Truth is, I use wordpress every day and would be lost without it, so I wouldn’t turn my back on the World’s most popular content management system, but the problem is, it’s not and never has been designed to be a CMS, it’s a publishing tool for blogging!
A CMS is most generally used as a website platform, the back-end for webmasters to manage their website design, development and content. WordPress has morphed to be synonymous with CMS, when really it’s not. A CMS is a one-stop-shop for non-technical business owners to get their website up and running, easily updated and fully functional for lead generation and sales payments. There’s a disconnect between what website owners want and what WordPress does!
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is hands-down the most flexible, scalable, robust, community-supported open source CMS project on the market, and it’s free, so it has a lot going for it. If, like me, you like to get your hands dirty with a dab of technical configuration, a splash of coding and enjoy playing around with plugins and custom themes, sure, WordPress is for you. But we’re in the minority. Most just want a website that works. In the real world, talk to anyone who has had a website built, and you’ll hear the same horror stories over and over, it’s a painful, acrimonious experience in the round.
That’s before the website owner even logs in and finds themselves lost in some sort of matrix of modules, custom fields, short-codes, widgets…you get the idea! There’s just too many variables for your average joe, the solicitor practice that want to showcase their work and win new legal clients, or the local butcher who just wants a attractive design that shows off their quality product and competitive pricing to the point that a customer can easily buy their black pudding online and have it delivered to the door!
WOES OF WORKING WITH WORDPRESS
- Linux apache PHP versions
- IEDR compliance
- Dedicated hosting & IP address
- Database structure and config files
- htaccess and file permissions
- A records, cname and MX email set-up
- Canonicalisation & URL perma-structure
- Caching and varnishing
- SSL certificates
- Payment gateway integration
- 3rd Party Software Integration
- Analytics accounts & tag management
- EU cookie law compliance
- Core system upgrades
- Theme/plugin conflicts
- Security issues/hacking/spam
Who wouldn’t run a mile or long-finger setting a business up online with this list as long as your arm? A webmaster who wants to freshen up their site look ‘n feel or simply add a news item or new product is faced with alien language; New post, title, breadcrumb, meta title and description, excerpt, body, featured image, relation tags, categories, slug, trackbacks…it’s gobbledegook!
Enter rich interface players LightCMS & ImpressPages, my two top picks for next generation CMS. Both employ drag-and-drop features that really are as simply as point and shoot. With the advent of rich visual editors, we expect frameworks that mould to our needs, not templates that restrict what we can do. We want to mould the format and functionality of our publications, the shape, size, colour and form of our content on-the-fly. Now we can.
ImpressPages is the closest I’ve come to finding a WordPress replacement that is self-hosted and has all the bells ‘n whistles of a open-source PHP CMS, but is user-friendly! It’s the best of both world’s for those familiar with WordPress powerful feature set and those who prefer pictures to words!
ImpressPages overview intro video tells a great story of how the founders experienced the pain of on-boarding clients to their fantastic new wordpress websites, until one day they decided to build a system that their clients might actually like using!
Having your website on LightCMS is akin to using a tablet instead of a laptop or PC. LightCMS is a fluid, touch-and-swipe-like experience.
This is a subscription, software-as-a-service website builder, that bundles technology, design, content, marketing and sales software into one. What website owners have to realise is that having and maintaining a website does require time and money. It’s not a plug-and-play one-off cost, there’s ongoing support, updates, upgrades and integrations to consider. As Niall O’Neill of SAMM.ie puts it, “simply getting a website is like putting your shop on a high street but turning the lights off”! LightCMS takes the heavy-lifting and lets business owners get on with running their business.
The landscape is changing and although WordPress will continue to dominate the view, disruptive new-comers to the CMS market are taking bites out of the big cheese. This change is driven by customers. As customers, we want to get our businesses online with no hassle, to be reassured that our websites are fast, functional and accessible on any device. We want to know the costs up-front, with no unpleasant surprises and no-strings-attached that leave us reliant on any one supplier.
At SURFMERCHANT™ we’ve tried them all; open-source free CMS Joomla, Drupal & Kentico, premium hosted solutions like Adobe SiteCatalyst, e-commerce platforms Magento or Saas version Shopify, lead generation tools InstaPage and HubSpot. Ultimately we’re still in favour of flagship platform WordPress and fledgling upstarts LightCMS and ImpressPages.