When we start to plan your website, before we consider website design, we consider what platform will be best suited to the website required for your business.
There are a multitude of website platforms available to choose from, some of which are available at no cost (open source) and some that attract licencing fees. These platforms are sometimes referred to as Content Management Systems (CMS) or Online Stores/Shopping Carts (e-commerce).
Depending on your website’s objective (you do have a clear objective right?) certain platforms will be more suitable that others. Each platform comes with its own features, benefits and idiosyncrasies.
There is no single solution that does absolutely everything. Some that claim to be the panacea may provide varied functionality, however they generally don’t do everything well. In some instances various platforms like WordPress and Magento may be deployed together and ‘bridged’ so as to share data between them and provide a robust solution for the project.
The starting point though is the objective of your website. If your primary goal is to sell widgets online then you need an e-commerce platform to begin with. If you are primarily writing content and would like to build a members area accessed by a paid subscription then a CMS is probably the right choice.
Sometimes developers will start with the wrong platform either through ill choice or client direction. Attempting to build extra functionality into a platform that was designed to function in a different way is generally not a great idea. It can be expensive to develop and ultimately may not provide the best user experience for the customer.
Below is a short summary of the most popular website development platforms. It should give you an indication of what platform may be best suited to your project. All platforms are open-source which essentially means that you can use the software without paying a licence fee.
Originally designed as a blogging platform, this CMS has grown exponentially in recent years and is amongst the most popular platforms for developing a website. It is fast to deploy has a great templating system and a myriad of plugins that can extend it’s core functionality. WordPress websites can be quite affordable to develop and maintain. We are seeing quite a rise in the requests for WordPress based websites from our Brisbane web design clients.
Magento is an enterprise feature e-commerce platform and its growth has also been rapid over the past few years. Magento demands a website design and development agency with experience given that it is complex to setup and debug. Once a store is running in Magento it’s features really shine. Magento makes online ordering and stock management simple. It can also be extended through plugins and extensions that enable to interface with accounting platforms and other systems. Shipping and payment modules make it straightforward to integrate with real time shipping quotes and secure payment processing. We have been developing and designing for Magento in Brisbane since early versions were first released.
This CMS has been available for well over a decade and has a long history with website developers the world over. It easily enables you to add articles and images to pages and was developed as a true CMS rather than a blogging platform like WordPress. In recent years there have been several different releases of Joomla! and certain versions have become obsolete. It doesn’t have the following that WordPress has anymore and the number of Joomla! websites that we have been building has declined. We will gladly support Joomla! websites for existing and new clients however when deploying a new website we will generally select an alternative.
Drupal is another open source CMS that can be extended through the use of additional plugins and extensions. Drupal is sometimes used on large, enterprise level websites including educational and governmental departments. We haven’t seen very many requests for Drupal development over the past few years.
The vast majority of open source content management systems and website platforms are written in PHP, a popular programming language that runs on Linux servers. Umbraco is written in ASP.NET and is suitable for hosting on Microsoft servers. It is a popular choice of CMS for developers that have adopted .NET as a development platform or those who are bound by policy to use Microsoft servers. We currently support Umbraco although our personal preference is to migrate clients to WordPress given it’s flexibility and ease of updating.