We have two go-to Content Management Systems (CMS), b2evolution (overview here), and Silverstripe (overview here).
Both are open source applications, and with a strong developer community behind them. And each has its particular strengths which makes one better suited for some solutions and one better suited for other solutions.
b2evolution is designed to work straight out-of-the-box and immediately upon installation. Everything including a home page is automatically created and all a user need do is log in and add their own content. Pages can be created and modified to some extent without needing to know any code.
Once installed, anyone can, in theory, log in immediately and create any combination of multi-page websites, blogs, photo galleries, forums, and online manuals/books right then and there without knowing a line of code. I say ‘in theory’ as there is a learning curve, as with anything new and unfamiliar. But even then, b2evolution has the option of installing sample data that helps people navigate their way and learn as they go. The sample data can be easily deleted or simply overwritten with real content. (Even so, we are most happy to install and set up a b2evolution-driven site on your behalf, with your content, and of course offer full hand-holding support all the way!)
The default looks are aesthetic as well as functional, and the software is search-engine and mobile-friendly from the outset. b2evolution is for people who don’t want to mess around with styling, and who just want to get on and write, blog, showcase photos, or create a community forum.
Many hosting providers, including us, include the ability to install a wide range of software with a couple of clicks. b2evolution is one such software, and thus can be installed and set up by anyone regardless of technical ability. (Nonetheless, we provide full support with our hosting accounts should people not feel confident doing this themselves.)
At its simplest, b2evolution requires no more than to pay for a domain and hosting account, and to have the willingness to learn and use it. For more outlay, we are of course more than happy to set up a fully-working self-managed site populated with your content. We are also most happy to continue managing it on your behalf for a negotiated ongoing fee.
Silverstripe’s strength is that any bespoke site can be made editable, no matter how specialised or technical the requirements. (Future posts will showcase examples of these.) This is because Silverstripe is a ‘framework’, a set of coding tools that enables a developer to turn any static site into a site that can be managed by anyone, regardless of skill set. This allows far more flexibility with design too, as Silverstripe slots into the site rather than is the site. This means we can either design a site from scratch to your exact requirements, or adopt an existing design — we then add Silverstripe to make the entire site self-manageable.
This allows incredible control across the entire site — there is no compromise on design or function as there can be with b2evolution, as any aspect of the design or usability can be made self-editable. Silverstripe has proven its worth when needing to add and update slideshows, highly stylised image galleries, and downloadable files such as minutes and other documents — the user simply logs in and uploads the files, and Silverstripe makes sure they display where and how they need to.
Once set up, a Silverstripe site is very easy to manage — in fact we rarely hear from anyone with a support query, and even then those are requests for something new to be added rather than calls for help.
If you’d like to explore further the possibility of using b2evolution or Silverstripe as a CMS, or to seek a quote, please do get in touch! We pride ourselves on offering genuine no-strings-attached advice, and if we don’t think something is appropriate we will say so. If we think a different solution will work best for you, or even another service we don’t offer, we will say that too.