Overall Satisfaction with Concrete5
A problem many organizations face is communication between departments. A library system is no different. I am the only IT person for the system so in addition to maintaining the network and supporting end users I am also the web developer and webmaster. Developing a website is the easy part. Maintaining the content is the struggle. Mainly due to the fact that updated information is never passed my way. When it came time to revamp our library website I wanted each department to be in charge of updating their own content. To do this I needed a CMS. I downloaded and installed several of the common CMS solutions but I found there seemed to be a significant learning curve. I am used to constantly learning new software. But if I wanted our staff to embrace updating content on our website I knew I had to make it easy. One day I was reading some reviews online and came across Concrete5. The part of the review that stood out to me was mention of an "easy interface". I installed it and in no time at all determined it was the solution for us.
- Concrete5's editing features was the big one for us. If you can edit a Word document you can edit content on your website.
- Permissions was another deciding factor in my choice to use Concrete5. I wanted to give staff permission to only update certain areas. Not only does this help to protect the website but it simplifies the process for staff. They do not get confused with too many options. Their mission is simple.
- The Concrete5 Marketplace has several addons and themes available, many of which are free. This was huge for us considering we are a public library working with a limited budget.
- The Concrete5 community is great. Many communities have a lot of participation but sometimes the tone can be a bit pretentious thus helping no one. Although the Concrete5 community might not have as many participants as some of the others I've always found the people extremely helpful.
- I found the built in Composer to be cumbersome. I opted to purchase the ProBlog addon for more features and ease of use.
- At times Concrete5 can be a little sluggish.
- Concrete5 is FREE and I was able to find several free addons and themes to work off of. This made it a great investment for us.
- The content on our website is up to date and constantly changing thanks to the easy user interface. Our staff quickly embraced it and continues to use it.
- Most importantly it's stable. I've never had downtime.
Before discovering Concrete5 I installed and looked at Drupal and Joomla. I never completely built a site using either one. I found there to be too steep of a learning curve for the end user. I've used WordPress to edit content on other sites although I've never built a site using WordPress. Again, the editing features just do not stack up to Concrete5. I've seen beautiful sites created using each of these CMS solutions. For me what it comes down to is handing over the baton after the site is built. I want the user to feel comfortable and confident with their abilities to edit their new site.
I installed Concrete5 on our in-house web server. I've also used Concrete5 for a few freelance jobs using a hosting service. I've noticed better site performance on the site hosted by the in-house server. This shouldn't be a surprise considering our web server is dedicated to only our site. There is a noticeable difference with the response time on the sites using a hosting service utilizing a shared server. If you are looking to build a large site you may want to look into having your own web server. Or, checkout the various different hosting options available and choose the plan that makes the most sense for your business needs.