Why should you choose a CMS and not a custom development partner?
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Why should you choose a CMS and not a custom development partner?

By Syed Zainul Haque July 26, 2018 - 3,199 views

Every business has different needs, and this truism is reflected in deciding the kind of website a particular business must have. Each company’s web development requirements are different too and the only factor that’s common among business websites is that they all need a content management system (CMS) to function.

A CMS helps you to add, edit, and manage content on your website. While there are already readymade CMS tools available (Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress, etc.), there is also the option of custom development of CMS, right from scratch.

While readymade CMS helps businesses to get their websites up and running in no time, custom development of websites has its own advantages. Highly complex projects require custom development, in order to make sure that all the requirements of a client are met. Yet, even many complex projects can be undertaken with just Drupal if your developers are experienced enough.

In this article, let us take an objective look at the differences between CMS and custom development, and what you should choose for your web requirements.

What is CMS development and who is it for?

A Content Management System (CMS) is uncomplicated and comes with all the features you would expect from a fully-functional website. Without the need to start from scratch, you will be able to choose from a template and set up navigation, file management, databases, libraries, etc. in a short period of time. Third-party plug-ins are always available for all the popular CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!. Drupal, in particular, is suitable for extremely complex websites, while being perfect for simple business websites at the same time.

An experienced developer can customise Drupal and program it to run better than any custom developed website at a fraction of the cost. Most importantly, it takes very little time to set up a CMS-based website and get it up and running. Multi-user management is easy and complex graphics can be displayed efficiently with no errors or bugs. Most importantly, regular updates keep your websites safe and secure, without you having to worry too much about security risks.

CMS-based websites have very few errors and development community is widely accessible if you need any assistance. Of course, customisation can prove to be difficult if you choose the wrong vendor but when you find the right partner, using a CMS is the quickest, simplest, and the most affordable path to setting up even complex websites.

CMS websites are great for just about anything. Whether you want to set up a simple website or a complex web portal that runs a number of online processes, a CMS-based website can handle it all.

What is custom development and who is it for?

If we are discussing custom development, you can expect your developers to code the website right from scratch to finish. It sounds like an attractive process but it is going to cost a lot more than CMS development. There are obvious benefits to custom coding, such as better control with respect to what you can do with a website or a page, and how quickly you can get it to load. However, the same results can be achieved with CMS as well.

  • Developers will need to be proficient in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL,, etc., and should be able to decide if you really need custom development.
  • Custom development costs significantly higher than regular CMS development because developers need to build a new website right from scratch.
  • Most of the times, custom development is not necessary and is a bit of overkill.
  • It also takes a long time to debug errors.
  • If you ever change your development vendor, you might face issues if the next developer isn’t as proficient to read code written by someone else.

While it isn’t hard to find agencies that specialise in all the languages required for custom development, the time and skills that they will need to utilise for building a website for you right from scratch will result in exorbitant bills. Most businesses that need a website for corporate or eCommerce purposes do not need custom development. Instead, they can get an open source CMS such as Drupal or Joomla! customised to suit their needs. In fact, we have engaged in Drupal development for some of the most complex projects pertaining to very large enterprises.

Does your business need CMS or custom development?

In most cases, you will not require custom development. As discussed, custom development takes a longer time to complete the project and is invariably very expensive and difficult to manage. On the other hand, CMS websites are quick to install, can be customised as per your requirements, and there are umpteen number of third-party plugins available if you need complex features. In fact, there are superior plugins that can do a lot more than you might imagine. Unless the situation calls for it, you only need to consider a good partner to set up a CMS-based website.

Use Case 1

eCommerce business needs a website that can handle heavy traffic and payments

Requirement: An eCommerce business required a website that would not only handle high web traffic but also to ensure that all payments went through in a safe and secure manner. The business wanted a website that looked unique and placed stress on ease of use.

Solution: Indus Net Technologies developed a Drupal-based website that was sturdy and stable. Customizing Drupal code was enough to make the website appear the way the client wanted. As Drupal loads quickly, and is particularly suited for heavy traffic, the website we build for the client was a success.

Results: The website was easy to use, could handle high web traffic, and payments went through secure PCI DSS-compliant servers. The business saw more people purchasing products due to an increase in customer trust.

Use Case 2

A large financial institution needed a web portal to sell its insurance products and help customers manage their accounts.

Requirements: The insurance giant needed a web portal which would help its customers to manage their own policies, pay premiums, and engage in other self-service activities. The client also needed the website to be safe and secure, as it would handle large amounts of financial and personal information of consumers.

Solution: Drupal again proved to be the CMS platform of choice. Drupal is sturdy and stable and is designed to process complex data and load web pages quickly. We developed a Drupal-based website and integrated third-party plugins for special requirements. With adequate customization, the website was up and running in a short while.

Results: The insurance giant was able to offer customer self-service and promote this as an added feature. It gained a competitive edge over its peers and was able to make insurance policies more accessible to people, cutting out the need for middlemen. It experienced an increase in the number of policies sold, and its staff had to answer fewer customer calls, thanks to customer self-service.

Use Case 3

A government organization needed a web platform to help its citizens connect with its services better.

Requirements: An Indian government entity needed a website to help its citizens connect with government programs easily, and access information quickly. The government websites are strictly controlled and have to meet certain technical requirements.

Solution: As this project was related to a large government entity, and they had their own technical protocols, it was important to develop the website according to their requirements. In this case, we used custom development as opposed to CMS customization and installation.

Results: Citizens in that particular province were able to connect with the government easily, and access information they needed. The website met the technical requirements of the government, as per its protocols.

Do let us know if you have specific questions as comments. Our team of experts will revert back at the earliest.


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