Ask DN: Do you use a CMS when making a website for a client?

6 years ago from , Designer & Front-end Developer

If so, which one? And if you don't use a CMS (Content Management System) do you use static site genarator like Jekyll or other alternatives? Or maybe full MVC application or Angular.js.

Even if you don't do the front-end development could you describe what your team's methods are.

Thank you


  • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I recently started to do that, it's usually something nice to have for the client and saves me a lot of "umh, could we change this one sentence there" situations.

    I'm using KirbyCMS, which is in my opinion the most flexible CMS out there. It's a flat file CMS, which is a bonus point for things like moving servers, backups, etc. I hate Wordpress to death.

    My most recent projects running on Kirby are:

    27 points
    • Matthew Blode, 6 years ago

      Fantastic looking websites and both run very nicely. I'll look into KirbyCMS. Thanks

      I'm currently just using Middleman for my sister's portfolio and I just know I'll run into the issue that she will not know how to edit the content when she desires. So CMS sounds like a more sustainable option.

      3 points
    • Andrew Richardson, 6 years ago

      I love Kirby too! I've been using it on a few projects lately. I'm curious to know how you set up https://everchron.com/ in Kirby because I find these brochure style sites a little more challenging to make work in Kirby. I recently made http://rally.bluebeam.com/ in Kirby and it's been a great experience so far.

      2 points
      • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, 6 years ago

        On the everchron site I've implemented a massive amount of custom templates and many flexible snippets.

        The panel field for structured data is your best friend in that case and allows the user to create eg. a new section on the home page within seconds. However, this is an art directed site so I'm always there to make things look good (the css animations would be something a client could never do of course).

        The content pages (basically anything that is not home or /cma) are kinda simple from a template perspective. It get's interesting again when you login to the internal investors portal, but that's not part of what you can see ;)

        3 points
    • Kris KimKris Kim, 6 years ago

      It looks like Kirby is not free.. How did you go about persuading clients to pay for it when there's a free alternatives like wordpress?

      0 points
      • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, 6 years ago

        90 bucks are completely irrelevant with project budgets of 15k+. I've never had this discussion with a client.

        18 points
      • Matthias Loibl, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

        Check out http://getgrav.org/ which should be similar to Kirby and it's open source.

        2 points
      • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, 6 years ago

        Free is a funny word, it's deceptive. Because WordPress isn't really free - work has to be done to make the site you want with it, it has to be hosted, and maintained, and that all costs money (presumably). Even the time a client puts into managing their content, that shouldn't be considered free.

        As service providers, our job should be to educate clients on the options, which can have different costs, and talk about their pros and cons. But we should never be selling something as a free platform, or we're not really helping them understand their choice.

        1 point
    • Ian WilliamsIan Williams, almost 6 years ago

      I love Kirby!

      2 points
    • Alejandro DorantesAlejandro Dorantes, 6 years ago

      Really nice sites!

      Lol'd at this though: http://hueston.com/attorneys/john-snow

      3 points
  • Adam EhrheartAdam Ehrheart, 6 years ago

    Craft CMS all day everyday.

    16 points
  • Frédéric AudetFrédéric Audet, 6 years ago

    Craft CMS +1

    12 points
  • Roman HorokhovatskyyRoman Horokhovatskyy, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    For my experience Kirby CMS is awesome but many clients especially a big ones ask me a WordPress environment every time, so I’m using Bedrock with a plugin ACF Pro with very powerful tools like flexible content and repeater.

    Returning to Kirby CMS:


    • basically you have a massive control of cms
    • versatile panel control
    • no database out of the box
    • integration with MySQL it's possible (read Kirby blog)
    • it's possible to build json api (check out Kirby blog)
    • various prebuilt caching tools
    • ultra fast responses and delays
    • a few plugins (super good ones) you can do basically everything
    • yes even e-commerce it’s possible


    • no WYSIWYG editor, but all markdown, sorry it’s bad experience for clients
    • very weird user experience with content publication — you must drag-and-drop your article/page to publish
    • all the core settings is on back-end:
      • you must manually install plugins
      • no way to modify plugin settings from control panel
    9 points
  • Matthew KosloskiMatthew Kosloski, 6 years ago

    WordPress because it's the most popular, and everyone is familiar with it. Not to mention the thousands of plugins. Also, there is a large developer community. Most of the time, you won't have a problem trying to find a solution to a problem; WordPress has a lot of documentation and a helpful codex/wiki.

