I’ve seen a lot of freelance design companies develop all of their clients’ sites on one platform, for example, WordPress. Some even go as far as to say, “we develop all of our client sites on the Thesis theme framework for WordPress. It’s easy for us and it’ll be great for you, too.”
For a while, I had that mentality, where I would only use WordPress for every client’s site because WordPress is what I know. However, I’ve learned since then that WordPress is not one-size-fits-all. Sometimes, it’s overkill and sometimes it’s too hard for non-technical clients to maintain. It’s ridiculous in my mind to hack and mod the hell out of a CMS just to make it work for a client. That should ring bells that it’s the wrong CMS for the project.
My new approach will be to involve the client in his/her selection of CMS. I’ve expanded my CMS repertoire to include Unify for simple, static sites; Concrete5, Joomla or WordPress for business sites and WordPress for blog sites. I’ll recommend a CMS to a client based on our initial conversations, and then I’ll ask him or her to test drive it to make sure it’s something they can work with and enjoy. Because in the end, when the seeds are planted and the shovels put away, they’re going to be the ones maintaining it all. It should be about what works for the client, not for the designer, right?
So what do you think? Do you like working with only one CMS for all client sites or do you like the approach of offering multiple CMSs and letting the client play a big role in choosing? I know there are pros and cons with both approaches, but I’m just interested in getting some other opinions!