Back in early 2007, I did a site for John O’Dell called This was a good project, and it got me started doing fairly elaborate content-managed websites. It was done with a subcontractor who assembled it with Django, which is not a CMS out of the box, but a Python framework.

We recently rebuilt it, at the same domain, using WordPress.

In recent years, WordPress has developed a huge following of users and developers. One of the best things about it is the semi-automatic Search Engine Optimization features (SEO). It even integrates with Twitter.

In the last few months I’ve done sites in Concrete5, Drupal and WordPress. WordPress is ideal for people who need to GET FOUND. Drupal is great for large newsy sites. It has lots of plugins, but it isn’t as tightly conceived as WordPress. It predates Web2.0 so has not accommodated that thinking, throughout. But it might be better if you’re managing a site like a Newspaper or Magazine.

Concrete5 is very new, with all the Web2.0 buzzwords: Model View Controller architecture (MVC) being the key one. It also is the nearest thing to a wysywig (What You See is What You Get) editor. In some ways, it feels like a throwback to old-fashioned site design, but in a good way. In the template or Theme the developer (like me) whips up a nice page design, with several editable areas (called “Blocks”). Editors can insert a variety of different content types into the blocks: Navigation, images, video, forms… etc. The number of types of blocks will grow over time, if the developer community embraces C5. To add more to a page, you can simply edit an existing block of content, or add another above or below (or between) — No painting yourself into a corner with sort order… in other words, it basically breaks the pattern of “content management by database query” although that’s still what is going on, in the background. It’s very refreshing… but still a bit limited. You won’t find SEO features here, yet.

But the state of the art of WordPress is actually quite remarkably good and useful. The hard part, it turns out, is getting the client to understand how it works. John O’Dell, a bright fella by any standard, took two years of experiencing his blog, rebuilding it (largely on his own, with my coaching and coding) and exposure to several outside “experts” declaring the magic of blogs, to get it. Now he does, and his traffic is climbing steadily.

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