By Diana Merkel, Owner, Pinkshag Design
During the development phase of your web site, the final web design is completed and built out to work in multiple browsers and a variety of devices. It is more important than ever that sites are built to be “responsive” and are able to be viewed both on laptops, desktops, phones and tablets (see The Trade-Offs of Adapting Your Website for Mobile Users). Open source platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, ExpressionEngine and Concrete 5 are all popular platforms on which to develop a site. Each has a whole community of developers building themes, modules, plugins and widgets that are available for the public to integrate into their site (some are free, some are paid, but all are typically very affordable).
TIP: Request training for how to edit your own site content. Even if you are going to have the design team handle these edits, a training session helps you to have a more in-depth understanding of how your site is built and how content is added. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by learning how to upload and update some of your own content!
Some of the top advantages of open source platforms are:
1. Greater Security
Often, open source platforms are more secure that proprietary platforms. When security issues arise in the open source world, the whole development community is alerted, and steps can be taken very quickly to update sites to eliminate the problem.
2. Better Functionality and Quality
Since several thousand developers are contributing code to open source platforms, the functionality of what is developed is typically well thought out and tested, and is often superior to a proprietary solution that may only have a few collaborators involved.
3. Less Expense
Since open source code is available to anyone who knows how to use it, building a site with pre-built modules or plugins typically saves on development time, and therefore is a far less expensive way to build out a site. Of course, costs can vary depending on how much customization is needed on a particular build. Also worth noting: proprietary content management systems can lock you into expensive hosting, with open source solutions, you can host with the company of your choice.
TIP: Be sure you have access to any hosting, url registration and administrative passwords for your site. Your design team should be happy to provide you with this information.