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Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker
2,423 Points

What should I do next (CMS)

Hey all,

I just got done watching the video on "Converting Foundation Framework to Microsite using Silex" Very interesting video and I find Hampton Paulk is an awesome teacher just on how he explains things very clear for me.

My problem:

Is my company I've started up with a friend from college have hit a rut for building sites in our small community, People really don't like the idea of paying thousands of dollar's for a custom site.

So our idea is to use a framework and / or a CMS (Still trying to wrap my head around it all) And I guess in my mind just theme over the basic framework we have set out so the build times are low and we can start charing lower prices and start to drum up business again.

My question is:

What should I really use, I've had bad experiences with Wordpress and the dreaded upgrading every day (it feels like) and the site going nuts on me with upgrade errors etc (ugh!) I've considered doing the wordpress course but if making a custom theme would reduce the headaches ?(use to edit themes and make them look the way I wanted them to)

Or should I use a framework ? Like Silex if it's even possible to do that with it ? I really just want a very basic cms to edit page contents for my clients (simple edits on text)

Maybe Hampton could do another series with Silex to do a few parts on "How to make a basic cms" Such as how to edit text in pages, and do a basic login for clients

Any advice would be awesome on the best direction to start in and great job treehouse on the courses!

P.S - I'm open to using PHP or Ruby if ruby can do this type of feature easier for me just honestly haven't looked into that yet!

4 Answers

nicholas maddren
nicholas maddren
12,793 Points

To be honest I don't believe a content management system will help you speed up your front-end work. I currently make sites for Automotive clients and find is so much easier using Bootstrap and then customising on top of that framework, I even take snippets from past sites and customise to save time.

If you want a basic CMS then why don't you make your own? I use PHP to create my customers admin panel and customize it to their needs and nine times out of ten I don't need to write any unique code.

Building your own CMS may take more time than you think so you could always look at Joomla or Drupal if your not a fan of Wordpress.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Wow! It sounds like the CMS you want to create sounds pretty similar to Wordpress.. There's no need to reinvent the wheel! If CMS is where you want to go, I would suggest taking a really long hard look at Wordpress because it's ready made, and maintained by someone else (yay updates! :-p). Other alternatives mentioned by nicholas maddren are worth looking into to but Wordpress might be an easier option for a beginner.

The trouble is, Wordpress and Wordpress Themes are incredibly easy to set up for the non-technically minded. I've chatted to a number of business owners who mentioned some astonishing amounts they've paid for previous business websites, some in excess of ยฃ5,000. They've managed to reduce their outgoings to around ยฃ80 by using resources such as http://themeforest.net/ A quick search of 'wordpress themes' in your search engine of choice will give you a good idea of what you're up against!

Treehouse is great because they base their teaching on user (and client) first design. This is exactly what you need to stand out against cheaper alternatives and validate your service. Each website you design will (probably) be aimed at a different user type/demographic - so creating a one-size fits all template and demonstrating that via a portfolio may backfire and lower your value. Especially if a prospective client looks through your work and sees their site will be the same as all the others!

If it was me, I would get into Wordpress as much as possible and focus on front-end design, because this is what the client sees. They won't see any raw code and I doubt most of them care about the tiny bug that took 2 hours to fix. In their eyes, the final-product is what they see and interact with - and for that reason, they would probably be more happy to pay more for a designer who know's more about user interaction/psychology than a developer who can recreate a great CMS.

Hope this helps! Just dive into something - anything - and give it a really good go! :-)

Ryan Watson
Ryan Watson
5,471 Points

I agree that using a CMS will not speed up your workflow. I use Drupal extensively, and although there is good community support for themes and modules, there is still a research and learning curve to implementing them. Also, with CMSs, you are limited to what is available in terms of themes and modules unless you want to develop your own, which is certainly possible, but time intensive.

Developing your own CMS will also be time intensive, and then you have to consider that you will be responsible for debugging, testing, code revisions, and major updates to your CMS. The more clients supported by your CMS, the more challenging the logistics of this becomes.

Using a CMS is a good way to give your clients the ability to update their own sites in a limited capacity, but personally, I do not find them to be more efficient, and there tends to be more of a maintenance commitment with them, ensuring that themes and modules and the core framework is kept up to date.

I completely understand the position that you are in with local clients not wanting to pay for custom sites, but this is more of a sales challenge than anything. Convincing potential clients that their business can benefit from a unique web presence vs. a cheap cookie cutter site or no site is the key. Highlighting SEO and web marketing has been helpful for me in overcoming this challenge. You might also consider branching out and looking for clients outside of your local community.

Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker
2,423 Points

Thank you all so much! I think in the very end yes Wordpress or one similar like wordpress is the best way to go specially with the awesome course with Foundations (I use foundations as my framework for static / php sites)

I think I will do the Wordpress course and see if it's better building my own theme and not having to worry about updates from other themes that may wreck it all! OK here we go!

You all give great advice and super friendly!

Thanks, Brini