I am celebrating 17 years as the founder and CEO of Web Epoch, a NJ Interactive Agency providing Website Design, Web Development and Search Marketing Services to clients in New Jersey and worldwide. We serve local NJ companies and large multinational Corporate Enterprise.
This article will explain the benefits and provide examples of three types of Website CMS (content management system) that show a range of features, capabilities and their high-medium-low price point. All of these Website CMS and Web applications are developed and hosted on a Linux Web server.
The first type of Website CMS is “Custom” that we develop from scratch using PHP programming language and mySQL database. The second is Drupal CMS, an open source software application that is customizable to the core and allows us to develop world class Websites and Web Applications faster than custom PHP. The third type is WordPress CMS, also an open source application which was initially developed as a Blog application. Due to popular support, limited budget and ease of use for the client, Web Epoch started recommending for smaller Website CMS projects.
While developing a custom PHP Website CMS or a Web application, every feature and capability is coded from ground up so the price is naturally higher and affordable by larger businesses and corporate clients. A “custom” Website CMS using PHP/mySQL provide clients with most flexibility for future enhancement and growth.
Let’s look at two examples of custom Web Application CMS that Web Epoch developed, hosts and maintains. By using the links, you can visit StocksandNews.com and ParTroy Funeral Home and test the features and capability each of these dynamic Web Applications provide. The StocksandNews.com website has over 30,000 pages of unique content not found elsewhere and published daily. The easy intuitive custom PHP Web Application CMS allows our client to easily publish his articles simple by copy and paste from his Word document into a HTML editor. The HTML editor also provides basic formatting as required by the user. The custom PHP CMS provides excellent performance during article search and loads fast on browsers.
The ParTroy Funeral Home Website design custom Web Application is also developed using PHP programming and mySQL database. The Web Application provide tools for our client to manage Obituaries and Guest Book postings. Our non-technical client is able to enter Obituary data in an intuitive user interface design and maintain the listing. Families, guests and friends are able to search obituaries and access the guest book to post their farewell thoughts.
Both of the above custom Web Application development projects was “pain free” and all the features that our clients needed was delivered without any technical obstacle. For over 12 years we have developed many custom Websites and Web application that are robust, easy to maintain and intuitive to use. Web Epoch provides Website design and Web applications development services for a range of industries including medical education, healthcare, pharmaceutical, publishing, manufacturing, financial services, legal and others.
Next, Drupal CMS is a very powerful open source content management system but requires an experienced developer to build custom world class, dynamic Websites and Web Applications. The next two Drupal CMS website has custom development that you cannot get with ready-made templates. Templates are pre-designed Website theme. Our own Drupal CMS website at www.webepoch.com has an Interactive User Interface Design that presents information beyond banners or sliders. We spent over 50 hours in our user interface design alone, that’s as much time spent on a typical small business website with sliders.
The unique Interactive User Interface Design provide users with a summary and a video presentation for servicers being offered. The user can learn all about Web Epoch services such as Web development, mobile apps, video production and SEO services along with 15 other videos without ever leaving the home page. This interactive user interface design stands out from the crowd because unlike like a slider that you read passively, users are presented with video for each of the menu item. Take a look again at our interactive user interface design in action at www.webepoch.com developed using a Drupal CMS platform.
Another Drupal CMS based custom Website we developed can be seen at www.rmanj.com. In addition to sending information request via email, all contacts are stored in database accessible by the administrator at a later date for importing into a contact management system. We also integrated a very cool Interactive User Interface Design that we developed in Flash and XML CMS for managing the text content. This user interface design provide presentations synchronized with audio and animation. We also integrated the video testimonial in a customized video player powered by a streaming video server.
As you can see Drupal CMS offers a robust platform for developing first class websites and falls in the medium price range because the content management system is already available for free* as an open source software application. Since the CMS is already developed, it allows us to develop the custom features and capabilities on top of Drupal CMS faster and at a lower price point than a custom PHP CMS.
Many government and businesses will actually ask for Drupal CMS based solution because it is a very robust and stable platform to date. You just need to remember to hire a Web Development firm like Web Epoch that has several years of experience with Drupal CMS. Drupal CMS requires that the content manager making updates has basic technical knowledge and needs some training in order to be proactive. Since PHP CMS is custom it is easier to use than a Drupal CMS, however we provide the training and support so you can make updates easily.
The third Website CMS is called WordPress which is an easy to use content management system for your blogs, publishing portals and websites. If you are not looking for solution with many custom features than WordPress may be a good choice for your requirements. WordPress community provides many software programs in the form of pre-built plugins, widgets and templates to fit the needs of basic business website design requirements. WordPress will NOT help you build a Web application that requires lots of custom features.
WordPress CMS has a very nice dashboard for administrators that contains a well organized menu system and provide an overview of the Website content and components installed.
One of the SEO (search engine optimization) plugin I use provide a view at a glance of my meta information of each page. WordPress also generates Search-Engine friendly URLs that help your Website get indexed faster. WordPress CMS has an excellent file upload and media management feature for your images and video. With the SEO plugin we are able to tag your images with Title and Alt tag at the time we are inserting the images in your content page, this help search engines index your website better.
The Lakeland Bus Lines Tour Scheduler application at www.lakelandbus.com required these features including; departure and arrival location/time, schedule one day tours plus date range, itinerary listing by time range, tour description with images, auto remove expired tours from listing page, and more. We did a great job and made it easy for our client to schedule and post tours but the back end management is painful because of the limitations the installed theme is enforcing.
“if you use a theme as most WordPress sites do, you are bound by that theme’s limitations as you plan to do any custom development.”
The conclusion is that we can recommend the best Website CMS based on your requirements and the ability for your content manager to keep your Web presence up to date. PHP/mySQL is price the highest but provide the most flexibility and unlimited customization. Drupal CMS let us develop a custom world class Website and Web applications fast and lower cost than PHP CMS. WordPress is very popular with bloggers and small businesses because it is easy to setup a Website and also develop small Web application. However we have faced several limitations with WordPress during custom development.
I did not cover Joomla CMS in this article because we developed with Joomla about five years ago. Initially it was clumsy and the template required changes in multiple locations that was time consuming. Once we tried Drupal CMS we never went back to Joomla but we are willing to explore again since Joomla seem to have matured over the years.
Which Website CMS is best for your business? It all depends on your business Website requirements and your budget. Once we do a needs analysis discovery, we will recommend you the best solution that fits your requirements.