CMS or scratch programming, what to choose for your website?


Digital communication / Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Do you want to create a website but don’t know where to start? Do you hesitate between using a CMS (Content Management System) or coding it from scratch (or having it coded)? Several factors can help you decide between these two options (or even more since several CMS have different qualities and defects). For this article, we will take the most used CMS WordPress; we will voluntarily leave aside Drupal, Prestashop, and other Wizishop… Thus, we will first see the advantages and disadvantages from scratch, then we will do the same for the CMS.

From scratch, the customization for your site

To all honor, to develop a site from scratch is to have a bespoke site, a site tailored to you.

A site adapted to your needs…

You have the design you want as well as all the features you consider necessary. There are no limitations. If you or your team (or your provider) have the essential skills, there are no boundaries (except the one imposed by the technology itself…). By controlling your site, you are not only a master of your security, master of the technology used, and therefore master of your referencing and the loading time of your pages… You can then properly develop your marketing strategy around inbound marketing and SEO…

…but that has a certain cost (time, money, …)

But the advantages contain the disadvantages of this creative approach. It takes time to have a site that is, according to you (and the information your visitors give you), as perfect as possible. Moreover, its creation and maintenance require some programming skills. These disadvantages can make you think and consider another method, the use of a CMS.

The CMS, choose the ready-to-wear to create your website

The CMS, its simplicity…

Once your CMS is installed on your server (some hosts can install it directly and free, as OVH), you just have to choose a theme and launch your site. Simple. You can create different content by going directly through the text editor. No need to know how to code. Specific needs? You will probably find what you need in the different apps offered; moreover, the basic apps are free… It’s simple and easy to learn and that’s the main advantage…

… but with many disadvantages

As soon as you want to improve the security, and use more specific features, the apps can quickly become expensive, or you will have to develop the features you need (and you end up with the disadvantages of From Scratch and CMS…).

To come back to security, CMS can cause security problems. Indeed, when there is a flaw on a From Scratch site, the error will not be as easy to spot as if it is replicated on thousands, even millions of sites that use the same CMS, the same application that leaves a backdoor. With a CMS, you don’t have total control over your security (before a patch is created, thousands of sites can be infected, so updates are very important).

Moreover, the apps, plugins, and different patches you add to your site will make your code heavier, in addition to the functions you don’t use. A heavier code means a longer loading time. And a long loading time of your pages is bad for your SEO…

On top of that, you should add that the designs are quite similar and that a certain form of sanitization can emerge from your site, taking away a good part of your originality and probably also some of your company’s DNA…

Let’s summarize the advantages and disadvantages of From Scratch and CMS

From Scratch

+

Full control

Long to create

Security and SEO skills

programming skills

Custom design and features

Cost

CMS (Content Management System)

+

Speed of creation

Little flexibility

Ease and simplicity

Security and SEO issues

Design

Conclusion

So, if you want to make a small and simple website with a few pages without advanced features, then you can use a CMS, such as WordPress (or to create a blog, like here) without any problem. But if you have a more ambitious project, then a site from scratch may become a necessity (we are not talking here about all e-commerce platforms, which will be the subject of another article).

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