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  1. #26
    SitePoint Enthusiast DmS's Avatar
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    Hi.
    [steps up on soap box...]
    I read the interview with Jeffery Veen and while I sure don't agree with all points he makes, the parts where he talks about the cost and effort of implementing a CMS I believe you have to consider how he defines CMS.

    Traditionally a CMS stands for Content Management System, no news there, but note that there is no 'Web' in that phrase. That's because a CMS from the traditional definition handles all types of content from all types of sources and makes it available in a variety of interfaces, human & machine.

    Put in that context, where the specification probably includes version control of documents on one fileserver, extracting data from an ERP system, recieving data from an order system and so on, all while giving access to all this data in for example a portal on an intranet/extranet and passing some of the data onwards to a subcontractors machine on the other side of town...

    Then heck yes!
    It's very often immensly complicated & expensive to implement as well as to actually buy the right CMS. Do note that we are talking of commercial applications such as Documentum, Vignette, MS CMS and so on where the price tag starts at $50 K and upwards.

    The majority of CMS out there that a small web-business or similar implement actually falls into the WCM range, Web Content Management. Here we are talking of a human interface where person(s) import or write content, add images/pages and whatnot.
    In the other end it provides access to this content through a limited set of interfaces, such as browser, wap, pda, rss, soap and so on.

    This is a powerful tool and it can offer a lot of functionality, no doubt, but there is a difference from a "real CMS", and it should be. It's 2 different types of applications with some similar functionality.

    However, I feel that the point that needs to be made for that article is the fact that it is much more a question of installing & configuring the right type of CMS than wether a CMS is a bloated expensive overvalued tool for most companies.

    Personally I don't think you will survive very long or manage to grow if you can't offer a simple way for the client to online manage their own content as the see fit, when they see fit.
    [steps down from soap box...]

    /Dan
    { knowledge is what remains once you forget what you learned }
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  2. #27
    i'm a girl silver trophy Toni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aspen

    The key to long term wealth is to not have your income tied to your labor, I don't care how much you make per hour. Thus the answer is ownership.
    Amen.

    CMSs would only fail because they were not "thought through" enough or too rigidly design to meet a project's unseen future needs. The key is making things modular.

    My last freelance contract project was managing a custom CMS for a large software company (their products ship with HP, xerox and other document handling hardware).

    I was contacted by the CEO of the company to put a quote on fixing their frontpage template I had a look at their site... with 100s of pages, and many sections that needed to be updated frequently (demo downloads, news, events, white papers, and case studies).

    The client also wanted a flash "find a reseller" map which could be edited in-house with ease. The CEO hoped to hand updating the website over to his marketing department instead of doing it himself (good idea).

    I thought his situation would be best solved with a custom CMS. He agreed. I hired a great programmer and a flash developer and we made a CMS that he could update every part of his site with ease. The find a reseller map is even updatable via the admin area which is a very cool thing, not only the functionality, but also that they don't need to have someone who knows flash update their site once a week as they add new resellers.

    Since the CMS was custom built we could design the site any way we wanted to...there was no real limits on that. And when they want to re-design their site, they will be able to hire us or someone else to update 1 index page, 1 content template, and 1 CSS file... and voila...a completely new look with no hitches.

    Now the client and his employees are very happy with the final results, and are providing us with new work, and we will be most likely converting the site over to other languages in the upcoming months.

    On the other hand, I've been doing some work for a local development firm who use Mambo... and try to make it work for their clients sites. This is causing a lot of headaches all around because the client's wants and needs are not being fully met by this out-of-box solution. I do feel that many of the sites we are making with Mambo will fail within the next year, and the client will probally be heading to a new firm for a re-design.

  3. #28
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni
    Since the CMS was custom built we could design the site any way we wanted to...there was no real limits on that. And when they want to re-design their site, they will be able to hire us or someone else to update 1 index page, 1 content template, and 1 CSS file... and voila...a completely new look with no hitches.
    Now that's what I'm talking about! It doesn't get much easier than that and 2 years down the road when it's time for a new design, away you go. All the valuable content remains but the site becomes fresh and new.

