Open source VS a proprietary content management system

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Open Source vs Closed Source CMS? What you talkin’ bout willis?

I know, I know, nerd speak coming on.

But before your eyes start to glaze over and you drift off to sleep, give me a moment. This stuff is important and the wrong decision here could be costly in both time and money.

It’s certainly worth getting up to speed on this.

Let’s just start out by defining what a ‘content management system’ (CMS) is. To put it simply it is a bit of software that allows you to publish, modify or edit content on your website. You can manage text, photos, graphics and videos, all from a secure administrator interface on your web browser. It is nice and simple for the average Joe (after a little bit of training) to maintain the content on their site. An example of an update you might want to do is a new blog post, changing a phone number or adding a new team member to your website – general day to day maintenance tasks that you don’t want to pay a supplier to do.

Get it right, the first time

I am assuming you only want to pay once to have this website built? Makes sense huh?

With so many platforms and different opinions it can be difficult to source the best tool for the job. And here lies the big fork in the road.

Open source VS a proprietary content management system

The road to the left – a ‘CLOSED’ system

On your left is unique ‘closed’ system that your local web design company has built. They have built it from scratch and the software is unique to them. Only they know how to operate it. So why do some companies choose to use these systems?

There are advantages of this approach such as it can be simple to use and security tends to be tighter. They’re often suited to very large companies who bring the updating expertise in house and like the enhanced security aspects. The disadvantage is that you are tied to that website designer forever. Yes, you heard me, forever. If they go out of business or things just aren’t working out, it is very difficult to pack your bags and leave. You can’t just bundle up the site and move it. It is stuck on their server.

The site needs to be rebuilt, from scratch. “Ouch,” I hear you say.

The road to the right – an ‘OPEN’ system

On your right is an ‘open source’ content management system. It is used by millions of businesses around the world. It is free to download and use and can be housed by most hosting companies. You can bolt in ‘plugins’ to extend the features of your website. All its files are free to use, customise and enhance. It can be packaged up and moved around with little hassle. This gives flexibility if a relationship with a web designer ever deteriorates.

There are many open source platforms available. The world’s most commonly used platform is called WordPress (https://www.wordpress.org).

This is our pick of the bunch.

If you go down this path you won’t regret it.

Here are some recent projects we have delivered using WordPress:

For more info on WordPress, check out this post

About the author
Jon Hollenberg
With over 20 years experience within the web industry, Jon is an expert in online marketing and online growth strategies. Over the last ten years he has worked with iconic brands such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary plus hundreds of other businesses Australia wide. Jon is a published author of "Love at first site - How to build the website of your dreams".
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