Saturday, January 20, 2007

SocialText, Joomla, Godaddy, can web publishing get any easier?

I started building web sites in 1996, when you had to hand code HTML and 90% of web sites looked like really bad MS Word docs. Amazingly, 90% of web sites still look like bad MS Word docs, but there's hope!

Easy-to-use, open-source web publishing systems, content management systems (CMS) and wiki's are changing the nature of the web completely. And as companies like Godaddy make it easy to buy a domain, set up a CMS, add a blog a wiki and a forum all in about 30 minutes, small businesses can get up to speed for a very small investment.

Unfortunately, it's not easy to customize and integrate these open source systems for a small business, so the cost will get transferred from web development to design, integration and support. This is an important transition because it will completely change the nature of many web design companies and their business models. The main advantage I see is that creative companies will be able to focus their strengths on creative design, rather than coding. And the web sure could use an injection of good design.

So if you're a small business and you need a web site, or an upgrade, ask your web designer to show you what open-source applications are available and whether they will work for your unique needs. Then make sure they have the skills to design for that system AND to configure it for your business. Feel free to contact me if you have other questions!

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