CMS Crash Course!

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Is your current nonprofit website and Content Management System (CMS) clunky, outdated and hard to navigate? Are you considering a website redesign? Or maybe you heard of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal but would like to learn more? If so, this is the presentation for you. Andy McIlwain (SIDEKICK) discusses how nonprofits can benefit from using a CMS and covers popular CMS options and how they compare side-to-side.

Transcript of CMS Crash Course!

  • 1. CMS CRASH COURSE Andy McIlwain @ Net Tuesday Toronto July 8, 2014
  • 2. Agenda 1. Introductions 2. Whats a CMS? Why should you care? 3. Choosing a CMS 4. Comparing Popular Platforms 5. Discussion
  • 3. Who is this guy? Andy McIlwain Content @ SIDEKICK ( Organizer, WordCamp Toronto 2014 Web Generalist Connect The Twitter: @andymci Email:
  • 4. Whats a CMS? Content Management System Layer between code and user. Manage sites without being a developer. Website that Visitors See Underlying Code & Technology Your CMS
  • 5. Why should you care? Reduce IT/developer involvement. Be responsive. Get things done faster. e.g. Breaking news and you need to update the site quickly. Easier training & onboarding.
  • 6. Choosing a CMS Shopping for a CMS is like shopping for groceries. Its better when you have a list of what to look for. Image Credit: Situ Herrera
  • 7. Remember: Your CMS is a tool. Its just means to an end. Dont get distracted by features. Some CMSes better suited to certain tasks. Theres always a learning curve.
  • 8. Define your requirements first. Image credit: Freepik
  • 9. Functional Requirements What should users be able to do? E.g. Make a purchase, create an account, submit a contact form, make a donation. Create a functional requirements list.
  • 10. Design Requirements The Look and Feel of your site. Usually handled by CMS themes (a.k.a. templates, styles, skins) Create a design requirements list.
  • 11. Content Requirements The type of content (written, media) that will be managed by the CMS. Blogging? Press releases? Restricted content? Create a sitemap that outlines all major pages or sections of your site.
  • 12. Time & Money Requirements Whats the timeline? Whatre the milestones? What needs to be done now vs. later? Whats the available budget? Encompasses setup, customization, training, support, etc.
  • 13. People / Stakeholders Image Credit: Freepik
  • 14. Who is leading the project? Whats their understanding of the project? Technical? Non-technical? Whats their experience with CMSes? Are they comfortable coordinating between stakeholders? Developers, Administration, Executives, Constituents, etc
  • 15. Who is implementing the CMS? Whos putting the pieces together, and what knowledge do they have? Whats their experience? Are they comfortable to deliver on the requirements? In-house isnt always the right solution. Look at your requirements, consider all the options available.
  • 16. Who will be working with the CMS? Primary, day-to-day users. Have they used a system like this before? Will they need additional support? Will you need to train people quickly?
  • 17. Things To Investigate Before You Commit Image credit: Icomoon
  • 18. Learning Curve How complex is the tool? Look for discussions and reviews. Are there lessons online? How usable is the software? Can you play with a demo? Useful site:
  • 19. Documentation Whats available from the vendor? Whats available from 3rd parties? Is it understandable? Up-to-date? How well-written is it? Any visual examples?
  • 20. System Requirements Do you host yourself or with the vendor? Are there specific environment requirements? E.g. PHP, Rails, Node, ASP.NET
  • 21. Licensing Open Source vs. Proprietary Are you locked in with a sole-source product? Whats the cost? What are your rights as a user?
  • 22. Market Are there developers already? Whats their going rate? Less Popular = More Specialization = More Lock- In More Popular = Greater variance in rates, but also a variance in quality. Are extensions (plugins) or themes available? Whats the average cost? E.g. WordPress has 1000s of themes available, whereas Drupal does not.
  • 23. Comparing CMS Options Image Credit: Icons8
  • 24. Pros Relatively easy to learn. Ample documentation. Works on vast majority of hosting providers. 100% GPL license. Large market of themes, plugins, and developers. Actively updated, lots of custom functionality through plugins. Cons User experience geared towards publishing content. Experience is lacking in other areas. Not well suited (IMO) to more complex functionality. WordPress Download @
  • 25. Drupal Pros Free & open source. Works on most hosting providers. Built with complex sites in mind, e.g. Active community of developers. Good-sized market of themes and extensions. Very stable. Cons Steep learning curve. More intensive hosting requirements. Projects typically longer, more expensive. Download @
  • 26. Joomla! Pros Free, open source. Works on majority of hosting providers. Themes and extensions available. Cons Development is relatively inactive compared to other CMS platforms. Small market of developers, extensions. Download @
  • 27. Tendenci Pros Catered specifically to non- profit organizations. Free & open source. (Need to use Developers link on the home page.) Cons Requires hosting provider that supports Python. Smaller CMS means small market of experts. Written in Python. Popular, but less popular than PHP. More information @
  • 28. GetSimple CMS Pros Free & Open Source Lightweight Very small installation, no database. Works on majority of hosting providers. Cons Limited plugins to add more functionality. Limited support. Download @
  • 29. ExpressionEngine Pros Free version available to experiment with. Active community of developers + backed by an established company. Works with most hosting providers. Cons Costs! Per-Site License ($299++) Support ($49/mo++) No Refunds Info/Purchase @
  • 30. To Recap Start with your requirements. Identify your stakeholders. Research each platform before you decide.
  • 31. Thank You! (Discussion)