    Cheers - Andrew
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  4. #29
    get into it! bigduke's Avatar
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    So far I've done 7 real projects, 6 of which required a CMS, the thought of using 3rd party software sounds enticing but modifying it would take more time than quickly creating one that fits around the client's needs. No doubt these haven't been huge CMS like php-nuke or mambo, but then I'm still only in the first year of dev and I work alone, sometime soon I shall have to make bigger ones.
    No matter how good a CMS be available on the net, the non-tech clients always prefer something that suits them, not too many choices, basic content handling.
    If I have the chance I'd like to go a step further and try doing a Site Engine.

  5. #30
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    CMS: Great for vendor lock-in
    Kyle Maxwell

  6. #31
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    Nice topic really, but I think it needs some more clearance.
    Unfortunately the companies offering the CMS Systems mostly forget about the flexibility and easy management requirement for the CMS System.
    Designing the HTML pages is the first step, CMS follows to it, but what if the CMS is too advanced to manage?

    Well, do not think I refer to my system this way, but what we did is just what the 'easy to manage but powerful cms system, based on news publishing technology'.
    So wheter you're the begiiner in HTML or have no experience at all, you can still make the site lets say - similar of CNN design. Give me your comments please.
    PHPCow.com
    News Publishing System & Content Management Solution

  7. #32
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    Content management systems are here to stay and its only for big companies. I feel that web designers have to follow the trend in content management and learn how to use a software like plone. Even, if they have it up and running, finding a web host might be another problem and whatever might be the technical problems at stake. Getting to grips with cms is a must for those who want to add value to their services.
    fash

  8. #33
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    CMS has made our work easier

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardN
    Dear Sitepoint Forum Members

    I have a question about Content Management Systems (CMS) and the future of website development companies....
    I think CMS is useful in making our job easier. For example one of our clients is a large art gallery that was already designed when we were approached to take over the maintenance of the site. The entire site was static with over 100 artists and each artist had about 4-8 pieces of art. Updating the site took forever to add another artist to it. Another problem that arose was they wanted another section added to the site and it would have required edit the navigation on over 300 pages...wasn't going to happen. After a few months we convinced them it was time for a new look.

    We decided to use OS Commerce for the gallery. We do not expect people to really buy some of the more expensive pieces (Some are over $9,000) of art using the cart, but this allowed the gallery to sell more of their prints they had laying around the gallery. Also what I noticed is that most of our clients like the gallery are not web designers. That is why they hired us in the first place. There is one area of the site they update and that is a simple news and events area. It is one page of the site made into a list. Other than that we do all the updating.

    In my opinion CMS has made our work so much easier.

  9. #34
    SitePoint Enthusiast oemberton's Avatar
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    All of our websites are Content Managed, and we've found this an excellent business model for both ourselves and our clients.

    As for how this pays - we've found it actually *can* pay better than 'traditional' web design. Consider:

    * Larger clients all demand CM. To sell to these you have no choice.
    * A good CMS is worth paying a reasonable amount for (more than traditional hosting / support) - but the costs to the developer are proportionally lower than making manual changes
    * User training / seminars etc are new, marketable services

    We developed our own CMS over 3.5 years and our clients love it - most of them wouldn't be with us without this service. We don't waste precious time making content changes and they don't waste money on the same. Instead we focus on improving our CMS, and thus obtain a far higher return on investment in the long run.

    Some of our sites are over 10,000 pages - consider how you'd build or support that *without* a CMS!

  10. #35
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    All of the sites developed by my company use one of our in-house content management systems. The client pays a monthly fee that covers hosting, email, tech support, and of course, access to the CMS. This means we have recurring income, and we don't have to spend a lot of time updating client sites and can instead concentrate on new clients. As our client base grows, so does our ongoing income.

    Our business model is a bit different from the usual web development company, in that we subsidize the cost of design via the monthly fee. Makes it a bit tough at first, but we are confident that this will work well in the long run.

