CMS Critic Recommends... - July Edition

Welcome to the July edition of our new monthly recommendations posts. This edition focuses on recommending a number of products based on the types of requests we've seen come through from companies and individuals in the market for a CMS. Hopefully, you will find the right product for your needs by reviewing these recommendations lists.

Of course, should you find yourself needing additional assistance, you can contact us and we'll be happy to provide you some consulting for a low hourly rate, or, if finances are a problem, comment here and we'll do our best to respond.

On with this month's edition….

I receive a lot of questions from people who are looking for an easier way to manage their existing web pages and are interested in adding them to a CMS. Some of the main reasons for wanting to do this are:

Rest assured there are many solutions on the market that can help you accomplish this goal. Today, we're going to take the time to introduce you to some of these solutions.

There are numerous systems that are available for the integration of existing websites that were designed before CMS' started to become more and more popular. One of the best solutions to really take this to the next level, in our opinion, is Surreal CMS. Surreal offers what we feel is one of the easiest and painless ways of integrating multiple sites into one simple and easy-to-use CMS interface that we've seen to date.

Instances when you would use this type of CMS:

  1. You would like to hand off the maintenance of the website to someone with little or no HTML knowledge or background.
  2. You would like to add some additional security to your site by making it more manageable from a centralized interface with usernames and passwords.
  3. You find it frustrating and more difficult than you feel it should be to add content to your site quickly and easily.
  4. You have clients that have, or you have, multiple websites that need to be integrated into a single CMS.

SurrealCMS does this all, with ease and with a nice interface that will make your clients and you smile.

Don't believe us? Check out this video showcasing how simple it really is:

Interested? The basic package is free, can't beat that with a stick. Check it out at the Surreal CMS website.

The second most common question we've been getting a lot of lately has gone a little something like this:

I need a system that makes it easy for me, as a non-designer, to really come up with something special and unique for my website. I want to be able to do this myself or with very little training. I would also like something that takes care of the whole SEO thing for me and last but not least, I want it hosted (SaaS – Software as a service).

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions out there that fit this bill. Unfortunately, they aren't always obvious to people, so let's make a list shall we?

In order of my personal preference:

  1. Squarespace – recommended by many an SEO expert, Squarespace has probably one of the nicest and most feature-rich platforms for designing a website, period. It contends with some of the more prominent CMS platforms that cost far more and it has built-in (and nice) analytics. You can try it for free at their website.  Did you think we'd make you learn about it all by yourself? Heck no, we went ahead and did a review just for you. You can check it out here: Squarespace Review
  2. Gutensite – Gutensite, like Squarespace, takes the complication out of setting up a CMS. It's a beautiful system with a ton of power. Its only fault is that there is so much you can do that it can get a little bit overwhelming. This, however, also makes it quite powerful and because we love you so much, we reviewed it to: Gutensite Review.
  3. LightCMS – LightCMS has slightly fewer options than the above two but wins big points for customer service. They have an amazing response time and a system that is not at all overwhelmed with features. It's easy to use, cost-efficient, and generally pretty. You can check it out at LightCMS (we haven't got around to reviewing this one yet, sorry!)

Ok. That takes care of the most common questions we received for June 2010. Please add to the mix in the comments below and we'll answer your questions there and who knows, we may even add them to next month's edition.

As always, Happy CMS'ing.

The CMS Critic Team.