A Tale of 3 Content Management Systems

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Barrett Lombardo
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As the open-source content management systems have matured, so have competitive Chicago web design firms. For many years, Orbit clearly stood apart by providing a content management system standard with all website projects. Until recently, Orbit only offered Mighty-Site, our own CMS. To meet client demand for open-source options, we have expanded our technology offerings to include three content management systems:

  1. WordPress
  2. Drupal
  3. Mighty-Site®

WordPress

WordPress can be considered an “entry-level” content management system for websites and blogging. However, besides the blog software, WordPress provides few standard features. Thankfully, the variety of plug-ins can be useful tools for the savvy web-marketer with a do-it-yourself attitude.

There are a few great things about WordPress

  • Simplicity: WordPress is easy to learn and easy to maintain.
  • Tons of Help: There is a huge community of designers and developers that provide themes and plug-in enhancements.
  • Low Cost of Entry: Most plug-ins are free, and there are thousands of low-cost design themes to install.

For these same reasons, a common assumption is that a website built with WordPress would cost less than using other platforms.

Any business should consider these points

  • Good for Business? Unless significant customizations are made, a WordPress site can make a less-than-professional impression.
  • Customizations Take Time: All customizations require extra time to build the administration modules within WordPress.
  • Frequent Maintenance: With open-source comes security issues, so upgrades are released to the core system and plug-ins frequently.
  • You Get What you Pay for: We believe that a website will cost as much as the effort put in to make it impressive regardless of the platform that drives it. Orbit’s service, high-end design and custom development can make a WordPress site appear professional, unique and should produce great results.

Drupal

Some clients are looking for a highly robust content management system option that does not tie them to Orbit. They may want the option to use their own development team for maintenance or insist on hosting on their own servers. Orbit has adapted to this need by offering Drupal.

Why?

  • Great Out-of-the-box: Base features are fantastic.
  • Well Structured: Drupal is extremely powerful, well organized, and easy to administer.
  • Expansive: The module library for common features and enhancements is professional and reliable.

But Drupal has disadvantages too

  • Customizations are expensive: All custom front-end development requires careful planning and extra time to build so it can be administered within Drupal. This can result in 10-15% more time needed to build a custom feature.
  • It runs hot: Drupal’s a massive system requiring more server memory and resources to run than Mighty-Site or WordPress. Hosting costs may be higher than anticipated.
  • Designed for Pros: Because Drupal has so much to offer, there is a lot more to learn. Drupal is a viable solution for a business with a professional web development or IT team. Thus, the administration resources for Drupal can be more expensive than other systems.
  • Ecommerce is just OK: Drupal also offers e-commerce and blog modules, but they are challenging to modify to meet Orbit usability and design standards.

Although Drupal projects tend to be more expensive than Mighty-Site and WordPress, we are always confident the website will meet the business needs of our clients. Expect great results for its users and administrators!

Mighty-Site®

Mighty-Site is a proprietary content management system created and maintained by us. Designed specifically for the use of our clients – who tend to be marketing managers and amateur website administrators, we believe our CMS is simple, fast and easy to learn and use.

The great advantages to using Mighty-Site are

  • Expertise: All of the Orbiteers know its capabilities – project managers, developers, designers, strategists, support, everyone.
  • ROI: The budgets for custom features are almost 100% applied to the design and development of the front-end experience for your website users. Usually no customizations are required to Mighty-Site® for specific client features.
  • Security: Only Orbit developers have access to the codebase. Open-Source systems are constantly probed for security flaws to conduct attacks en masse.
  • Website Enhancements: Orbit can efficiently implement enhancements to your website. If you have seen the feature before, odds are we have designed and implemented it on a client website. This abundance of experience allows us to improve our process, lower the cost, and deliver the best results for our clients.
  • Ecommerce: Although Orbit’s ecommerce websites are an extension of our standard website codebase, the design and usability of the website is highly custom. Our ecommerce web designs proven to provide the highest results in terms of user appreciation, ease of use and sales conversions. This is an important differentiator between WordPress and Drupal where ecommerce is an add-on module.
  • Support: Because Orbit has no control over the upgrades to a WordPress or Drupal website, and thousands of developers are contributing to the open-source modules and new versions, supporting an open-source system can be very expensive due to its unpredictability. Support for Mighty-Site is included in your hosting and license cost. If there is a bug, we fix it. If you are having trouble formatting some content, we can help. Forgot how to change something? Our support team is ready.
  • Upgrades: Although Orbit has learned a lot of tricks by getting under the hood of WordPress and Drupal, we only continue to enhance Mighty-Site when necessary or based on direct customer feedback and requests. We want to keep Mighty-Site simple and powerful. The Mighty-Site features we have added over the years are solutions to specific and consistently requested website administration problems. If you’re a client of ours and want to discuss a Mighty-Site upgrade, give us a shout!

