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New clients usually contact me and ask me, “Should I have WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or a custom website for my business?” Even though the answer to this question includes many factors, I walk them through ten major disadvantages of using the Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, so that they can make a right decision. Because of its importance and our expertise in custom application developments, I am inspired to write this article. For the sake of simplicity, I refer to WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal as CMS in the rest of this article:
I. Bugs And Errors
It is common to experience bugs and errors due to two reasons:
1. The CMS software engine updates at a higher frequency relative to other CMS plug-ins and libraries which causes website glitches.
2. Sometimes a new version of one CMS plug-in does not work properly with another plug-in or library which results in the website malfunctioning.
II. Pain Of Maintenances
As I had mentioned, you need to watch for all of the software patches or updates, and check them against all of the plug-ins or libraries used in your website. The CMS ideas were meant for dynamic contents, like bloggers or news companies, rather than basic static websites with static contents. As a result, it is not a cost-effective choice for static-based websites.
III. Differentiation Matters
Company branding and identity development starts from a company website and/or a mobile App. No matter what marketing budgets you have, customers associate your website with your products or services and, of course, your brand. It takes five-ten seconds after the first visit to a website to understand the company image and identity. The essence of differentiation is to stand your website out from the competitors while creating a sense of uniqueness for what they get. Indeed, it is only when your special organic contents are accompanied by a professional custom-made website that you gain competitive advantage over the other competitors.
IV. Security Is Missing
I personally do not regard CMS developers as programmers, since a high school student can publish a website in a few hours after watching a few tutorial videos. Unfortunately, the majority of the websites developed via CMS are done by people who have a little (if any) background in programming. The websites built by CMS do not come with pre-built security protection options, nor do novice developers can protect your CMS website against the common spammer, “Spider,” and/or hacker attacks. I have seen many CMS websites and login systems with no password encryptions for their users. It means that if someone accesses their database, all of the user accounts will be compromised. In fact, recent studies have shown that people have a tendency to use one username and password for all of their online accounts.
V. Poor E-Commerce Support
Due to a lack of customizations and poor securities, it is not advisable to utilize CMS for your e-commerce and business transactions. Also, all of the e-commerce built-in plug-ins come with lots of unnecessary tools and poor database designs, both of which can impede your business productivity down the road.
VI. High Switching Costs
Most of the business owners do not know what is going to happen if one day they decided to migrate from a CMS website to a new one. Here are four things you will experience:
1. High cost of expert staffs for moving CMS contents to the new sites.
2. Website disorientations especially for the dynamic CMS pages.
3. SEO disorientations since most of the CMS-based indexed pages will no longer be available in search results.
4. Database nightmare as CMS databases are not normalized for scalability.
VII. Lack of Control
Building your website through CMS is to live at the mercy of lots of plug-ins and libraries in which you have no control. There are three consequences behind this:
1. As always, you get what you paid for, as though some paid CMS themes or plug-ins providers would poorly (up to three weeks) respond to your support requests without any liability for your business losses.
2. To keep your website up and running, you need to follow other third-parties developers even for minor patches or updates which can be very labor-intensive.
3. Sometimes one library depends on other sub-plug-ins or external sources to perform properly which is simply a nightmare for maintenance teams.
VIII. Why PHP And Not HTML
I have hard time understanding why a basic five page website for an accountant or an attorney needs to be done in CMS using PHP rather than the lovely HTML programming language. An HTML website has four advantages over a PHP one:
1. Ease of maintenances
2. Low cost of maintenances relative to PHP.
3. Ease of migration from one server to another
4. Faster server response times and better customer experiences.
IX. Mobile App Are Coming
Not only do most CMS developers not have experience in mobile App developments, but also do they barely know how to integrate a website with a mobile. Since the CMS is just catching up for patches for web-mobile integrations, it is better to consider this factor too.
You might wonder why the CMS is very popular and more websites adopt it on a daily basis in spite of all of the mentioned disadvantages. It stems from three reasons:
1. They are followers and follow what the others are doing without any foresights
2. They usually have tight budgets, like entrepreneurs or start-ups
3. They are not aware of discussed disadvantages.
No matter what has driven your business to a CMS-based website, it is never late to mend your online business model and strategy to streamline both website viewers and Smartphone holder experiences. I hope these discussed factors will shed enough lights on the main cons of CMS and guide you through a right decision.
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