Choosing the best Content Management System (CMS) for your company is a pretty important decision. After all, your website is the face of your organization. The first thing prospective customers see when considering what your business has to offer. Whether you're creating a new website from scratch or revamping an existing one, choosing the right CMS is essential to the success of your business. You need to make sure it has the right tools to quickly and easily make changes and adapt to adhere to new business requirements.
But what CMS is right for you?
You're probably thinking WordPress - and we don't blame you; everyone else uses it and why shouldn't you? WordPress is usually top of mind because it's the most popular CMS on the market. You may have used it yourself and if not, you probably know someone who has. But what if we told you there were "other" options? Dare we say, "better” options? Options like: Concrete5, Drupal, Craft CMS, Joomla, Wix, Shopify or Magento, to name a few.
If you're building an eCommerce website, you'd probably be better off with a solution like Shopify or Magento. WordPress has some pretty robust plugins for eCommerce, but platforms like Shopify and Magento were built from the ground up with eCommerce specifically in mind. If you're building a "blog centric" website then WordPress might be a good choice for you - after all, it was originally built to be used as a blogging platform and it's what it does best.
We've worked with most of the CMS tech platforms available on the market and will always recommend the most appropriate solution to our clients. However, when it comes to websites in general, we recommend Concrete5. Here's why:
No need to manage CMS plugins for your plugins!
Concrete5 does have a plugin and theme marketplace; heck, even some of our developers sell plugins there! However, Concrete5 ships with most of the functionality and features that any website administrator would ever need - "out-of-the-box" without the need for additional plugins. The websites we build here at GO are custom-built and tailored to our clients’ specific needs. Any custom functionality unique to your business is developed around your requirements and goals without the need for 3rd party plugins. Remember, when you rely on 3rd party plugins, you're also relying on the developers of those plugins for things like bug fixes, security patches and software updates. Unless you have an expert developer in-house capable of managing a cluster of plugins (and in some cases plugins for plugins) keeping your website updated, reliable and secure is difficult, error-prone and buggy. If your website depends on the functionality of an external plugin or theme, you'll likely find yourself paying expensive developer costs and deep in the "plugin rabbit hole".
CMS editing so easy, your mother could do it!
Content is king, but it shouldn't slow you down. Most open source CMS solutions available provide a relatively easy way to update content. The process generally consists of logging into a secure dashboard, finding what you want to edit and conceptualizing how it might look in real-time. This is where Concrete5 really shines. Editing content is easy and is performed in-context; meaning, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). When Concrete5 was released over 10 years ago, this was a cornerstone feature of the software and has been so ever since. Newly created pages are peppered with layouts and consist of different modules that are easily edited, removed or dragged around the page. Check out the animated screenshot below:
It's extendable, reliable, and secure!
As your organization grows, it's likely that your website will too. Given Concrete5 has a modular codebase it's not difficult to expand your website to satisfy even the most complex business requirements. Concrete5 leverages many popular web application frameworks and has many of the same hosting requirements as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. So chances are, if your current hosting infrastructure can support either of these CMSs, it will likely support Concrete5. The core team and open-source community at Concrete5 also leverages security auditing tools to quickly identify and fix any potential security fixes and releases patches when necessary to fix them. Concrete5 can be easily upgraded with one-click via the system Dashboard - it's really that easy. If you choose to install any plugins or themes to enhance your website from the Concrete5 marketplace, you can be sure doing so is safe! Each plugin and/or theme goes through rigorous tests and a human peer review board to identify any potential bugs or security flaws before it is allowed in the marketplace.
It Has a Large Community of users!
"but....I could throw a stone and hit a WordPress developer."
- GO Client and Concrete5 Convert
While it might be true that WordPress has a larger user base than Concrete5, there are plenty of developer resources available should you need them. While we hope to have long lasting relationships with all of our clients, we realize things sometimes change and sometimes people part ways. Concrete5 has a very active community with over 300,000 members - many of them being developers you can hire. Also, Concrete5 differs from other open-source CMS solutions in that they are a for-profit firm. This means you can directly hire the core team who actually built Concrete5 to perform any customization or website enhancements you might need. So you'll be able to find support if you choose to look somewhere other than GO. There are also, of course, freelance networks as well, like UpWork, where you can find additional development support. There are a plethora of agencies and tech firms throughout the United States who use Concrete5 as their preferred CMS (we know of over 5 here in Connecticut alone besides us.)
Built with some of the most popular, widely used web frameworks!
"Hey! How exactly is a rainbow made? How exactly does a sun set? How exactly does a posi-trac rear-end on a Plymouth work? It just does."
- Joe Dirt, Joe's Dad
We'll admit it - we're self-proclaimed nerds here at GO. We geek out about tech that most people would say, “and..why should I care?” Concrete5 is built utilizing some of the most widely used web development frameworks and technologies - frameworks like Symfony, Doctrine and Laravel. It follows a MVC design pattern, encourages object-oriented methodologies, integrates well with cloud storage services like Amazon, Google and Microsoft and is easily extendable using Composer. It also supports advanced language translation features, event management capabilities, advanced routing features, a REST API built into the core with support for OAuth2 and open ID connect for identity verification and even a fully-featured CLI tool (see, told you we geek out over this stuff). If all you need is cruise control, that's fine; but if you’re looking for a turbo-charged V8 engine with plenty of muscle, try Concrete5.
Concrete5 is here to stay!
Concrete5 has grown exponentially. Since its inception, it has been adopted by big corporations like Cambridge University, Planned Parenthood, Red Bull, McDonald’s, Altana, Emcor Group and more. In 2016 the core team behind Concrete5 - PortlandLabs - released an announcement that a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract was secured between PortlandLabs and the U.S. Army to build more than 40 websites on the Concrete5 platform for the U.S. Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program to support more than 3 million U.S. soldiers and families. Concrete5 has always been and always will be free open-source software, but the core team behind the Content Management System is a for-profit firm and has secured some serious long-term investment to keep enhancing its CMS’s capabilities.
No CMS is perfect. But we feel Concrete5 is pretty darn close. We could go on and on about the wonderful features that Concrete5 has to offer and how they can benefit your organization but to be honest, we’d be here all day. If you’d like to learn more or to schedule a demo, please feel free to reach out - we’d love to chat!