Converting PSD to WordPress or PSD to Joomla! is one of the mainstreams in the design-to-HTML/CSS slicing market now. But sometimes customers of these services don’t exactly understand which of the content management systems (CMS) is the most appropriate for their website and business goals.
There is a great variety of CMSs on the Web now, though some of them have already gained general acceptance. WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Magento are definitely among the leaders today, at least amid the free open-source CMSs. Each of them has its own specialty and suits some particular objectives. Knowing that difference as well as their strengths and weaknesses can be very helpful when choosing a CMS for your own website.
Content Management Systems – Definition in Brief
Many websites have a lot in common, in particular, one and the same groups of functions: menus, contact and order forms, on-site search, user registration and authentication, comments, spam protection, news feeds, as well as image galleries, product catalogs, etc.
A content management system provides such typical functional blocks as a set of ready-made but customizable modules plus an environment to manage them, as well as some other functionality for writing, collaborative work, reporting, etc. Users can choose necessary modules and additional plug-ins, set them up in accordance with their needs and, as a result, essentially simplify the website development as well as content (texts, images, video, documents) publication and update.
Moreove, CMSs help to:
- Keep a website organized as a comprehensive whole
- Increase data security, control access to data
- Reduce the site maintenance or update costs
- Improve communication and content contribution for visitors
- Provide version control
Choosing CMS: Step 1 – Define the Requirements
First of all define the requirements to the website:
- Specify main sections and functions of your website that are of the highest priority. Commonly they include, but are not limited to: pages with a basic information (about a company, its services or products), news and promo actions, product catalogs, ordering systems, photo galleries, etc.
- Social media functions and integration – What social media do you plan to use and whether you need such options as blogs, forums, tagging, content syndication, comments, user generated content?
- Editorial features – Visual text editors, spell-checker presence, adding video or images.
- Multilingual support – Do you need support for multiple languages? Any localization or translation?
Also, evaluate the following points:
- Weigh up your security requirements
- Think up whether you expect to use 3rd party technical support or intend to manage the site by yourself
Step 2: Make a Short List of Possible Candidates
When you have more or less clear requirements to a CMS, you can make a short list of possible ‘candidates’.
There are free and paid CMSs in the market now. Small and medium businesses often prefer, at least for a start, free open source CMSs. In fact, their implementation is not completely free of charge because usually you need some assistance in their installation and especially customization and adaptation.
Below we consider the most popular free open source content management systems in more detail.
Drupal is a widely accepted CMS allowing to build many different types of web pages – from simple web blogs to large online communities.
Among the core Drupal advantages are the following:
- Robust and secure development platform
- Extremely developer friendly
- Dozens of functions and modules available
- Extendable data structures (i.e. fields in core) – Makes all data flexible at the interface level
- Can aggregate RSS feeds
- Integrated with Google Analytics
- Support custom theme development and custom design
- One module to install for a fully functioning e-commerce shop
Though Drupal is not very designer and user-friendly. For those having little code knowledge it is usually very hard to make very cool things with Drupal. That is why getting a Drupal website could cost you more time and money. Another Cons to be noted are also:
- Used primarily for large community sites
- Not designed for out of the box business websites
Joomla! is now one of the most popular and recognized content management systems, suitable for creating corporate websites, online magazines, community-based portals, etc. Joomla! has a lot of build-in features as well as a large choice of extra modules and components.
Noteworthy Joomla! features are:
- Easy installation and mastering
- A lot of extensions available
- Additional modules/components development, design integration
- Custom modification and customization
Though among the weaknesses should be noted:
- Extensions usually cost money
- Can be security concerns with 3rd party components
- Hard to scale up to a large website
- Requires additional efforts to make it entirely SEO friendly
- Hard to integrate other scripts and packages into your site
WordPress is definitely the most popular blog platform, though can be used for developing a complex content-driven website too. It is very easy to use and few modifications are needed, excellent for blogging or sharing thoughts in a sequential manner and easy-to-learn for not techie users. Pluses:
- A lot of pre-developed templates, popular add-on modules available for free
- No server experience required
- Friendly theming system
- Sometimes difficult to adapt to specific requirements
- 3rd party modules can cause unexpected results and conflict with each other
- Quite vulnerable to spam attacks, often targeted by spammers and hackers
- Fixing some bugs often results in the appearance of new bugs
Magento can be used to develop modern, dynamic web applications.
Here is a small part of Magento platform Pros list:
- Ready to use solution
- Easy to configure
- Readily available open source plug-ins and add-ons
- Good multi-language support
- Quite a good solution for small and medium e-commerce needs
- SEO friendly: Google site map, full control of URLs, etc.
Some Magento Cons:
- Functionality limited to e-Commerce requirements
- Lesser content management features
- Making templates is time consuming
- Integration with other systems is questionable
- Not suitable for a large number of users and high data transactions
- Not well documented
PSD to WordPress and PSD to CMS Conversion Distinctions to Take into Account
After selecting a CMS and creating a website design, the next step is converting prepared .PSD image into HTML CSS code and CMS implementation. Here are some general preliminary remarks about this process which can be useful to take into account when choosing a CMS.
From the PSD to HTML conversion point of view cutting a design into a CMS theme has its own peculiarities. To some extent they are a reverse side of CMS advantages such as presence of standard functional blocks, a predefined file structure, etc. Really, in case of CMS the HTML and CSS code and its structure should obey additional rules and agreements in order to be correctly integrated into the CMS environment.
This all requires from a PSD to HTML coder specific and detailed knowledge of the CMS features and programming conventions. A coder should be more careful when slicing a design into a CMS theme because of a more complex file structure, files interconnection and code allocation in the different CMS parts. In contrast to the PSD to HTML conversion for usual websites there is more programming job (typically in the PHP language), e.g. in order to create templates for the different website elements (pages, posts, categories, etc.) Also, the CMSs have some ‘bottlenecks’ which should be known to a coder to realize one or another design feature.
That is why a direct PSD to WordPress or PSD to Joomla! conversion is usually more effective and fast than a two-stage process when firstly one provider slices a PSD design into HTML and then another company provides a CMS theme implementation and specific HTML CSS code adaptation.
Step 3: Try It Out
Before making a final decision, it is better to test the waters in more detail and try out the pre-selected CMS. It is preferable not to stop at a demo version as it is already set up and will surely work. Install a regular CMS version onto your server and see by your own eyes what it is all about and how convenient it is in work and maintenance. Also, review available plug-ins for this CMS, especially free ones, and what they can do.
Results of such an investigation can help to define more realistic and detailed requirement to a CMS as well as refine the preliminary design of your website.
To a large extent, the choice of CMS determines the future of your website, possibilities for its development, maintenance and upgrade. There are a lot of good content management systems now (e.g., above mentioned WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Magento, just to name a few). But all of them have their own strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration when selecting a CMS as well as a company that will provide PSD to WordPress or PSD to Joomla! conversion and CMS implementation for you.