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Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems (CMS) rule the web. There are so many different variations of CMS and how you choose can set the tone not only for your website but for the workflows and abilities of your staff.
Here is what you need to know about some of the most common CMS platforms out there.
Free vs. Paid
In terms of a CMS, free really can mean free. WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke, and Umbraco are some of the most popular out there, and I am sure you have heard of at least one of them. Just because it is free does not make it better or worse than a paid version. Free CMS platforms are supported by a community of developers who want to put their work out there for others. Most platforms are open source and governed under the MIT License. What makes this great for you is that if it doesn't quite do what you want it to, it is open source and can be modified to make it work for you and not the other way around.
It is everywhere; go to three websites right now, it is a good bet one of the three is a WordPress site. WordPress makes up for almost 33% of all the websites out there? Why? It is easy. You can set up a site, pick a template, change a color, add your logo, your content, and you are done!
Drupal is quite a powerhouse, but it is often overlooked by those unfamiliar with it. Over 150 federal websites use Drupal, NASA, WhiteHouse.gov, and the TSA. They do this because the security is easy to maintain, users can easily change what they need to without some admin permission you didn't want them to have, and it is so flexible it can handle mass volumes of data and integrations.
DNN is an amazing tool. It has many features, many plugs in, and even premium support through their corporation. What makes DNN different is the .Net based system. .Net is Microsoft, which is a name everyone recognizes as enterprise software. DNN is enterprise software that is great to integrate, customize, and extend into almost anything you need without requiring the cost of paying for the overhead security, page management, or content management.
Paid platforms have many benefits over the open source ones if you are willing to pay for them. Many times a CMS will get you 95% of the way to completion for your website, but it requires that little kick by a developer to get it to 110%. Paid platforms are great when it fits your business model right from the start and doesn't need customization, or it comes as an add on to one of your already existing business systems.
Paid platforms mean it is not a community, there is a dedicated team you can call who knows this product upside down and backward, and it means they have an absolute vested interest in seeing your site succeed. Also, paid systems are usually more secure as they have not published how it all works. I won't spend much more time on paid systems, Sitecore, Sitefinity, Kentico are some of our favorite and are all worth checking out if you have the budget for them.
If you have the budget and desire, check out the for-pay versions. If you want something a little more flexible and unique like your business, check out my in-depth on each of the open source systems that are our favorite and proven to succeed. WordPress, Drupal, and DotNetNuke.