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Monday, September 22, 2014

What you should know about open source vs. proprietary CMS systems

We began our relationship with one of our best clients by helping them with a big problem.  The web design firm that had originally built their site had become increasingly difficult to work with, requests for site changes were being ignored and the client was having trouble managing the site themselves using the fancy proprietary content management system (CMS) the web designer had built.

They asked us to take a look at the site to see if we could provide the programming support and SEO that they needed.  What we discovered was an overengineered CMS that likely had been built as a common platform for all the web designer's clients.  The CMS was unwieldy and difficult to work with and lacked the necessary SEO tools to optimize much of the site.

Because the new site had been an expensive and recent investment, the client preferred that we work with the existing, proprietary CMS rather than start from scratch with an open source platform.  We were able to fix a number of issues they were having with the site and recommended a full redesign of their product section to make it more user- and search engine-friendly.  The result is a whole new product section that touts ProVia's entry doors, replacement windows, vinyl siding and stone veneer products.

Fortunately for ProVia, they had enough money budgeted to make the necessary investment to fix the problems with their proprietary CMS.  But, most companies don't.  For that reason and others, we typically recommend building a website in an open source CMS.  It's faster, cheaper and more flexible than using a design firm's custom built platform.

Read about the major differences between open source and proprietary CMS before you begin your next website project.