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A Hammer Is Not A House

Why CMS Platform Isn’t What You Think It Is

February 16, 2011
We’ve seen horrible sites built using technology X, and we’ve seen really good sites built with that same technology. So was it the hammer that failed, or the architect?
We see this time and again, a potential client comes to us demanding to have a website built using technology X. They have had 3 failed attempts using technology X. They have very little money left because of the previous failed attempts. The design they have, oh, I’m sorry, the template they are using is poorly designed and even more poorly implemented. The most recent “developer” in their series of developers is anxious to get them on to the next developer because they are tired or incapable of making technology X do whatever it is the client is asking.

It’s times like these that I want to ask them, “do you think a hammer is the same thing as a house?”

If you’ll allow me just a few more sentences on this question, I’ll explain. When you look for a house do you tell the real estate agent, I need a house that was built with a 16oz Plumb fiberglass handle straight claw hammer. Or do you say something more like, we’re looking for a 3 bedroom house on the north side of the city with 2 bathrooms, parking would be nice.

You see our point is that our industry flips from buzzworthy technology to buzzworthy technology. As a result, potential clients come to us requesting a hammer, not having thought about the house they would like to live in.

At the end of the day, you’re never going to use that hammer you think you need, but you are going to live in that house. Our advice is not to focus on the technology you think you need, but rather focus on what is important to the success of your project:

1. The most critical component to your success is you. What you want to do, what your website will be, the content you put on that site.

2. The second most critical component is finding a web professional that is...well, professional. Look for a firm you can trust. Look for a firm that has actually built websites. Once you find a firm you can trust and build a relationship with, then you can begin to have conversations about what you want to do. My guess is they will have recommendations and options on the particular hammer they might use to accomplish your goals.

It goes without saying, that we have our own CMS platform and of course we’d love for you to buy our CMS and our services. However, we have built sites using other hammers. At the end of the day because a CMS is “open” and has “themes” doesn’t give you the flexibility and stability you think it does. If you trust the developer you choose, then at least be open to their recommendation on the tools that might best fit your particular job.

We’ve been doing this website thing almost since the beginning of websites. We’ve seen a little bit of everything since 1995 and at their base, almost every technology is the same. The terms they use may vary. The data model may change. What makes a real difference is the team of experts you are working with.

We’ve seen horrible sites built using technology X, and we’ve seen really good sites built with that same technology. So was it the hammer that failed, or the architect?
CMS Content Management Systems provide a structured, database driven suite of tools for managing your website. At GeekPAK our CMS can help you manage your website and your business.
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