Hold on to your hats, we're going inside a website...

What's a CMS?

First things first - let's get on the same page! In brief, a content management system, or "CMS", is software that sits behind a website allowing site administrators to manage pages. They can do a lot more than that, of course, but the crux of their purpose is to enable easy editing of website content. Most good websites have one but there are many different options out there.

Let's talk Concrete5

A bit of background info; the Concrete5 content management system has been around since the early 2000s but has arguably never enjoyed the spotlight or popularity of other systems such as WordPress and Joomla. As with many others it is free to use, open-source and has its own marketplace for plugins and extensions. It's healthier than ever on the development front with new releases coming thick and fast.

Costs, capabilities and customisations

On its own Concrete5 is completely free to download, install and use. You'll need some (PHP-based) hosting of course but there are otherwise no setup costs. An out-of-the-box installation is unlikely to meet your business needs, however, so you might look into themes (some free, some paid) and add-ons (also free and paid options) on the marketplace. This is the same with most CMS.

If you've got a dream and a good developer, Concrete5 can pretty much manage anything. It's capable of being the backbone for simple 'business card' websites, blogs, eCommerce shops, and even more advanced web applications. Whether it is the best option for all of the above is another matter, though.

The core building mechanic of Concrete5 is a drag-and-drop system that works with things called 'blocks', similar to what WordPress now offers with it's Gutenberg update but more visual. You can also create layouts and control certain aesthetic properties of page content from within the page itself. There are plenty of system settings that allow for further tweaking of SEO, performance and general site information. Many things come as is, including social share icons, video players and image sliders.

Concrete5 is a Content Management System (CMS) that has been around for nearly two decades, is free and regularly updated.

Concrete5 use in business website design

Everything so far is all well and good, but how can Concrete5 work for your business website - that's why we are all here!

  • Though Concrete5 does feature a capable drag and drop web building interface, it perhaps isn't as 'easy' to get on with as other offerings such as Wix or WordPress. That's meant in the sense that an average non-developer would be able to get setup with a site in those services quicker than in Concrete5. There's definitely a steeper learning curve.
  • BUT: once you've got a knack for it, Concrete5 is a very powerful system that would typically give an administrator a lot more control and options than a standard install of WordPress, for example.
  • It's theme library might not be as extensive as others' but creating custom themes is fairly straightforward for a developer.
  • Possibly the best feature from a business owner's perspective is the visual editing you are able to do - i.e. you edit pages while looking at them, rather than changing content then having to preview the changes on another page etc.
  • The code produced by Concrete5 is typically more streamlined than that produced in say WordPress, which has the potential to easily create bloated slow websites. That means a faster website, better SEO and generally improved user experiences.
  • One big disadvantage, though, with Concrete5 is that it isn't really a go-to for eCommerce. Setting up a shop in other CMS is a function promoted more prominently and, while is it possible, in Concrete5 there's no real equivalent for WooCommerce for example.

Does Devetecho use Concrete5?

Yes! Concrete5 is one of the systems used in website production here. The simplicity of the backend system and click-to-change page editing are both great for clients who want to be able to easily edit their website themselves.

Ultimately, the choice of CMS is always made with the client in mind; whichever will meet the project requirements while benefiting you in the long run.

It can be a great alternative to WordPress for simple websites, but it can't currently compete with the popular eCommerce systems that WordPress supports.

Enough Talk. Let's Talk.


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