CMS Platforms You Should Know Inside Out

Posted by Methylated on August 31, 2012

These are 3 of the most popular Content Management System (CMS) platforms everyone trying to make money online should become familiar with. WordPress, Magento, and Drupal. This is not a competition between these CMS platforms, but common places where each CMS would be ideal.

In the text is an activity to get you up to speed with each CMS. Each activity will be to install the CMS, build an example site, add content, install and setup a theme, and install plugins for some customization. The activities here are essential to learning the CMS because they handle common client requests and get you up to speed right away. They are not in-depth technical tutorials because enough of those exist online already. Some resources will be included.

While the activities do require you to search Google to figure out the next step, the knowledge and experience acquired is beneficial, especially to developers who can customize each CMS, sell plugins, and so forth. Designers benefit from learning each templating system and selling themes or widgets for each CMS.¬†Even if you’re neither, just installing, administering and upgrading a CMS for clients can be a decent fulltime job if you’re willing to push yourself to make the example sites listed for each platform.

To learn, attempt the following exercise before going with each hypothetical user-case below.

  • Install CMS on your server
  • Login to admin panel
  • Install a recent theme without sample content.
  • Add in real content so your site matches the “live demo” of the theme you installed
  • Setup or install plugins to do the following:
      Have a working contact form.
    Make sure RSS feed, sitemap, and SEO URLs are up and working for each theme
    (use plugins for some of these.)
    Customize the logo.
    Make sure slider works (if available in your theme.)

WordPress: WordPress is a robust, intuitive and mature CMS initially built as a blogging platform. Ideal for blogs, small to large static business sites and online portfolios, lightweight e-commerce (handful of items, low traffic), for those looking to build a site around a specific subject (an information site), or for a light CMS to be used as a backend to your landing pages (though specialized CMS’ for this do exist.)
Magento: This open source app is a beast for handling high traffic heavyweight e-commerce sites. While WordPress or Drupal may perform well as eCommerce solutions for sites selling a handful of projects, Magento is fit to handle thousands of products and hundreds of categories, with features like tiered pricing, upselling/cross-selling and everything you would expect in an ecommerce CMS.

This PHP platform features superb inventory management, support for numerous payment gateways (>50), full customization of your store and the ability to build unlimited stores over a single inventory system. One of the best solutions for tackling a big e-commerce project.

Magento uses an XML based templating system that is difficult to adapt to at first, but in the market right now offers an exciting source of revenue for teams willing to theme this CMS.
Drupal: This is a PHP based open source CMS ideal for sites that offer a bit more interactivity than WordPress. While plugins exist to do practically anything in WordPress and Drupal, the latter is built with security in mind, support for user management, to be continued…



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