Journal

Back

Building with Craft CMS 1st June 2018

The landscape of content management systems is an ever-changing and often controversial subject. Rightly or wrongly, WordPress dominates the market — enjoying anywhere between 36% and 53% of the market, depending on metric — with outsiders such as Drupal and Joomla! making up some of the remainder. But what's the difference and why does it matter?

A content management system (CMS) is essential for on-going management of a website following the design and development stages. It allows users to add and edit content, write blog posts and periodically update the site. All the aforementioned products will do that job, but very much in varying degrees of quality.

At Barn + Co, we design and build bespoke and original websites for our clients. We don't use templates and we don't use frameworks. We don't start every project with the same barebones structure or features. Everything is unique. Enter Craft CMS.

"Craft was made for bespoke websites and mobile applications, where strong control over branding and content types are a priority..."

Whilst WordPress is by far the most well-known CMS around today, it is also one of the bulkiest. Simply clicking 'view source' on any WordPress-based site reveals lines upon lines of unnecessary code. All this spurious data leads to bigger files and makes it harder for search engines to interpret the site, evident from Pingdom and Google PageSpeed scores.

The code we write is clean and concise and Craft CMS allows us to keep the codebase to a minimum when strapping it into the system, leading to vastly reduced file sizes and load times and thus contributing to the overall 'search engine friendliness' of the website.

"...it's optimised for creating experiences from scratch, rather than modifying existing themes."

Once setup, the various 'sections' and 'fields' within Craft make it possible to construct pages with various elements and parts, based on pre-defined rules and styles. This gives more flexibility than other CMS offerings that often rely on strict per-page styling, whereas with Craft we can build shared elements such as galleries and sliders into a page, as required.

The recent release of Craft CMS v3 brought with it a brand new Plugin Store which adds an even greater level of flexibility and extendability, and also a simplified pricing structure:

  • Solo — Free
  • Pro — $299 plus $59/year for updates

The Solo license is enough to power any size website with the main limitation being the number of user accounts (just one). Pro adds the functionality for additional user accounts, system branding and developer support. As Craft is a self-hosted product, there are also hosting costs on top of the above but these are usually nominal, depending on requirements.

Whilst it is by no means impossible to create neat and efficient sites in WordPress or Drupal, we now use Craft as our go-to product when deploying websites. It is our view that the flexibility and performance, coupled with the user-centric backend significantly out-perform the competition.

Want to find out more?

If you'd like to find out more about building your site with Craft CMS or to discuss your project in more detail with us, then get in touch today.