Open Source Content Management Systems vs. Proprietary Content Management Systems : An Unbiased Outlook - Part Three

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    Now that I have laid out for you the pros and cons of open source CMS, let me give you the rundown on proprietary CMS. Remember, in our first article we noted that proprietary content management systems are run by private companies that are in charge of the features, functionality and maintenance of the software. 

    What are the benefits of choosing a Proprietary CMS?

    Like open-source, there are many different proprietary CMS software, but the key factor is being comfortable with the company behind them. They must have the expertise to not only keep your website running, but be able to invest in the continual improvement of their product.  Other benefits include:

    • Building a Brand - Your online presence is an important part of your marketing strategy, but only one component. You want to be able to build a brand around your website, therefore you need to own the design that is created for you.
    • Custom Design - You would like custom development or a custom design for your website that is yours and only yours. Once it’s created, it’s yours and it can be used across other digital and marketing platforms like email, branding, and literature.
    • Support – With proprietary software, you will have a ticketed system for support calls and inquiries whenever you need help. Typically, support is included in the monthly fee along with hosting, so no need to jump through hoops or ask a community for help when you’re having an issue – you can talk to a live person.
    • Content Modification Only - You’re not necessarily interested in modifying the codebase for your website, your primary concern is modifying content
    • No Updates - You don’t want to worry about software updates, bug fixes or other security issues, a proprietary solution will do all of these on your behalf as well as testing to make sure each release is not going to affect your website
    • Hosting – Proprietary software will host your website for you through their company.
    • Advanced Security - You want a secure system right out of the gate with optional advanced security features to further protect your site and data
    • Predetermined Platform – You won’t have to decide which platform is right for your website, nor will have you to find plugins and add ons to make your site easily up and running. Proprietary software has this all predetermined for you.

    What are the cons of using Proprietary CMS?

    The key issue with finding a proprietary CMS first and foremost lies in the company you choose to partner with. It is a partnership and collaboration, so make sure you feel comfortable with the product, the team you’ll be working with, and the support system. Spend time weighing the pros and cons, but also feel comfortable and sure in your company choice.

    • No Community – Proprietary software means that not everyone can contribute to the features of the system. They will be pre-defined and developed by an internal team.
    • Less Customization – Because on team is handling the entire software, it will be harder to find add-ons and plugins that can easily adapt to your website and system.
    • Licensing Fee – Often with proprietary software, you have to pay to use it. You could be contracted month-to-month or locked in for as long as a year at a time.
    • Hosting – Proprietary software will host your website for you through their company. This is a pro for some, a con for others because
    • Ensure Ownership – Make sure that you own your design and have access to both that and the content on your website. That typically is a default with most, but always a need.

    All in all, there are good and bad points from any platform. None are perfect. Look at your budget, look at your needs, make a pro con list for what you’re looking for within your system and for your website and decide what is best for your business.

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    About the Author

    Emily Oskay Gerrick

    Emily joined the Marketpath team in December of 2014 as a User Experience (UX) Designer. She serves as the product designer for Marketpath CMS, and the lead designer for the Pro Services division. Emily works directly with clients to establish their online marketing goals and outlines any functional requirements the custom website may need before designing client websites.

    Emily obtained her Masters of Science in Information Architecture & Knowledge Management with a concentration in User Experience Design from Kent State University in 2018. She previously attended Purdue University and graduated from Purdue University in May of 2013 with a B.A. in Visual Communication Design and Computer Science. In her free time, Emily enjoys cooking, drawing and designing, traveling the world, and spending time with her family and friends.

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