Choosing a content management system can be a harrowing task and it is tempting to just dump a bunch of capital into a static site and move onto other business. Open source or proprietary? Templates or fully customized? Which features? How do I install it? And the headaches go on. A conversation I recently had with [name removed] unveiled a world of proprietary content management systems, such as Ektron, that are incredibly powerful and reliable. The typical deployment with one of these system is over $20K. Because, Yardstick serves primarily small to medium-sized companies, we frequently find ourselves recommending one of three open-source solutions.

Firstly, if you are a blogger and you want your own site – as opposed to a page on blogger.com – then WordPress is the cms for you. It has become the de facto standard for blogs. It’s features and plug-ins are so broad that many small companies use it for their corporate brochure sites. I’ve always enjoyed how easy it was to get a template and throw together a blog that looks and feels exactly like everyone thinks a blog should.

My favorite content management system for corporate brochures is Joomla. It is a bit on the heavy side in terms of the front-end and back-end (which affects load time). And it doesn’t cater to developers and designers that like a lot of freedom and flexibility. But once you’ve learned how to use Joomla, it is an amazingly fast and powerful cms. I have yet to find a product that let’s me build corporate brochure sites that look as sharp with as many features as Joomla. If you hadn’t guessed, this website is built with Joomla…which beguiles one final weakness. It just doesn’t create blogs as nicely as WordPress.

For larger projects that require customization or innovation, I recommend Drupal. Vancouver has a very large Drupal community and it has become very popular with design firms that work in the $15K – $200K market. The only major downside with Drupal is the cost to develop a site will be higher than with WordPress or Joomla.

Just be sure that you understand what your business needs are before you choose a CMS. And if in doubt, elicit the help of an expert.