CMS LogosWhat kind of website is right for your company? Do you know that you have options? What’s the difference between a static (aka, hard coded) website, an open source content management system, and a custom content management system?

There are three primary types of websites widely used by corporate and business environments. Where static websites used to be prevalent, content management systems have sidled in and are becoming the primary go-to way to establish and manage your company’s website.

Today’s trends are moving to custom-built content management solutions and open source content management solutions. Here’s what you need to know.

Open Source CMS

“Open source” means “computer software that is distributed under a licensing arrangement and that allows the computer code to be shared, viewed, and modified by other users and organizations,” says Zoltun’s web director, Sam Menchyk.

Simply put, anyone can update his or her own content. This is a HUGE advantage to the customer as well as to the developer. The most popular content management packages are WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal. They provide state-of-the-art open source framework with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, SEO friendliness, and usability.

By employing these development tools, we can decrease development time and cost while maintaining high-level performance, function, and design. This is advantageous to our clients because they are able to update and maintain content, events, images, documents, and any other relevant information in “real time” on their own, without having to contact the developer. And because it is open source, this option typically costs less than a static site to develop.

While an open source software package is less expensive, there are, however, some trade-offs. When building a website in a pre-built framework, the design is constricted by what this framework will allow. While it is more affordable and possible to have a very attractive and creative website with great functionality, the design must be kept within the realm of what is technically possible.

Custom CMS

“Custom CMS websites are the Cadillacs of web development,” says Menchyk. “These are built to be fully customizable to meet your company’s exact specifications and needs.” To develop a custom CMS, we meet with our client to discuss needs and expectations, and how we can provide an all-inclusive solution. Based on those established goals, we design and program all aspects of the site from the ground up. Custom CMS solutions can be built in several different programming languages to suit the specifics that a business may require. The creative freedom is restricted only by your imagination.

Which is Right For You?

Basically, the choice is this: A custom site is great for some companies, but it’s not the only option available anymore. A content management system allows for faster and easier self-management of content, can still have the right look and feel for your business, and is much more affordable to maintain. We encourage you to talk to one of the gurus on our web team. For more information about the pros and cons of custom vs. open source web content management systems, check out this blog post where we really break it down, and check out some of our work in website development.