial matters, that the lay-person should not edit, and 50% articles that are financial news oriented.

The goal of the website is to become an authority website in its niche that is slightly monetized. Objective financial advice is the primary goal.


10:08 pm on Jun 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have postponed the decision as things became a bit more complicated. Not just the website is involved, but a webshop has to be started also. I'm in the middle of choosing a webshop now. The wish is a CMS-based shop and I'm still thinking of Drupal. The shop would be Ubercart in that case.
The point is that it's bad timing to start an unfamiliar CMS and an unfamiliar webshop. It's a matter of priorities.
I probably will postpone the whole CMS-operation and take osCommerce as a webshop, since I'm familiar with that one. It means my time-investment in osCommerce will eventually be lost, but given the circumstances it seems to be the best decision.


1:05 am on Jun 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well if you are new then go with wordpress. As far as the web shop goes there is nothing stopping you from installing oscommerce in a sub director like /shop. Nothing at all.


8:47 am on Jun 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know I can connect any website to osCommerce, but that's not what I have in mind. It's either with or without a CMS for both of them (site and shop). Surfing told me there's a shop based on Wordpress as well, called Shopp. As far as I can judge it's no open source program, but not that expensive either.

What I'd like to know is what makes you suggest Wordpress and not Drupal or Joomla?


4:08 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

Food for thought: 95% of the clients I build sites for **demand** a CMS.

Of those, 95% of them email me to update their site. They never really use it.

If you have multiple users that have no technical experience, it's probably a good idea. If it's just you and you have the skills to maintain the site, don't bother.

- CMS's have vulnerabilities and are often hacked. This is really the #1 reason to avoid a CMS unless you need to use it, another potential hole in security. Static files can't be hacked (if your FTP and server are reasonably nailed tight.)

- Many times you will spend much more time figuring out how to get chunks into a CMS in some useful way that can take hours to figure out, but you could have it coded static in five minutes.

- CMS's are all about templating and automation, which often gets in the way of unique instances. Just the other day we had to revise an entire method because a single instance of a templated set of pages required one unique instance. I mean literally, one subheading had to change - this requirement was not in the original setup of the CMS. It took three hours to make this happen (to get it "editable" in the CMS.) For one word.

- SEO-happy - usually you can tweak a CMS to be SEO compatible, but often there are compromises. I haven't encountered any I couldn't solve, but can see how many wouldn't be able to. It's often a struggle.

- Bloat - there's no way any CMS driven site can load faster than a static page. I'm just not convinced.

- Long term costs vs. short term costs - Weigh in the frequency with which the site is updated and that cost over time versus the cost of implementing a CMS, making it work as well as the static pages, and whether that investment will balance out over time against maintenance costs. If you actually put this on record, many times it's cheaper for the client (or you as developer) to avoid the CMS.

Not po-ing CMS's . . . these are just some factors to consider when making the call. I use them every day, of many different brands and flavors, just most of the sites I use them on don't need it.


4:24 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I had a potential client the other day that I was trying to emphasis this to -- what rocknbil is saying. I know you've mentioned these points before but this time I'm flagging it for future reference so I can easily find it and direct someone to it for reading because it's so true.

The potential client thanked me for my "helpful concern" but moved on to the next developer on the list. In the end it's going to potentially cost them more in the form of intangibles when they get hacked and loss-of-trust develops with search engines. Not to mention the maintenance fees when they realize they actually cannot update it themselves because it is indeed too technical.


3:16 pm on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

... but moved on to the next developer on the list.

LOL . . . "I know what I know, and I want what I want."


3:40 pm on Jul 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you haven't used a CMS before and are comfortable with the setup you've got going, I'd recommend sticking with that. CMS's do have a huge number of advantages if you select the right one for the project, know how to set it up and use it, etc. But the learning curve for migrating an existing site over yourself probably isn't worth it


5:13 pm on Aug 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

its totally up to you and your expertise about CMS so then only so should use it other wise do it simple what you are doing .


5:15 pm on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

it need to do with lot of home work before selecting or not any CMS due to many factors like quantity of contents, type of contents , frequency of updates, so once you will review all these you will come to know the results hopefully



11:40 pm on Aug 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess it's time for me to react on the helpful posts you made. The decision to use or use not a cms has been postponed. I work on the website as a volunteer and due to a few events I'm not sure whether I will continue to do my work on that particular site.
The very nature of the organisation, there is only one person on the payroll who knows hardly anything about the most trivial use of a computer, combined with the wish to make it a website in three different languages lead to the question whether or not to change to a cms and if so, what cms?
It's easier to find a volunteer to maintain a website by using a cms than it is to find someone to do it by using html and css. Apart from that it was recommended to me that if the step was made to a trilingual website it would be better to change to a cms at that point.
I must say I loved to read the disadvantages, because I'm quite content the way things are working now, so as far as my personal interest is concerned, I'd leave things the way they are. Nevertheless, I feel a responsibility towards the organisation I work for. In the end I want to do what's best for them. Even if the question is not actual at this moment, I keep being interested in your input. If the outcome is I quit my volunteersjob, I will end up at an other company making websites and might be confronted with the same problem. Apart from that it is of course useful for other visitors of this topic to read the comments you posted.

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