    4 points
  • Danny Zabolotny, 6 years ago

    I use Wordpress because I'm super familiar with it and it can expand to do just about anything. Sure you have these neat little flat file CMS', but let's say the client wants to add a web store, a content gallery, real estate floor plans, or a portfolio of some kind, can your other CMS' handle it? With Wordpress it's all possible with plugins like WooCommerce, and with custom post types and custom fields.

    If you say that Wordpress is bloated, then you're not setting it up correctly. The Wordpress sites that I build are quite fast, and it's very client friendly when it comes to content changes.

    4 points
    • Ivo MynttinenIvo Mynttinen, 6 years ago

      Sure you have these neat little flat file CMS', but let's say the client wants to add a web store, a content gallery, real estate floor plans, or a portfolio of some kind, can your other CMS' handle it?


      Sure, Wordpress got an insane amount of plugins that can do anything you could think of. If your priority is to build some feature heavy site very fast, it might be the best solution - but that's not the way I do my work. I'm not afraid to build something from scratch when that means the client gets a perfect implementation of what he needs.

      9 points
      • Danny Zabolotny, almost 6 years ago

        At my day job it's all about getting sites done as fast as possible. Two to four weeks is the usual amount of time I get for a full development. If not less than that. I've built sites in a matter of days to meet tight deadlines. That's my main reason for using Wordpress, it's very quick to put together and I have a lot of go-to methods and snippets that I use to speed up my development.

        0 points
    • Matt Anderson, 6 years ago

      Let's say the client wants to add a web store, a content gallery, real estate floor plans, or a portfolio of some kind, can your other CMS' handle it?

      Most of those examples you mentioned are incredibly easy to do with Kirby, dare I say even easier than Wordpress. (Save for the web store)

      I personally still use Wordpress for client sites, though i'd love to get to the stage Kirby is a viable alternative.

      1 point
      • Danny Zabolotny, almost 6 years ago

        Maybe it's because I've been using Wordpress for like 8 years, but I'm not really looking to switch away from it anytime soon. I'm super familiar with it, and it's super popular, why not keep using it? Web development isn't a competition to see who can use the newest CMS, it's about providing the client what they want in an efficient manner.

        0 points
  • Elie SlamaElie Slama, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I use Wordpress in this way:

    1. I install wordpress
    2. Download this theme (HTML5 Blank) : http://html5blank.com/
    3. Write down the structure of my pages (All the fields required) and use ACF to create my custom pages: http://www.advancedcustomfields.com/
    4. Create my php templates with my custom fields listed at the begining:



    Template Name: My custom page




    $bgLeft = get_field('bg-left');

    $bgRight = get_field('bg-right');

    $color = get_field('color');

    $content = get_field('content');


    <?php get_header(); ?>

    1. Manage my redirections by putting this snippets for the Wordpress default pages ('single.php', 'archive.php', etc...):

    <?php wpredirect( homeurl(), 301 ); ?>

    1. Deliver :)

    Hope this helps.

    3 points
    • Alex ChanAlex Chan, 6 years ago

      You should check out Timber for WordPress. Plays very nicely with ACF so your templates can actually be templates.

      1 point
    • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

      Looking at WP's inline mess of spaghetti code always makes me want to jump off a bridge. Raw executable PHP in a template? How did 2003 sneak its way to 2015?

      0 points
  • Jérémy BarbetJérémy Barbet, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I used prismic.io which is like a CMS with an API.

    TL;DR In a nutshell, prismic have two main parts: (1) a writing room where the client writes his content and (2) an API for you to retrieve the data and display it with the technology of your choice.