Mighty-Site and WordPress

The Perfect Pair?

Orbit has been using WordPress since 2010 as an extension to our standard codebase for clients wanting to blog on their website. We developed our own theme code so WordPress can reside alongside Mighty-Site. This is a low-cost, high-value solution. Clients need to log into two systems, but these systems take advantage of what they do best: Mighty-Site serves custom-designed marketing websites and applications; WordPress serves the industry-standard blog. And website users don’t even notice the site has two systems.

Expect the Best

Regardless of the platform, Orbit’s website development process, service and quality focus on results. The websites we build will:

  • be search engine optimized to be easily found.
  • have a custom design to extend your brand.
  • have features designed and built to convert users into customers.

We build great websites because we value our clients and our clients’ clients. You can check out our latest work in our portfolio.

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Barrett Lombardo

Barrett Lombardo

Co-Founder / Chief Operating Officer of Orbit Media Studios
Barrett Lombardo is the Co-Founder and COO at Orbit Media Studios. Barrett has been developing websites since 1995. He manages the creation of products and services that Orbit offers to meet the needs of Orbit clients.You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Comments (7)
  • While I agree with the disadvantages of the two open-source systems, this isn’t exactly an unbiased comparison…

  • I’ve played with Drupal for the past six years, and I really appreciate your top-level view of Drupal. It’s very true. I never got into e-commerce with Drupal, so I’m glad to have your warning about how it’s weaker with Drupal.

    • wow. it’s funny running across my own comment left on a blog post a year ago. I was reading this blog post again and thinking about leaving a comment, and wow! I already did. Maybe this is the future-me leaving a comment. Or am I past-me?

  • Thank you for your comments! I will be posting a follow up article in a few weeks about the history of Mighty-Site.

  • I hope the follow up has some screen captures from way back when!

  • Great overview of these content management systems. I find Mighty-site to be very easy to work with. It’s simple to train marketing people on how to update text and images (thanks to TinyMCE) and the security of proprietary code shouldn’t be underestimated.
     
    However, if a small business doesn’t have the budget for a high-end Orbit design, WordPress is a fantastic option. some hosts even offer a 1 button install for WP. This means a site can be built in a matter of hours. If the requirements are a simple site, then why reinvent the wheel?

  • Having used WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, Umbraco and custom CMS systems I find the first thing you need to look into is security. There will always be vulnerabilities in software but sometimes a particular CMS may be less prone to these.

    The second thing to look at is modularity and scalability – can you easily add extensions to suit your business. Scalability should always be considered when looking at a CMS. How will the website cope with 2,000 concurrent visits or 10,000 and so on. A good portion of scalability is tied to the underlying hosting but does your chosen content management system allow any fine tuning to use fewer server resources?

    And lastly, I advise to look into data migration possibilities. You may find that after a few years your business requirements change and your current CMS doesn’t allow the flexibility needed to meet new requirements. At this point you may have spent years adding content, receiving orders for E-Commerce and so on – if you were to change to a new system how easy would it be? Does your chosen CMS allow you to extract your website data in a format that can be used to import it to a new system? This last point is aimed more at larger businesses but its always something to consider.

    Using proprietary custom systems that are built in-house can be a good option but you should consider security, modularity, scalability and data migration for any system and I find a lot of companies fail to do this.

 
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