What type of content management system (CMS) does your website use? Your CMS is the software application or set of related programs used to manage digital content (ex: WordPress, Shopify, a Custom CMS). It’s the foundation of your site and determines your editing options, web security, and visual displays.
At eDesign, we use a custom administrative panel (visually similar to WordPress) based on the CakePHP web development framework. Let us tell you a little bit about why we use this software and how does our custom CMS differs from building your website on popular platforms like WordPress.
Flexibility and Security
When we build a custom website, we start from scratch in order to design a concept that emphasizes your branding and business goals. It’s a site created specifically for your business with your target customers in mind. Hand in hand with our clients, we undergo a great deal of research to understand the brand’s positioning, market segmentation, and online challenges.
The back-end of a custom website- your “CMS” -is built in a way to make your life easier when you want to change your content, pictures, add pages, or blog posts. Our proprietary CMS is easy to navigate around. You can modify your page layouts, pictures, and content intuitively without requiring the help of a professional for this service.
To code your website’s CMS we use CakePHP for several reasons. CakePHP is fast in processing data and able to develop amazing web applications. The code is flexible and can be adapted to any website design. If you can imagine it, CakePHP can code it. Built with CakePHP your website becomes readable by almost everyone in the developer’s community, meaning you will not be locked into relying on one particular web agency for future design/functionality upgrades.
With built-in tools such as SQL injection prevention, CSRF protection, and input validation, CakePHP is highly secure. It would be extremely difficult for a hacker to break into your data or your customers’ data, the way online bots can exploit the weaknesses of WordPress. Besides security, we use CakePHP for other technical reasons like Design patterns: MVC and ORM; the bootstrapping process, richer query API; support for any database type; smarter router prefixes; search engine friendly URLs (etc..).
CakePHP is a great framework for maintaining large projects. As your fan-base grows your website will be in great shape to handle any expansions, traffic volume, or new features. The software has a brilliant file manager that can be used for e-commerce websites with millions of products and categories.
CakePHP is built upon a well known, trusted, and mature programming language (in use since 1995) which powers over 20 million web sites and 1 million servers.
Speed & SEO
A custom website is built to support your brand with unique visuals, but also fast loading time. The speed of your website affects your user experience as well as your SEO.
A custom CMS is also the perfect place to integrate your social media campaigns, mailing lists, or any other interactive promotions. A custom CMS will make customer login and e-commerce a breeze to use. It’s also perfectly adaptable to any screen resolution, which helps your customers to find you and interact with your business on their mobile phones.
What About WordPress?
WordPress offers great default designs, known as “themes”. This can be a good option if you are a starting business and wish to make your own website on a budget. Without technical skills, you can buy a domain name, set up WordPress, buy a theme, customize somewhat your colors and layout, and be ready to launch overnight. It’s fast and cheap.
The downside however is that you typically end up with a cookie-cutter website that reminds many others. Your website will not be the most original or promote your branding, but it would be cheaper and easier to set up. The other problem you will run into is lower web security. Having a web template makes your site more vulnerable to hackers. You will also be somewhat dependent upon the developers of the theme you have chosen or any widgets you buy.
There are plenty of widgets we can add on WordPress to add functionalities to your site. However, you may not be able to design advanced digital promotion, especially if you are targeting a specific geographic area or service/product segment.
The advantage of WordPress over a custom-built website is in the price and timeframe of creating a website. It is possible to adjust a WordPress site to an elegant design, add functionalities through different widgets and make your site responsive to different devices, however, you could require more upkeep, maintenance, and effort in the long-term.
WordPress is not software we focus on or recommend, but if you need to save money, we can help you set up your online space on WordPress. Just be aware of some of the limitations of the platform. Ask us for advice. Depending on your project, we would be happy to discuss what is possible and what is not.
How About Shopify?
When building an e-commerce store there are a few things you need to discuss with your developer. To start with, what is your budget? And how important are customization, content marketing, offline sales, customer support, and transferability to your store? You need to be able to collect secure payments, have a user-friendly shopping cart, and know in advance your listings and product displays.
Although we would still recommend a custom CMS, Shopify can be a good solution for e-commerce sites.
To start, Shopify is a cheaper option than building your own e-commerce site. In the last two years, Shopify has significantly improved the checkout process, which makes the platform a user-friendly store. Shopify is also mobile responsive, it’s customizable and intuitive. Another advantage is that Shopify will take care of your hosting as well, so you won’t need to sign up for an external web hosting service.
Shopify comes in templates, but we could help you customize yours to fit your needs.
The whole world is online; we doubt you are lagging behind. Your website is your digital business card and the essence of your business. Built correctly, your online space can become your biggest sale agent open to the world 24/7. You should choose your platform and web developer carefully.
WordPress, Shopify, or a custom-built website, we can help you make the choice and design a beautiful site you are proud of.
Ask us for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.