Top 10 Advantages of Developing a Custom CMS
With open source content management systems (CMS) like Joomla or WordPress being so widely available, a custom CMS is a rare sight nowadays. In fact, the sheer complexity of a custom CMS exceeds the skills of many website development teams; most media agencies, for instance, won’t have website developments with the expertise required for such a wide-reaching project. Custom CMS development is also fairly expensive and takes time.
Nonetheless, a custom CMS has advantages that can make it a valuable asset for certain types of businesses. Legitimate needs may justly drive companies towards a solution that involves custom CMS development; and, while it takes a well-trained eye to differentiate them from the cheap arguments that software development companies use to bully their clients into a more expensive solution, they ought to be recognized.
Top 10 Advantages of Developing a Custom CMS
Performance is probably the most widely-cited reason for supporting the higher costs of custom CMS development. In order to appeal to a wider audience, CMS like Joomla need to have a wide set of features and depend on being extensible. This comes at the price of more complexity, which itself comes at the price of placing more strain on the underlying hardware. If your website is accessed by enough users that you need to start optimizing for performance, you eventually hit a critical spot where general-purpose tools like Joomla can’t cut it anymore.
2. Control Over Development
If your business depends on a set of features of a CMS developed by a third-party, those features are of a very high priority to you. That doesn’t mean they’re of equally high priority to the developers. Having your website development handled by your own team means that the priorities of that team are perfectly aligned with yours.
3. Faster Security Updates – If Your Team is Up to It
Many companies have a delayed disclosure policy, where a security problem is announced only when the fix is also available. This means that there is a short period of time during which your website could be exploited by crackers who know of the security problem, but haven’t announced it, while you are not aware of it. Custom CMS development means that you are at least aware of the issue as soon as the development team is aware of it, and you can at least disable the affected features of your website if they aren’t critical while the problem is fixed. There is also no problem of priority; you can have a team of professionals for whom the threat becomes an immediate priority, without things like the version you’re using getting in the way.
4. Not Depending on a 3rd Party
Depending on a third-party for your website development needs has a couple of problems inherent to this development model. Companies don’t make money because you use the CMS they develop, they make money because you buy it. This results in the well-known problem of meaningless updates you have to make because the perfectly good version you’re using is EoL-ed, one year after it was published. Dissatisfied with the direction the CMS is taking? Tough luck – you can move to another one, if you can figure out how to migrate the data. Custom CMS development literally makes all these problems vanish.
5. Easy Integration With in-house Tools
If you have a lot of in-house tools, integrating them with the CMS used for your website is possible, but general-purpose content management systems add some overhead. These have to be tailored for general website development needs and are, consequently, fairly complex and feature-rich. This means extending them, while possible, involves a fairly steep learning curve. If your CMS is developed by the same team that handles integration with other tools, easy integration with those tools, as opposed to everything someone could possibly use, will make a target that adds less cruft to your CMS.
6. Reduced Development Time For New Features
A custom-tailored CMS tends to be less complex than a general-purpose one. Consequently, adding new features is easier: website development is faster when there is less code to deal with, so custom CMS development can be a good way to ensure that you can quickly respond to your users’ demands.
7. A More Stable Architecture
Plug-in-based architectures, where you get a set of core features you can extend with plug-ins, like Joomla, Drupal or WordPress offer, are prone to being affected by brittleness of upgrading problems, where upgrading to a new version because of a security problem results in a plug-in breaking because it’s not compatible with the new version. A custom CMS naturally eliminates this problem.
8. Well-tailored Administration Tools
Administration tools have long been a problem of almost every CMS. It has to strike a balance between having a great deal of features for experienced users, while hiding complexity for less tech-savvy ones. Website development has, sadly, never found a solution that’s good for both. Developing a custom CMS is a good way to ensure that the administration tools are perfectly suited for the only users it will ever have, thus making it easier to integrate it into your workflow than a ready-made solution.
9. Better Security For Low-complexity Websites
If you’re working with a high-quality team, you will usually get better security from a custom-made CMS. The vast majority of security problems stem from software complexity. Custom CMS development, with its tightly-focused specifications, often results in a solution that avoids much of this complexity.
10. Easier Maintenance
There is a correlation between a system’s simplicity and the ease of automating its maintenance: the more complex a system is, the more human effort it requires to maintain. The cost of website development is often dwarfed by that of administration and maintenance, and a complex tool like Joomla or WordPress is bound to require many hours of human attention. A small tool that is snappy to configure and where the system administrator can work directly with the development tools is likely to be plagued by far fewer maintenance problems than a ready-made one.
At the end of the day, of course, it’s a cost analysis that indicates the better way. Presentation websites that have few special features and largely static content are unlikely to benefit from a custom-made CMS. Anything more complex than that, though, is likely to benefit from custom CMS development.
The author has been working with the web development company that has many years of expertise in custom CMS development. With this article, he highlights the advantage of using custom CMS.