Best CMS system to replace existing business website

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Mal, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #1
    I’m looking to move my company’s website to a CMS before I leave so that my replacement will have less trouble managing it than if I leave it in it’s current state (completely custom and probably not very good PHP). I’m really not very sure which one to use, and before I just go ahead and pick one, I wanted to get thoughts from ya’ll here.

    Our current website is here: http://www.connectingpt.com/

    The website consists of a few basic sections that need to remain, and there have been long-standing plans to add another section or two that I haven’t been able to do because I haven’t been given the content for them.

    The Home page, with a large image in the front which needs to either change once every month or two, or be able to dynamically rotate between several images (either on page load or as an animated switch while the page is loaded), plus a few boxes down below for other items.

    A catalog of our primary items. We don’t do online sales, so there’s no shopping cart functionality needed, but a storefront-like template would probably make it easier to edit and display, as well as maybe make it look a bit better than it does currently (especially within each product page, I think the main page looks ok).

    A service information page, which would display our rates and policies. I have to get the content to go there, but it would simply be a static page, nothing special needed there.

    A list of our classes we offer (possibly to be expanded to two locations, so either will need to indicate locations or have two pages). This would be nice if we could set up a sort of database with the descriptions of the classes, then just plug in a date and have it pop up on the page in the correct order. I’ve never seen that functionality in a CMS before, but I’d be surprised if someone didn’t make something like that.

    The contact page and about us pages, also basically static.

    Any suggestions on the best CMS, and if needed, plugins, for that setup? I’m not looking for the design to change significantly, though it could use some brushing up.

    jW
     
  2. designguy79 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    The "best" CMS is going to be a subjective opinion of any you ask.

    Personally, I like SilverStripe.org because of the back-end flexibility it gives me as a developer, and because of the positive feedback from my clients using it to manage their sites.

    That being said, WordPress, Drupal, and many many others all have their place.

    Your best bet is to start looking at the demos and offerings of each one....

    * Pay attention to the activity in the forums to see if the community is active.

    * See what templates/themes are readily available (or make sure it is simple enough to convert your design to their templating system!)

    * Look at the modules/plug-ins available

    HTH!

    ~ Jeremy
     
  3. Mal thread starter macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #3
    Thanks, I took a quick look at SilverStripe and like what I see, but I’ll have to spend a little more time looking to see how easily I could get it to do what I want, as well as how easily I could get it installed on our host.

    Here’s the list of the CMS’s available for easy install, through Fantastico (part of CPanel), which I know I could have up and running very quickly, although I’m not as certain about the process of creating my own template, and the store and class list sections easy of use.

    Drupal
    Geeklog
    Joomla 1.5
    Joomla
    Mambo
    PHP-Nuke
    phpWCMS
    phpWebSite
    TYPO3
    Xoops
    Zikula

    Do any of those stand out to anyone as being a particularly good option? Wordpress is also available, although it’s listed as blog software, so not in that list. I think I’d prefer not to use Wordpress though, I’ve used it for other purposes and don’t like it as much for non-blog sites.

    jW
     
  4. designguy79 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    From that list, I only have practical experience with Joomla and personally feel that it is too big and bulky. However, they have a *ton* of templates, plug-ins, etc, so that can be a plus for a lot people. (also, make sure and keep on the of Joomla updates -- I know several Joom;a web sites that were "hacked" because of bugs in Joomla)

    If you want to keep the same design, then your biggest challenge is going to be retro-fitting the design into the CMS's templating/theme engine. I would start reading up on the ones that look like good systems to you and see which one looks the best to you.
     
  5. nyzwerewolf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #5
    Any sites can get hacked (CMS/Static). It all depends on how secure your site, Web Server and Framework is. CMS sites get hacked because of the free crappy extensions/modules/components that are installed on the site. The only thing you can do as a web admin is to minimize the risk.

    I recommend Joomla. Joomla sites get hacked because of free & crappy coded extensions. Joomla 1.5 itself is a good CMS with great support, and security updates. When you install Joomla, just make sure:

    1) you keep your installation up to date (current version is 1.5.18)
    2) password protect your /administrator folder
    3) change the database prefix from _jos to whatever you want (example: _238OQHDS)
    4) use strong random number/letter/symbol for passwords for the MySQL database and your Joomla administrator account.
    5) change default administrator username from "admin" to something else (example: 2Q3OEIHSD )
    6) only download and install extensions/modules/components that you NEED and from a reputable developer
    7) delete unwanted templates
    8) disable plugins that don't need
    9) rename the htaccess.txt to .htaccess in the root folder
    10) create a .htaccess file in the /administrator folder and do: Deny from All & Allow from "your ip address". If your IP changes, you can use software such as Dreamweaver (Mac/PC), Coda(Mac) to edit the .htaccess file to modify the IP address.
    11) Backup, Backup and Backup your site everyday!

