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How to design an effective website – Part 2

By Claire Fuller | Creative Digital | 21 October 2016

Having decided on the functions you need from your website, it’s important to choose the correct Content Management System (CMS) for your site to be built on as this will enable you to develop it appropriately to meet these needs.

What’s the best platform to build your website on?

Firstly, it’s necessary to choose whether a closed source or open source CMS is best for your needs and budget.

The majority of websites developed today are built on an open source platform since this provides a cost effective route to achieve a professional, functional site which can be amended and updated with relative ease.   However, as open source systems are so widely known and “user friendly” this can lead to potential increases in vulnerability.

By contrast, whilst closed source CMS platforms allow complete flexibility (anything is possible, depending upon the skills of the developers building your site) they tend to be much more expensive to develop as they are completely bespoke, not using an existing framework as their foundation.  The result, a tailor-made site which is likely to be significantly “locked down” making it difficult to manage fully yourself in future.   This can mean organisations with closed source websites are “wedded” to the original developer of the site (the only person able to make significant amendments/updates), whereas open source sites have less restriction and developers all over the world are able to assist you.

Comparison of popular open source platforms:

At Yeomans our preference is to build websites with open source software for the following main reasons:

  1. The software is high quality – it is constantly being reviewed, developed and updated by experienced digital developers across the world
  2. It is fully customizable – both the front (public) and back (private) sides of the site
  3. Sites are not “locked down” and are more accessible for future developments to be made to them
  4. There is great flexibility for design within an established framework
  5. Due to the wide reach of open source software it is well supported should any technical issues arise

Today’s most popular open source platforms are Drupal and WordPress which we compare below: 

  Drupal WordPress
Ease of Use More training/knowledge required to create a website in Drupal than WordPress Very simple for a user to create a simple website with limited technological knowledge
Customising Options Very flexible through the use of a variety of different modules which can be added 37,000 plugins + widgets and a wide variety of themes available
Cost Free to download.  Some premium themes are more expensive than WordPress Free to download.  Many free themes and premium ones are cheaper than Drupal
Security Drupal has enterprise-level security and provides in depth security reports WordPress is more vulnerable to hackers than Drupal due to the increased vulnerability presented by plugins
Professionalism Websites built with the Drupal platform generally look more unique and professional and are built to last WordPress is more known for its ease of creation. Websites therefore tend to look simpler and similar, compared to those created in Drupal
Updates Software is regularly updated. The developer has the option to make updates automatically or not
Frequency of new software releases New versions of the complete software are released when a significant update is made ie Drupal 7 becoming Drupal 8 Current version of software is updated, there are not completely new versions released
Content type Suitable for general website content Traditionally developed as a blogging platform

To view examples of websites our digital team have built using the open source Drupal system, please take a look at:

Home for Good Care
Home for Good screenshot Care website screenshot

Where appropriate, our digital team are also able to take a website that’s been built on a closed CMS and replicate it on an open source system with the same look and functions for the visitor, but with greater accessibility for you to manage and update your site.

Rock UK

Rock UK screenshot

For help with developing and designing a website that meets your needs please contact us.  Or, look out for our next blog packed with tips for making sure the content of your website stands out.

References/Acknowledgements:

WP Apprentice
Search SOA
Elegant Themes
Image courtesy of Istock

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