Open Source vs Proprietary CMS
Every website should be easy to use and update, should be built with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in mind, and should be able to grow as your business and online strategy grow. There are numerous technology platforms that may fit the bill, so which one should you choose?
Well that will depend on what your online needs are. This article should help you understand the choices and is designed for small and medium business. Those with budgets in the tens of thousands typically have a few additional choices, so this is aimed typically at those in the $2000 to $10,000 price range.
Broadly, the platforms can be categorised into two groups: Open Source and Proprietary.
Open Source Systems:
There are pros and cons for each, and which is best for you will depend on your requirements.
There are a number of popular open source platforms, including Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, Mambo and many many more. Which one is best will typically depend on who you ask; every web developer has a favourite and all will tell you theirs is the most complete, easiest to use and most cost effective!
The only thing for sure at the moment is that Wordpress is by far the most popular and is rapidly becoming the default standard. If starting fresh with an open source solution you would need to have a very good reason not to choose Wordpress.
Key issues with open source:
Like open source, proprietary systems come in many, many flavours. A decade ago just about every software developer that did webdesign created their own CMS (Content Management System). Most of these have disappeared over the years as the open source solutions have improved.
The key issue with proprietary systems is that you must be comfortable with the company behind them. They must have the size and expertise to not only keep your website running, but be able to invest in the continual development of the product. You also need to understand that you probably can’t move your website elsewhere, so at least make sure you have ownership over the design and content (a tip that applies equally to open source solutions).
A Proprietary solution will be best for you if:
Key issues with Proprietary solutions include:
Hopefully that helps. They key with open source solutions is to pick both the right technology, and the right partner to assist you with it. At the moment the technology favourite is Wordpress, and there is no shortage of companies working with it (some very good, and many that struggle). For those on a very tight budget or who need highly customised software we recommend Wordpress.
The key with a proprietary solution is to pick the right company with the complete product set and the capacity to continue to support and develop the solution. Bloomtools is a leader in this market internationally, because they tick all the boxes including product set, R&D and company stability. It is the best solution for the majority of small and medium businesses who are serious about getting results from their online presence and want cost effective, set-and-forget technology.
A big thanks to Mark Illot from Bloomtools Sydney Central who developed this article for us.