All Content Management Systems are Proprietary

Back in the web’s early years, a common misconception existed for those shopping for a website – it had to look good to be effective.

Having been in the Search Engine Optimization business for 14 years, it was easy for us to pinpoint and explain that misconception away.

Fast forward a few years and we’re faced with another common buying misconception – that it’s right to be afraid of a “proprietary CMS” owned by a development shop.

At the end of the day, no matter where the original source comes from, as soon as you alter any CMS, it is instantly “proprietary.”

Whether you use any of the free open source stuff (they all have their weaknesses) like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc., or a purchased solution like SiteCore, Magento, etc., you are inheriting someone else’s code with varying availability of documentation and true availability of actual source code.

But the minute you have any development shop or ad agency take that base system and modify it, you are now living with proprietary code, even if the firm you hired doesn’t understand that.

Content Management Systems are getting better everyday. Developers are spending countless hours on very specific features and functionality to offer their customers “the most features out of the box.”

But the box isn’t perfect. So, you have to adjust and tinker with them to get them to work the way you want them to. It takes real work. That leaves two options:

  • One, grab up something open source, with its many weaknesses and warts, and try to add the code you need to make it work…making it propriety in the process.
  • Two, invest in a CMS that was designed to be customized and adapted to suit your specific needs and has professionally-built proprietary code.

Either way, you’ve got a CMS with proprietary code. But it’s important to remember that the type of proprietary code you’re dealing with might be scary:

Option one – the free CMS with proprietary code? Yeah, that’s scary.

Option two – the system with professionally built code that comes with a TRUE understanding and explanation of what it is? That’s common sense.

Geoff is our fearless leader – President & Owner of TKG, a role he’s held proudly for the past 15 years. He likes to talk “big picture” online marketing trends and strategy, and how/why businesses can use the web to achieve their goals. He’s also a passionate Steelers fan; we felt you should know that.

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