Choose the best free CMS, good advice in ,Net magazine.

Those looking for a decent content management system (CMS) for a website [quick tip: look at open source before opening your wallet] should check out the current issue of .Net* Magazine [Issue 177 / July].

*Note: The magazine is known as Practical Web Design outside the UK.

It has some good general advice, roughly translated as follows:

  1. You probably don't need to bother with a CMS if you have a small site which you don't update very often. Just design it in Dreamweaver instead.   
  2. Use a CMS if you're running a content-driven site (e.g. one that contains plenty of news), you do regular updates and/or have multiple authors of content.
  3. Avoid outdated and expensive CMS solutions i.e. the type in-house CMS solutions really bad web design agencies love to recommend. 
  4. You don't need to spend a fortune. Many great CMS solutions are open source and FREE, but the amount of support varies between products. WordPress is so popular that there are loads of community websites offering free advice and tons of how-to books about it, including a recent addition to the Dummies series. But quite a lot has been written about DotNetNuke and increasingly there are books about Joomla!

It reviewed a large number of CMS, but focussed on five main
ones. [.Net gave the star ratings and I've added a few comments]
WordPress [rated five stars….Bang on the nail, in my humble opinion]
ExpressionEngine [4 stars]
MovableType [4 stars…..looking a bit outdated, deserves two stars in MHO]
Blogger [3 stars…what's this doing on the list?]
Drupal  [2 stars……..?????? MHO]

Little space was devoted to Joomla!, a PHP-based solution, and has plenty of fans. It's also easier to learn than the feature suggests.

.Net also need to separate out those CMS solutions which are suitable for creating news-based sites and those which are better for blogs.

But nobody can dispute the .Net view that WordPress is king. It can do no wrong in my view and gets better all the time. Security issues aside, the hosted version of WordPress is great for beginners and when you get round to hosting in yourself – it's just really flexible! It's ideal for blogs, but also can be adapted for  content-driven news sites. See some interesting examples of WordPress uses.

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