    The nice thing about prismic is the ability to describe your documents structure in JSON. Once you’ve described the structure of your documents, you can invite immediatly your client to enter the content.

    The writing room (the CMS back-office) is in SaaS so, no install, updates and hosting issues. It has good authoring features like :

    • Previewing drafts in the website
    • Documents versionning and history
    • Media library
    • A system of releases to schedule publishing
    • A/B testing variations…

    That’s for the writing part.

    From your side, you use your favorite technology to develop the front which displays the data from the JSON exposed by the prismic API. They have starter kits for any technology (PHP, scala, node.js, ruby, python, …).

    They also have a starter website in PHP that you can use to start quickly, and create your own website in 2 minutes : http://www.prismicwebsite.me you can also download the source code to edit the theme, or create your own theme.

    2 points
  • George PhillipsGeorge Phillips, 6 years ago

    I would suggest using Jekyll and if you need clients to update it you can connect cloudcannon.com. I am of course quite biased being a founder. Jekyll gives you full control over your code and CloudCannon allows you to add client editable interfaces. To add a photo gallery you can just use an array with images which could output to any format.

    2 points
  • Julian LloydJulian Lloyd, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Has anyone used Perch before?

    Reminds me a little of ExpressionEngine, but far simpler. I‘ve never tried Perch (or their new Runway) though…

    2 points
    • Tom HareTom Hare, 6 years ago

      Surprised Perch isn't mentioned more here. 'Simple' is an apt description but for the right reasons. It's very easy to get set up and understand how everything is put together. Adding new content fields, for example, is controlled by adding a Perch tag to your templates which means there's always a mental connect between the back- and front-end.

      If you need a large amount of custom functionality then you're probably better going with Wordpress for it's large community and plugins repository but Perch is a great option for smaller sites. Support and documentation is excellent and it's also now a pretty mature platform having been around since 2009.

      2 points
  • Tyler WanlassTyler Wanlass, 6 years ago

    +1 for Statamic (http://statamic.com). Flat file, incredibly fast and (optionally) can generate an entirely static site and allow you to ditch the CMS (admin panel) if not needed.

    2 points
  • Marek HrabeMarek Hrabe, 6 years ago

    I've coded a portfolio for my friend Tomas (designer) and I've decided to go with Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages. It was a good choice as it is free, fast to setup and he can edit his website right on GitHub without having a deep knowledge of git or anything. Whole website is based on a simple config file.

    For bigger projects I use KeystoneJS. It's basicly the "Wordpress" of node.js world. It involves a little bit of programming, but in return, it generates whole Administration just from models you define and that is a huge time-saver. I used that for our Mockuuups website and it powers everything there (product listings, blog, mailing, payment processing, back office…)

    To sum this up: Jekyll on GitHub is a perfect choice for small landing pages without much interactivity for clients that are not scared of editing something looking like a code. CMS (even some simple one) seems like a sane option if the client is not much tech-savvy or if the project needs some logic on server and has certain amount of data that will be impractical to keep outside of database.

    2 points
  • Daniel AdamsDaniel Adams, 6 years ago

    We're using Kirby and Middleman depending on the project/client. Both have their advantages.

    2 points
  • Chase GiuntaChase Giunta, 6 years ago

    Craft CMS. It's been a godsend for me. I'm solely an html/css guy, but with Craft I've been able to code a sports league site relatively easy. Coach/Athlete Registration, various user permissions, registration payments, event scheduling, results input, score keeping, etc... I don't need, nor want, a bloated mess like drupal or wordpress. Working with Twig has been awesome and easy. The community support is great as well.

    1 point
  • Max GlenisterMax Glenister, 6 years ago

    Depends on a couple of things:

    1. The needs of the client
    2. If I'm to be managing the site, how frequently it will be updated
    3. How much repetition there is in the layout/page s

    If it's a static site but features multiple pages with shared elements (nav, etc.) I'll use Jekyll [1] to generate the site.

