How To Pick Your Content Management System.

This document will outline the problem statement in the security, yet practicality of a content management system. (CMS) This document will demonstrate the four best products, what they provide, and their drawbacks. This document will also contain information regarding the protection of data and the website itself, the learning curve that comes with product usage, and the customization of the website through each product. The four products that will be reviewed in the order as listed:

  • Wordpress
  • Drupal
  • Quicksilk
  • Static HTML page

The selection of the third and fourth product was to provide a third party comparison and option to the first two products, should they not be fit to use.

Meanwhile, let’s begin with defining a CMS. Content Management Systems is a simpler way to host and build websites. Traditionally, to host a website one would need to write a static HTML file and upload it to your server. A CMS has two core parts. The first being, a content management application, or CMA. This is the part that allows you to add and manage the content on the site you are building. The second core piece is the content delivery application, or the CDA. This is the backend or “behind the scenes” process that takes all the content you input in the CMA and stores it as well as makes it visible to your site visitors. These two systems simplify maintaining a website.

Problem Statement

The company is looking to implement a CMS and has already noted a few systems that can be used to achieve this. The company wants a recommendation on what choice to make and what the benefits of this choice would be.

Stakeholders and Stakeholders Requirements

  • Theme styling
  • Avalible themes for low to no cost.
  • Difficulty of development
  • The ease of creating and maintaining the website
  • Security
  • The security risks that come with using each platform
  • Learning curve
  • The difficulty or ease of use, setup time, and the availability of community or general support.
  • Costs
  • How much upfront costs would be and the costs to maintain the CMS.

Recommendation

Much thought has gone into researching and picking out a CMS that would function best for this company, however, there will first be a small presentation and introduction with the positives and negatives of each CMS. Following that there will be a discussion before finally a recommendation is provided.

Wordpress

Wordpress is one of the world's most popular content management systems. It’s popular because of it being open source, highly customizable, and a large community working to support and improve Wordpress each day. Wordpress also has 37.6% market share. Using Wordpress has several benefits such as:

  • A gentle learning curve, perfect for beginners.
  • Free, if no premium features are added.
  • 5,000+ free themes
  • 53,000+ free plugins for site customization
  • Total site ownership
  • Migration available
  • Site backups available.
  • SEO is better, and is recommended by Google for this purpose.
  • More functionality for the developer.

  • Wordpress also has several drawbacks however. Due to the extensive reach Wordpress has, and community developed plugins its rated terribly for security measures, and if you are not constantly maintaining and updating your Wordpress website, you face issues with security from a plugin being out of date, or the constant threat of developing 0days and other threat forms that could come from using these third party options. Not to mention, that Wordpress generally does not maintain the site, and therefore it falls upon the developers duties to constantly work on maintenance and updating their Wordpress website. An issue that occurs occasionally, is also that updates to the site may break site functionality and lead to loss of visitors, or business


    Drupal

    The second option, Drupal is much older than its rival, Wordpress. It is a framework written in PHP. 1.6% of all websites run on Drupal.Compared to Wordpress, Drupal only has 2.6% market shares. It has many positives to it, but also a few drawbacks that might not make it so glamorous for a growing business with little resources to divert to a web developer.

    • Open Source
    • Strong community
    • Relatively easy to use
    • 2,500+ themes
    • 39,000+ modules (plugins)
    • Better at organizing large amounts of data/content
    • Technically more secure.
    • SEO built in.
    • May save you money in the long run.

    • It also has a few more drawbacks compared to the others. It is more expensive to begin. It is complex, and has a steeper learning curve, and thus is better for more experienced developers. Themes customization also requires custom development, which can be tricky for a company with little experience in web development.


      Quicksilk

      Was compared not only with Wordpress, and Drupal, but also compared to Joomla, and SquareSpace as well. Research was limited as it is a less popular option, but based on reviews, community sources, and videos, an accurate list of benefits and drawbacks was created. Benefits include:

      • Better security, almost unrivaled.
      • Unlimited support from the developers and company service alike.
      • It is a cloud-based* software as a service (SaaS)
      • Online training is provided
      • Drag and drop interface
      • Hosting is taken care of by Quicksilk
      • eCommerce/Membership/Event options
      • The learning curve isn’t steep.
      • Software Development Kit (SDK) and Application Programming Interface (API) are available.

      • *Cloud based refers to apps, services and resources made available to users on demand via a web browser from a cloud computing providers server


        There are a few drawbacks that need to be mentioned though, when talking about Quicksilk. First and foremost, it is a closed source application, which means that it has a small community with it, and little development from outside sources such as everyday users. It is also subscription based, and priced quite high, the lowest being 149 USD a month. However, considering these drawbacks in mind, it rivals Wordpress in almost every way, if you take out the cost factor.


        Static HTML Page

        A static HTML page is NOT a CMS. This option is included for a few very good reasons. This option might actually be one of the best options due to all of the criteria presented, it could very easily meet, or even succeed at the standards of what the company is looking for. Let’s begin by listing the benefits:

        • It has very little maintenance.
        • What you see is what you get.
        • It's all front end.
        • Your site is up and running once the HTML is completed. Your site and all its beauty sits in its finished form with nothing running in the background.
        • No database required.
        • Perfect for startup and small companies
        • Strong security.
        • There’s no external sources, therefore less security risks, and it requires decent knowledge to break.
        • It's quick loading.
        • Lightweight, and mostly bug-free.
        • You can create the HTML yourself, hire a developer, or host a static HTML site through Wordpress.
        • No need to update often.

        • Like all these options, they also have their downsides. For instance, if the company is unable to utilize HTML, then they will always need a developer, even for minor tweaks, which can become costly. Another issue is customization options. It would be very limited in the features you could have and it may not be possible to add certain features or options at all. When you do want to update, it can be very time consuming, and frustrating if the user is not comfortable in HTML/CSS, which could cause issues later down the line

          Conclusion

          In summation, while there are many options, the recommendation made is based very much on the specific needs of this company. Based on the information provided, the informed recommendation to make would be a static HTML site hosted through Wordpress. This option was chosen because if it's for a small company with little resources, this is a very cost effective, option with a high security advantage, and allows for adequate customization by utilizing a Wordpress framework, or alternatively using another option not presented here such as Foundation Framework, which has a shorter learning curve, and same functionality as a static HTML site through Wordpress. All in all, this recommendation is made heavily with security in mind, and is not a one-size-fits all, and ultimately is based to meet the needs of a company who determines the budget for website creation and maintenance. If the company is looking for a more diverse option, that is still relatively secure, and easy to use, while having 149 USD to spare each month, the personal recommendation of Quicksilk would be made due to its high reviews, easy to manage and use, UI, and short learning curve.

Eden Stroet

Eden is the Digital Overdose community owner, and one of the D-Over Con organizers, visit the About page to learn more.