    Our clients have been very happy with our CMS, and because every client is on the same system, when we make updates, every client benefits from it. For the client that needs more than what our system offers, we can develop custom modules to plug into our CMS (actually working on one right now).

    While the use of a CMS does take away from potential revenue for site updates, I think a lot of developers find updates to be a pain anyways.
    Red Cow Technologies, Inc
    RealAdmin - Software For Real Estate Agents
    myBusinessAdmin - Affordable CMS and web design solution.

  11. #36
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Well it seems the recent concensus is that CMS is the way to go. So, what kind of pricing model are people using?

    One time license fee, monthly, yearly...

    Any thoughts?

    Andrew
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  12. #37
    SitePoint Member hawaiibuff's Avatar
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    Don't underestimate the value of helping your clients through the editorial process - or at least helping them understand the importance of creating a plan for one. A CMS is no good to any organization that doesn't have a process in place already, or isn't planning to implement a process by the time the CMS is ready.

    If they don't have the process worked out, and you sell it (CMS) to them anyway, it'll likely get under-utilized and, yeah, they'll probably attribute that back to how good your work was. (Very unfortunate).

    They want magic in a box (meaning advice and a little hand-holding - just a little), and there's a lot to be said for a developer/designer who can help them work out some of the "non-code" related issues. They hire you because you can do things they can't, and it's almost a responsibilty to bring up to them the "things they've never had to think about" list.

    Plus, it's an excellent way to make them (a) think your work is top quality, and (b)come back to you again, and again, and again. And that means more opportunities to sell them more business...

    In the end, I wouldn't worry so much about CMSs threatening the future of your company. If your relationships with your clients are positive, they'll definitely be back.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiibuff
    Don't underestimate the value of helping your clients through the editorial process - or at least helping them understand the importance of creating a plan for one. A CMS is no good to any organization that doesn't have a process in place already, or isn't planning to implement a process by the time the CMS is ready.
    True.

    We've had our own CMS for about 5 years now and always include time for orientation & training in our dev proposals. Most of our clients are familiar with office productivity suites and become comfortable editing and creating in about 15 minutes but you have to show them the tools and make them comfortable. It's part of the job
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  14. #39
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    CMS and web design feature

    Back to the topic title.

    I do not think that CMSs eliminate web design. CMSs reduce amount of time for HTML coding and in less degree for programming.
    However any site still need creative design and any site bigger than 5 pages brochure-like will require some custom programming in most cases.
    Good designed web site should mark out business of your client among the competitors visually and provide functionality that suits client's business.
    Since all businesses differ at least in details there will be always place for custom programming.

    So my opinion, wide usage of CMS can reduce demand to HTML-coders and 'webmasters' but not to designers.

    P.S. We are using (own and 'from box') CMS for 4 years.
    Premier quality web sites and RIA creation:
    International site and Australian division
    LookBook Extension for Magento (free version available)

  15. #40
    SitePoint Addict molder101's Avatar
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    To CMS or not to CMS?

    I already posted so I will keep this short.

    Think of the main reason that CMSs are implemented - while there are a lot of them - I would say the MAIN reason for a CMS implementation is separation of content and design.

    By using a CMS the design can be preserved while the main content can evolve.

    The whole idea of a CMS is to separate a site into manageable parts for the client. Manageable parts for clients means less unneeded phone calls and more time to devise marketing ideas to take clients away from your competetion!

  16. #41
    PHP/Rails Developer Czaries's Avatar
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    CMS = Good

    Im my experience, most of the time it is the client that requests a CMS system be put on their website. My partner and I have developed in-house CMS software for our clients' websites due to the demand from our clients. The bottom line is, if you are a serious design firm, you have to have an available CMS option, or you will lose business.

    Once the CMS is made, there is definately repeat business because the client will always want little minor adjustments here and there, and new features and functionality. We start with a base modulized CMS, upload all the modules the client will need from our pre-made selection, then customize them or build new ones from there, based on the client's need. This cut down our development time drastically, and we are still able to resell the same finished product many times instead of starting all over again every time.