    In most cases, if you want a good extension, you will have to pay couple of bucks for it and it includes security updates, support, documentation, forum support, etc. There are free extensions that are very good - just check the ratings and the reviews. Check the developer's site to see how often users experience issues with that specific extension/module/component, and how fast do the developers provide support.

    Never install Joomla in the root of your domain. Always install in a folder (example: www.yourdomain.com/joomla). Also run a clone of the site (example: www.yourdomain.com/joomla2). In an unfortunate situation, if your site have to undergo security updates, maintenance, you can redirect your domain to the backup site to maximize your uptime.

    I have been using Joomla for years now. I have gotten hacked before. and you learn from the mistakes. Just keep it up to date.

    Also, check sites like: http://www.exploit-db.com/webapps/ to see if there are any exploits for the extensions/modules/components in your site.

    With CMS installation, you cannot just install it and leave it. You have to maintain it.

    I prefer manual installation over CPanel's Fantastico script generated install.. This will give you more control.

    Out of that list, Joomla 1.5 is the most popular CMS site. Wordpress is also a good CMS app, but it is more geared to blogging.

    Hope this helps!
    Low
     
  6. Mal thread starter macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #6
    designguy79: when you say it’s big and bulky, are you referring to load times or something else? As long as it loads quickly and is easy to edit, I’m not worried about the rest.

    nyzwerewolf: Fortunately, I’ll be setting this up and leaving it to the next guy to do the maintenance, so once I get it configured it’ll be out of my hands altogether. I would of course like to avoid giving them too much of a headache though, so less maintenance is better. Is Joomla more “needy” when it comes to maintenance than other CMS's you've used?

    jW
     
  7. designguy79 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    I don't care for the admin interface. Editing menus, articles, modules, etc, etc is harder for me that just thinking of a page as a page.

    Try the demo and you'll see what I mean:

    http://demo.joomla.org

    But like I said before, some people swear by it! It is pretty subjective...
     
  8. PoetCSW macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    #8
    Drupal, Moodle, Wordpress experiences

    I've installed Drupal 5.x-6.x several times and customized with various modules to do everything from shared calendaring to e-mail lists (like Yahoo Groups). There's very little you can't tweak with Drupal.

    For some complex systems, I've even used Moodle. Moodle is tailored for online education, but I found that it is actually pretty slick for Intranets and some special-purpose sites. The nice thing about Drupal was setting up groups with each having access to different calendars and shared wiki pages.

    Wordpress runs my personal business site, since it didn't need to be nearly as complex. I didn't need forums, but I did need ways to update the site anytime from anywhere.

    I think Drupal 7.x will be even better than the current release. I haven't updated a production site to 7 because client organizations need stability over features.

    There are lists of businesses using Drupal, including several newspapers. It isn't perfect, but it is incredibly stable and easy to administer. Only issues I had were with "spambots" until I updated the captcha modules to include Akismet (?) codes. Now, most spam is automatically blocked on the sites I set up for people.

    Coming from an academic background influenced my choices in business because I had taught courses using Wikimedia and Moodle. I learned I could actually serve both under a Drupal domain with a bit of work. The books on Drupal helped alter the "create account" to also update the Wikimedia and Moodle databases for users -- that way a user wouldn't have to create two or three identical accounts on one site. It's all invisible to the user, despite using different platforms on one domain.

    There are Drupal books on almost every topic, from theme customization to module development.

    Good luck!
     
  9. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #9
    totally true. I would also note that if this is a site you are planning on leaving behind for someone else, you want to look at a CMS with a very large pool of developers like Drupal or Joomla.

    I am not a fan of websites using blog software as a CMS (Wordpress or MovableType). This always feels a bit hacked together and can become a nightmare to administer... esp. if the admin is not the one who did the hacking in the first place.

    I am a Drupal guy... I agree with the other poster that Drupal 7 is going to be an amazing release. Drupal is perhaps a bit more complex then Joomla, but as far as I have seen there are a lot more high-profile websites on Drupal than on other open-source CMSs.
     
  10. Jaffaman27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #10
    Ok...My two cents for your problem.

    First of all, I wouldn't even think about Joomla or Drupal or something as big and bloated as those. Your site is fairly simple so those are not for you.
    I have two options you should consider.

    1. Wordpress + theme
    - You said you have some experience on that (not a positive, but experience anyway)
    - It's fairly flexible system and easy to maintain by the end user
    - Buy a cheap theme (from themeforest.net for example) that looks more or less like the site you have now and modify it and voila.

    2. MODx
    - It is very flexible and powerful system, but has a small learning curve.
    - Silverstripe mentioned above looks similar, but I think MODx might be more easier to get started (by a quick overlook of silverstripe features)
    - www.modxcms.com take a look...

    Good luck..
     

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