Home – New Forums Tech talk How do you choose the website platform?

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    Paul Warren, post: 149824 wrote:
    Any CMS can be optimised for search engines.

    These days it’s more what you are pointing at a site, than what you do to a site anyway.

    Anyone who says otherwise, has no write to claim they know how to do SEO.

    And you rarely, if ever, need to completely scrap a website, to get a site ranking well.

    If someone tells you that, find someone who knows what they’re talking about.

    It’s a money making exercise for them.

    – Paul.
    Hi Paul,
    I’ve got a client who spent $16k on an e-commerce site. He’s now asked me to find someone to fix it and the quote from another developer is $12,500. Not a complete loss, but damn close to it.

    The case in question employs a major ecommerce system that offers control over page titles, meta tags, URLs and all the usual HTML parameters. The client has been implementing these attributes and spending $40K per year on Google Adwords but they still can’t achieve the level of referrals as their other SEOed website that spends nothing on Adwords.

    IMHO, I must offer the comment to this thread that in my 18 years as an Internet marketer, most SE referrals are lost because people think SEO is done with a piece of software or control over a few bits of HTML code.

    My USP promise to my clients is that I will try to provide the most cost-effective SE refferals for them.

    I reluctantly told this client 6 months ago that they needed to rebuild their site. I don’t make these recommendations lightly and will first try to find the most cost-effective solutions. The problem is that an unbelievably high number of websites ARE SE disasters. If you have not observed this, could it be a lack of experience on your part?

    I’d like to think that I offer value to my clients and after all this time, I hope I know what I’m talking about.

    • Total posts: 25
    Brent@Ontrax, post: 148224 wrote:
    How does everyone choose the correct website format, CMS solution or platform for your clients? Do you as a Web Designer/Developer consider the clients full requirements or do you just stick with what you know and sell them that solution?

    I have noticed the very high volume of people on this forum that talk about WordPress but I don’t think I’ve read very much at all, if anything, about Joomla, Drupal, Ruby or even straight up HTML/PHP/Java coded for web sites.

    What is the preferred medium for the SEO’s? As this process should be done before a website is even designed and/or written.

    The reason why I’m asking is because I have recently taken on 2 new network & server clients, both of whish are complaining about their websites. The designers sold them the solution that they wanted and not what the customer needed. Now I’ve got the challenge of advising them that this is NOT the common practice and have to arrange to get them New Sites, with a heavily reduced budget. One of them is a Micro Business which has tried to get in touch with the designer but he is no longer returning calls/emails and the other is a large company that is now perusing legal advice.

    Please let me make it clear that I’m not implying that this is what everyone, except for me, does. I look after many clients who have been provided websites, by different designers, which they love. Some are hardcoded and some are CMS solutions. Also I happy to note that neither of the designers involved are members of the FS Community, as far as I can tell from the FS Directory.


    I don’t normally do one-offs if I can avoid it, and I usually design, or propose a solution, for the current situation but include a 3 – 5 year plan.

    First I look at what they want to do in a broad sense – single web page, a few web pages, a lot of web pages, classifieds, blogging, gallery etc.

    Then, providing the choices aren’t restricted by their hosting (which I normally assess as part of the arrangement). I look at who will be maintaining and feeding the site – their existing knowledge and experience, and their capabilities (time, transferable experience etc). That’s part of the main process which is learning about the business, the intended market for the website, and how capable their backend (office, supply chain etc) is prepared to handle what the website generates. You want more work from the client – you definitely want them to recommend you to other clients – and they can’t do that if it takes them three days to answer an email, or process orders (many businesses want a web presence but are not prepared to respond to the customer straight away).

    I’m simplifying the matrix because it often includes a development server, backup procedures, advertising and marketing plans, image management, user management and billing, if the site is a retail site – then stock management and ordering, invoicing, also CRM intergration, procedure documentation (a wiki), licence management, data protection (especially financial data, air gaps are good), encryption (part of data protection), site portability (no host lasts forever or is always suitable), and you should long term be prepared to be able to move from one form of CMS to another if necessary (or from static to a CMS). That sounds like a lot – but much of the code, documentation, training etc is reusable. You’ll find you quickly build a collection of it, and I’d be surprised if you got this far with collecting some alreadyt.

    Basically the more important the web presence is to the business, and the larger to business, the more complex the decision matrix is.

    Sometimes for smaller sites I like static pages generated by scripts on the development server, or wget mirrored from a CMS.
    I prefer to use WordPress only for blogs, CMSMadeSimple, Concrete, MODX, Drupal/Mondo and Plone as CMSs – each has particular strengths from the user perspective. Security is key factor – so unless the client insists on Joomla and is willing to hire a PHP programmer to check extensions I try and avoid it. (not worth how it’ll make me look if it’s compromised).
    I’ve recently been working with Flymax which is interesting (classifieds), though I prefer Drupal for classifieds I’m kind of biased toward Open Source (and software I know well).

    In the description you’ve described I have a webserver in a VirtualBox machine with CMSMadeSimple and some basic templates and stylesheets based on the agreed design. While CMSMS is a great CMS for many situations, it’s particularly good for RAD and working with clients. In your case it’s also great because it’s simple to import or generate templates from any CMS.

    Don’t try and argue that you don’t want to run the other CMS – just show them the site running on another one.

    While they watch create a editors account for them. 2 minutes. That makes all the advanced option disappear, and give them a quick walk through -it’s so intuitive for a non-user they then feel part of the development process. Spend five minutes letting them add a few pages of ipsum.
    The point of the exercise is to get them involved. (don’t tell them the other CMS was rubbish). You’ve just shown them the CMS isn’t important, and they knocked up some webpages, so they won’t doubt it (you will have made your point without proving them wrong).

    The next step is to demonstrate the importance of fluid layout, accessibility, and responsive design by loading the demonstration site with multiple browsers. The designer never tells them that stuff – now they feel the understand (it’s an illusion) making webpages from the editing exercise, and they feel knowledgeable because they just learnt a bunch or reasons why. If the design didn’t do those things before, make it do so now – you’ll become indispensable and appreciated (bonus) .
    By then they are usually prepared to feel comfortable about following your suggestions. You not only let them prove for themselves that you know more than the designer – they came away feeling included and not made to feel stupid.

    Once you’ve done that just mention you’d like to change the CMS to the one of your choice and state your reasons. You’ll probably find it’s not a problem anymore. ;)

    Tip: VirtualBox is your friend. Your client will love you if you install it on their computer and import a Virtual Appliance with a LAMP running Virtualmin and a clone of their Production website for them to play with. I modify their hosts file so that they can access example.dev locally (instead of the production site at example.com). As the whole process only takes 5 minutes if you prepared earlier they’ll value you more as a result.

    Good luck.

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