Any business leader knows how important it is to have a robust, stable, attractive, usable, and functional website. Today, after all, it is the cornerstone of an organization—the very thing that defines its brand and articulates its mission to the world. But it’s not enough to simply have a website—a considerable amount of effort goes into maintaining, improving, and growing your digital presence.
When it comes to web development now, there are two main choices: content management system (CMS) development and customized development/design. The two approaches offer different advantages and drawbacks.
CMS Versus Web Development
A content management system versus website development from a professional: Which is the better route?
That really depends on the nature of your organization and your needs. A CMS is essentially the low-code, DIY option, meaning users can build and edit the content and pages from the backend.
With platforms like WordPress, minimal—if any—technical skills are required to build a functional website. You can continue to manage, maintain, and update your website and its associated pages, such as blog posts, in-house. The platform usually comes equipped with themes, plugins, and additional attributes, some of which are included and some of which are available for purchase as add-ons.
A customized website, on the other hand, is designed and built according to your specifications. It’s important to note that it is often based on a CMS too, but that CMS is not out of box—it is developed with the client or business in mind to fit their individual needs. The web developer and/or designer—often, they are combined into one role—builds the website from scratch after asking for the project requirements from the business leader and stakeholders.
Both options have merits, so let’s take a closer look at what each one has to offer.
Benefits of Content Management Systems
CMS development is usually the better solution for simple websites. Moreover, if you don’t have sufficient technical skills at your disposal, then the platform is relatively easy to manage, even if you’re not a web developer and don’t have code experience. The main benefits of the out-of-box CMS are:
- You will have full, unrestricted control over your website, including updates.
- You will have all the tools you need to build your website available to you, including optional add-ons.
- Creating a functional website is quick and efficient.
- There are existing themes to choose from.
- This is usually less costly than hiring a web developer to build a custom website.
- You can easily duplicate and alter pages using the same templates.
- CMS platforms can accommodate multiple users at once, including users with different permissions levels and roles.
- You can view your editing history and save drafts before publishing your content, as well as schedule publishing in advance.
- There are numerous CMS platform options on the market, appealing to businesses and individuals with different needs and levels of comfort with coding.
Benefits of Custom Web Development
The other option is to build your website from scratch in-house or retain the services of a customized website/CMS development company. This is generally the better option for businesses that require more complex websites to meet their goals. Some of the main benefits of custom web development are:
- You can create interactive websites and pages with intricate features and designs.
- The websites are custom-built to meet your specific requirements.
- These solutions are typically more scalable than CMS alternatives.
- Customized websites can accommodate a high volume of traffic if this is among your requirements.
- Personalized development can extend the functionality of your website.
- You will be better equipped to make your website unique, helping you differentiate your business as a brand.
- You are not tied to pre-created functionalities, as you are with a CMS.
- You don’t have to worry about common themes and designs being used by other organizations—the website is created specifically for you.
- Often, this is the more secure and safe option.
- Users will enjoy a better experience.
- Custom websites can be built with SEO in mind, driving more traffic to your site.
How To Choose the Best Option for My Company Website
There is plenty to consider when you’re choosing the best approach to website development for your business. What resources do you have available to you? What’s your budget? What are your particular needs in a website and digital presence? These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when comparing a CMS versus web development approach.
There is also a hybrid, “best of both worlds” alternative that combines the user-friendliness of a CMS with the power of a CMS development company. There are a couple of approaches in this case. For example, an external provider or in-house web developer with extensive expertise and experience can build you a CMS designed specifically with your business and its needs in mind. Or, they can customize an existing CMS platform to create a more unique tool for your brand.
In either case, however, the developer or development team will give you access to the CMS to make updates and maintain your website and pages, growing and altering it as you wish.
Your website matters, so it’s important to make your decision with care and attention, considering all angles of your approach.