Bespoke Vs Off-the-shelf CMS

by Richard Jennis SimpleClick

So what makes a good website a great one? We believe the secret is having a customised content management system (CMS).

It’s important that your CMS works for your business, and there are many options available depending on the sector you operate in. For instance Magento is often a platform used by those operating an eCommerce website, and WordPress is normally the number one choice amongst the blogging community.

However, it’s equally imperative that your CMS provides your business with the capacity to grow and adapt as and when new digital marketing trends emerge. Although these off-the-shelf platforms can offer developers a variety of options to tailor the CMS to your business requirements, there are limitations which can restrict your website’s functionality.

When researching the CMS variations on offer, we’d suggest that you have a list of business objectives you’ve set yourselves for the next five years to see where these platforms prevail and where they fall. More often than not, you won’t want to limit your business to a single vertical, so why would you restrict your website? Having this list may also provide you with the brief you need if you want to commission a bespoke CMS.

Here are a few considerations to bear in mind when looking at whether a bespoke or off-the-shelf CMS suits your business:

Maintenance And Adaptation

While you can modify open source CMS platforms to ensure that your website’s functionality sits in-line with your business’s content goals, lead-generation activities and internal processes, you may find that you’re constantly reliant on plugins. The CMS you have in place might only work with certain aspects of your software, and so to ensure that everything runs smoothly, you may become increasingly dependent on a variety of third-party developers to maintain themes and plugins.

The biggest advantage of a bespoke CMS is simple: it’ll do exactly what you want it to and can keep your website’s maintenance down to a minimum.

When it comes to adaptation, your website needs to have the flexibility to respond and act upon ever-changing marketing tools and tactics. With a bespoke CMS, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and social media readiness can be built in right from the start and the website coding can take into account factors that influence search rankings. These factors can include ease of navigation, page loading times and mobile-optimisation.

What’s more, a bespoke CMS can provide you with valuable insights and options to enhance your site’s performance, whilst giving your marketing team the freedom and flexibility to audit, publish and ‘rollback’ content.

Take Control

As your business grows you may want to operate multiple sites, and a bespoke CMS can help you to keep everything on brand, while being less prone to attacks and able to protect your bottom line.

Multi-site management from a single login is only possible with a custom CMS, which can result in time-savings that have a direct and measurable impact on your bottom line.

A customised CMS can also save time and money spent with partner companies. For instance, SimpleClick’s Doddle CMS was used to create an Artwork Builder for a travel agent. This bespoke software system saved the company approximately 17,500 hours of work following its launch in November 2017. Previously, the travel company’s design team produced posters and flyers on behalf of each travel agent, which took the company on average seven hours to design and produce per item, plus printing costs and postage. The Artwork Builder has saved Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines both time and money, as the central CMS system allows the client to input content and imagery once and in one place, so that travel agents can produce posters and flyers advertising cruises internally.

A bespoke CMS is also a much less attractive target for hackers and spammers since the code isn’t readily available to download and explore. With an open source CMS, you are pretty much at the mercy of plugin and theme developers to ensure that your website has no vulnerabilities. Plugins and add-ons have the potential to be less secure than the CMS platform, so it’s important that they are kept up-to-date. If a vulnerability is found, it could take quite a while for the plugin or theme developer to patch it.

It might even be the case that a plugin you rely on heavily, stops being updated at all. On many different occasions we have seen this to be one of the biggest issues. When left unattended, these plugins can develop vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit to break into a site. It is essential that you keep your website and all of its plugins up-to-date. If something hasn’t been updated in a while, we’d suggest that you look into this and if necessary, disable it to prevent any security breaches.

Unique To Your Business

Most websites built using open-source platforms are based on theme templates, which can be customised, but as these systems are easy to replicate and the code structure is pretty much the same, your design may not remain unique for long!

A truly bespoke website is completely unique and scalable. Better still, if it is created by the developer of your custom CMS, a change in design is so much more straightforward.