    If it's slightly more dynamic, or if the client wants to be able to update it frequently (e.g. to update an events listing) I'll use Bolt CMS [2].

    [1] Jekyll: http://jekyllrb.com/ [2] Bolt CMS: https://bolt.cm/

    1 point
  • Rick LanceeRick Lancee, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Craft or kirbycms, maybe a full framework but that depends on the needs and the budget.

    1 point
  • Matt CoadyMatt Coady, 6 years ago

    I use drupal 7. I like the total power it offers but it'll probably be overkill for a lot of people starting out.

    1 point
  • David Adams, over 5 years ago

    I am using Craft CMS because it is very easy to install and also it is the most powerful and flexible CMS available today.

    0 points
  • Elena MaksimovichElena Maksimovich, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    At Dizzain.com we are using WordPress for different kinds of websites. And we absolutely love it.

    Big deal is that your client can manage content on web pages pretty easily. Really, lots of our customers who never worked with anything close to a 'CMS" before learned how to use WordPress admin panel quite fast.

    And also you are not limited in terms of design style and interface structure for the front end. Website won't look 'templatish'. See here how different and unique websites may look with WordPress as CMS - http://www.dizzain.com/blog_customization.

    0 points
  • Nathan HueningNathan Huening, 6 years ago

    The one and only Craft. Accept no substitutes.

    0 points
  • Brandon ZellBrandon Zell, almost 6 years ago

    If you have a simple site, Site Leaf might be a viable option. http://www.siteleaf.com/

    For something a bit more robust you could check out my new favorite cms: WebHook: http://www.webhook.com/

    0 points
  • Jaime SelvaJaime Selva, 6 years ago

    Depends of your needs, in my case I'm using TidyCMS, is so easy to install and very intuitive for my clients. I don't like the control panels like Wordpress, is not friendly.

    Unfortunately has some issues but I hope the team appear soon with the new version :)


    0 points
  • Muneef HameedMuneef Hameed, 6 years ago

    Jekyll or Drupal.

    0 points
  • Dan CoatesDan Coates, 6 years ago

    I've spent a fair bit of time looking into CMS's and the best free one that I have found is bolt: https://bolt.cm/. It is super powerful, has twig templating and is built on top of silex/symfony components.

    Flat file CMS's don't scale well and Drupal and Wordpress are frankly not suited to modern web development.

    0 points
  • Mike A.Mike A., 6 years ago

    My friends are building www.minorit.com - it is not a CMS but a layer above your website through which you can update / let your client update the website. Don't have an experience with that, but maybe an option...

    0 points
  • Jodi WarrenJodi Warren, 6 years ago

    90% of the time we're using Wordpress in some capacity. It's usually a combo of ACF Pro, some custom plugins, and our own custom fork of Roots. We've made it all very flexible and powerful. It's a very rare day when a client has to come to us post-launch to change their content.

    If we need e-commerce then we use WooCommerce. It's never just tacked on to a project though, they're always builds that are designed from the ground up to support ecommerce. If there are complex form needs, then we often use Gravity Forms. Again, it's something that we build/design for carefully.

    I've used Craft for a few example/portfolio sites. It's very good out of the box, but tbh I think the client experience with WP & ACF Pro is even better.

    I've not used Kirby, but I don't see not using a database as an advantage for most of our clients' sites. Most of our clients would be as scared of an FTP program as they would of an SQL client.

    0 points
  • Alex ChanAlex Chan, 6 years ago

    I use WordPress + Timber + Advanced Custom Fields. It gives me basically everything I need.

    I have been itching to try out KirbyCMS and Craft CMS, but every client has always requested WordPress.

    0 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, 6 years ago

    That's the wrong way to put it, it depends on the client's needs - how often they will need to update it, what technica expertise do the people writing the content have and so on. Each CMS (or a static website) fits a particular sitution.

    0 points
  • Elie SlamaElie Slama, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Hello; Testing Code;

    Why this doesn't diplay like code ? Weird...

    0 points