Never have there been more options for designing a website, from the $5.99/month services to open-source, blog-like platforms to fully custom-programmed behemoths. You can get great results regardless of which direction you go, so a little research is required to see what meets your immediate and future needs. You may run into developers that call WordPress and similar sites little more than glorified blogs. But while many of them began life as blog platforms, they have since grown into more complete CMS solutions.

The site you are on was built using WordPress. Having said that, don’t for get about the open-source option if you are looking to have a website built.

As for me, and for IRONCLAD, we have found open-source platforms are the way to go. We can offer a robust set of features tailored to any budget. The best part is you are not tied down to a proprietary CMS system. A custom-programmed site can have great CMS capabilities, but if you end your relationship with the company that built it, the company will export static pages and you lose ALL ability to edit – unless you go into the code. Open-source is different. You have a framework that any developer can edit so you can take the site wherever you want while maintaining all of its CMS capabilities.

Plugins are available to accomplish virtually any task from stocks and weather to making your site a secure online shopping cart. There is also an abundance of themes out there that cost from nothing on up. Need mobile capabilities? No need to build a second site or even set up a mobile subdomain. Simply choose a responsive template and the content automatically adjusts to fit the screen size.

Of course, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. As with anything else, there are drawbacks. The more plugins there are, the more you have to monitor for updates. However, there is even a plugin that will email you when plugins need an update (I wonder if it does that for itself).

With so many options for the open-source platforms, almost anyone can get exactly what they want without the strings. Here’s a short list of some of the more popular platforms.

Concrete 5
Hero Framework

Do you have any experiencing in using these platforms? Good, bad, indifferent, I’d Love to hear about it.

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