    With a CMS, everyone wins. Your development time is cut, your profits go way up, and you are not constantly hassled with trivial updates from the client.

  17. #42
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czaries
    Once the CMS is made, there is definately repeat business because the client will always want little minor adjustments here and there, and new features and functionality.
    This sentence basically answers RichardN's opening question and in my experience rings absolutely true. I just looked at some of our recently deployed CMS sites and in each case there were requests for additional features within the first 3 to 6 months.

    I believe that's because they (the client) has more feel for their site and becomes more imaginative with their wish list.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  18. #43
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    We are facing a similar problem.

    I am wondering of CMS's will solve our problem? We want to convert our site form HTML to a site that can be essentially edit and updated with a word processor. Does anyone know more about this concept?

    Thanks,
    Strato1@adelphia.net



    Quote Originally Posted by RichardN
    Dear Sitepoint Forum Members

    I have a question about Content Management Systems (CMS) and the future of website development companies. I've seen more and more emphasis on website design companies selling their clients content management systems, but if every business has one, where does that leave the website design company? There will be no need for "re-designs" and no avenue for "page maintenance" fees when clients require new pages, new content or new images.

    Does this mean companies will have to survive on the "yearly fee" they charge for CMS services? With prices heading lower and lower for such services, it's difficult for me to envisage companies in the industry right now surviving on $350 yearly fees from each client.

    The way things are heading in my opinion, all businesses will be able to edit their own website using a CMS so easily, there will be no use for the website development company after setting up the CMS.

    Can I get some more opinions on this issue please, what does everyone else think about this? Is there really a profitable future for website design or are we kidding ourselves?

    Kind regards

    RichardN

  19. #44
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Hi Strato1,

    That is exactly what CMS is all about. More advanced CMS systems sometimes called "web engines" or "frameworks" extend simple content management to control the entire website structure; content, links, pages & sections.

    These more advanced versions often rely on global templates for look & feel with custom programming options for custom appearance depending on the section being viewed.

    Does that help?
    Andrew
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  20. #45
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    I think until CMS have the usability of something like Frontpage, then clients will be asking for improvements to their systems. Clients would like drag and drop functionality and bigger faster ways to add content quickly.

    Theres a profitable market in designing/implementing/managing increasingly user friendly content management systems. I've just been playing with some new rich text editors - they are great! Web development is obviously going to prgress a lot farther than updating static HTML pages for clients - we just have to move with the trends and technology (as always).

  21. #46
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfitz
    I think until CMS have the usability of something like Frontpage, then clients will be asking for improvements to their systems. Clients would like drag and drop functionality and bigger faster ways to add content quickly.
    Who says they don't have that kind of usability Let me at em!

    Seriously though, there are CMS systems that are that easy to use. The one we released last spring (spring in Canada's West Coast is usually in March/April) allows you to add and remove pages and/or sections and has a rich text editor supporting Mac/PC/Linux/Unix (IE, Moz, Netscape) with an image library for placing images and uploading new ones. Layout is handled via master theme templates and CSS. Everything is done through the browser.

    I agree with you about moving with the times. I think that if a design studio is serious about a future in web development they need to work (partner) with techies. And... techies need to partner with designers because I've never met a programmer who had design sense.
    IANAD (I Am Not A Designer)
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  22. #47
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I think its easier than everyone thinks. I liken CMSs to CSS; separating style/design from content. Designers will always have a job, making the site look and function well. If that means modding the current CMS implemented, or making a seamless design that separates it from "bundled" design, so be it. Which is why I think Typo3 is sort of on the right path. Yeah its huge, but the backed become fairly intuitive after a while. And the site will look the same!

  23. #48
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    DamienArbos

    hi

  24. #49
    SitePoint Member
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    ops wrong thread

  25. #50
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    These CMS systems are especially useful on large sites where there are many sections of content, simply re-updating everything all the time would make you hang yourself if CMS didnt exist.


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