1. Janet Aitken

    This is very informative. Thank you. I have a question. I am about to have a web site built which will also be hosted by the web designer company. They have told me the CMS belongs to them and I will only be able to take the design and content if I choose another host in 12mths. What does that mean to me? Do I start over again in 12 mths (or whenever I choose to move)

    • James Robertson

      Hi Janet, that sounds like a bad deal! I would shop around, as there are plenty of organisations that can provide you with a website and supporting CMS. (It clearly pays to read the fine print!)

  2. @Sudhir – the only disadvantage is that CMS-based systems are normally built on page templates. That means you probably won’t have pages that are significantly different in design on your website. This is as opposed to hand-coded sites where each page can look totally different.
    I’ve just developed a CMS for use by churches, local community groups and small businesses, basically anyone that needs to implement content management on a small website. (I found this article whilst researching the competition)
    It’s a blatent plug, but there is a live demonstration of the CMS available at if you’d like to see how one works.

  3. The only disadvantage of a CMS is the price. Most small businesses find it hard to fork out the initial start up costs of a CMS.

    Also, @sudhir, its worth having a look around because not all developers use templates. The company i work for does both – templates from $700 (but still are compeltely customisable with colours, logos, etc- just the layout is slightly generic) and entirely unique websites designed specifically for the company from about $2000- $3000.

    @Mark, CMS is pretty much a software that integrates all the other html, flash, etc. Like the name suggests, its a way of managing the content, as opposed to being the content (if that makes any sense!)
    So you can still integrate flash, etc. no worries. This is something you just need to speak to your web developer about.

    Hope that gives you an idea of what to look for.

  4. “It can be as low as a few thousand dollars…”

    Or Free. Drupal and WordPress, which are both extremely popular and also used by powerful companies such as Verizon and others, are fantastic. Unless you have extremely sepcific high-end needs, buying a CMS isn’t justified. Use a free open-source one.

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Published January 13, 2003

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter)

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