Once you have your site coded (see Coding Your Web Site with Quality for more on that topic), you need to choose how those coded web pages are going to be delivered. The first fork in the road is to choose between:
A static site is the simplest to create and launch, and the least expensive to host. But it is a poor choice for all but the simplest sites. In the past, static sites were very common, but today they are rarely the best approach. Among their many limitations, static sites:
Assuming we've succeeded in dissuading you from putting up a static site, now you need to choose a content management system. There are literally hundreds of choices, but you can quickly narrow it down to a much smaller number.
The first big decision point is whether you are going to manage the software and its hosting yourself, or use a SaaS (software as a service) solution:
If you are a developer at heart, rather than a designer, like to be able to modify the back-end code, and have a budget of at least a few thousand dollars per site, then self-hosted solutions can be a good choice. They are used for millions of sites, including many well-known ones.
The option to use a hosted CMS is relatively new, and we believe it better serves the needs of designers and site owners who want to focus on the design and content of the site, not on the technology.
If you use a self-hosted CMS, you are responsible for all the code that runs the site, and this can be a nightmare when hacks occur (see, for example, WordPress Sites Hacked Again; Is Hosted CMS the Answer?). Even in the absence of such nightmare scenarios, using a self-hosted CMS inevitably means spending more time dealing with back-end code, software updates, and server management. You're exposed to much more of the full technology stack, and it's easy to get buried in details. With a hosted CMS, all that is taken care of for you.
In the past, most hosted CMS offerings were very limited in terms of design flexibility. Even today, few provide the flexibility to set up custom databases, so you can organize things like business listing and news items, and have pages automatically created for each item.
This gap is what led to the creation of Webvanta. We built Webvanta to provide all the ease-of-use and peace of mind that a hosted CMS brings, while at the same time offering all the power and flexibility designers need for top-tier business and information portal sites.
For more information:
We believe in using the right solution for each problem, and no single system—not even Webvanta!—is best for all needs. For example, if you have a $20K-plus budget for site development, want complete control, and can afford technical staff to support and maintain the site on an ongoing basis, then Drupal can be a good solution.
Often, though, you can accomplish the same result with a fraction of the budget and fewer ongoing headaches using Webvanta.
Webvanta is a great hosted CMS for sites that are more than just brochure sites or simple blogs, but it is not necessarily the best answer for every job. Here are some situations in which we recommend other hosted solutions:
If all this leaves you confused, send us a note with a description of your needs, and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.