Tag Archives: Opensource CMS

4 Things you should let your web development client know

Not all the web clients are tech or web savvies. Many times you should pave them their success path online. Here are few a list of 4 important things which you should let your client know, if they trust your web development skills.

1. Flash: When they ask for a fully flashed website, let them know the adversity it might make. By doing this you are helping them to establish the right online presence. Unless your client is Coca cola or Burger King ( I mean,  :-), an establish brand), they will really want to establish better Visibility to the Search Engines.

2. SEO – If a client just wants a website, let them know what SEO is and how it is going to help them. Make the site SEO friendly within the design scope (Eg. Image tags, XHTML validations, designing without tables, etc). Most of the clients will not say NO to make their site ready for SEO.

3. CMS – Ask how frequently they want to change the content, and if they do, let them do know how to do it themselves with a CMS. You may also need to let them know the advantages of fresh content. I believe instead of providing them a static site of 20 pages, you can introduce them Joomla and how to use it, for some additional but onetime investments.

4. Advantages of Opensource – Do they need a CMS or Ecommerce, You can justify why you charge less. Let them know that you can cut cost by using WordPress or Magento and still make their site professional. By doing this you are introducing standards – if your client goes to some other developers, it would not be difficult for them to take up the work.

I recommend you to keep a short write up (with some references) or articles on the above mentioned (you may keep that under your client section of your website) and ask the client to refer them. It also helps them to understand that you know what you tell them. :-)

Why Cubecart?

Many of our customers who look for Ecommerce solutions find Opensource solutions to build it cost effectively and they like what we recommended, Cubecart!There are reasons:1. Easy to customize (skin based), and this keeps the cost low.
2. You can bring great look and feel with skins, you can make the site like complete custom design. No footsteps of Cubecart would be visible.
3. PHP programmers likes it. – Clean code structure, easy to manage. Our PHP programmers have a great feel about it.
4. Designers like it. Clean XHTML interface and CSS driven.
5. SEO guys like it. Search Engine Friendly URLs, Custom URLs, Meta Tags, Robots.txt & PHP Session Killer etc
6. Good support from Cubecart team apart from forum support (Like http://www.cubecartforums.org/)
7. Low cost, $180 only.
8. Good number of alternate payment solutions, Shipping modules (http://www.cubecart.com/modules)
9. Web2.0 interface, But I am yet to see any Mashups.
We strongly recommend and teach the importance of SEO for customers who wants us to build Ecommerce sites, as any online business should consider SEO as their primary marketing channel – Not just news paper ads, for long term business through online. Cubecart is one good choice to build SEO friendly Ecommerce sites that supports online marketing.

Is your opensource CMS flexible enough to accommodate your custom design?

In a survey, by the Information Architecture Institute, 47.6% of people says “My CMS is not flexible enough to accommodate my design”, as a key issue they face with many Opensource CMSs available in the market. This made me to think about the truth behind this. What prevents them from making a great design for their CMS driven site? Is it the CMS they’ve chosen or they customization skills they lack?

Open Source CMS applications

When we offer consulting for Opensource CMS selection, it is not an easy job always. Building websites with the CMS our clients like and to make it work with our own custom design might become a nightmare if we aren’t considering and planning the UI design in advance.

We have customers who supply design for their web sites (as Photoshop source files – if they know Photoshop) since they have good sense of designing and they know how their site should look like. We can happily accept it and build HTML/XHTML and CSS based Static pages without any issues or provide a Custom written CMS easily. The real challenge starts when they want to make their site CMS enabled with an Opensource CMS framework such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupal.

Most of the opensource CMS applications strictly adopt some design standards, and they give clear instructions for UI designing. Your design will not work well with the CMS, if it does not obey their design rules. The primary reason for these strict rules is to help with the CMS applications for design-content separation and for easy user interface maintenance. You can easily change the design without changing the programming sections and vice versa. But can you easily fit your custom design which is created as your mind wishes to an Opensource CMS application? Most of the good CMS applications does not allow you to create an unique site with your own custom design, custom graphics and custom XHTML.

Simply configuring a Opensource CMS application along with a template design (meant for that CMS application) may ease your job, But it will not give your client an user interface, which is unique for them. It will look like one another site made with that particular CMS. I have seen several Ecommerce sites with similar structures; I can easily identify them as “made with osCommerce without added efforts”.

So, how do we deal with this situation?

Take the case of WordPress. If you start designing a site without keeping WordPress in mind, and wanted to enable WordPress CMS at later stage, I am sure you need much experience in XHTML coding  you may have to give up WordPress in order to keep your look and feel remain unchanged.

Few months earlier, we did an Ecommerce web site design with Cubecart; with the help of Programmers and good HTML scripter, we were able to make the user interface which is very unique and no template look. Yes, good PHP and HTML programmers will have to give hands to change the way the application works and to fit your custom design with the CMS. If you need a decent design which does not offer you a standard template based site look, you need an experienced team’s support to make it possible.

Cost is one key factor why people like to use opensource applications and in most of the cases we almost get a free solution. Installing Drupal or Joomla with a pre-existing design, will only help you to offer a cheaper solution, But to give a unique look and feel to your site, you must be ready to invest in application customization too. Your CMS theme or template will need your programmer’s support to provide coherent CMS driven website, which is exclusive for the customer.

Opensource CMS applications are excellent tools for professional web solutions. No objections!. Opensource CMS applications will not cut the cost of custom development completely and making a design which has an exclusive and aesthetic look to your customer will need the time/cost of your developers and designers.  Don’t leave the CMS application to decide your site user interface by cutting the customization efforts.