Craft CMS and why it’s great.

Hannah's Photo by Hannah Rowbotham

If you’re wanting to update your website yourself you’ll need an admin area or Content Management System (CMS). The world of admin areas has been pretty limited; often they’re clunky, ugly and generally not very nice to use.

You’ve probably heard of Wordpress, right?

Wordpress has dominated the content management market for years. Clients often come to us with Wordpress websites and frustrations about how they find them difficult to update yet they struggle through and accept it. Some clients even come to us wanting a Wordpress site - asking for it specifically. To us, this is completely backwards!

I’ve often wondered why people are so loyal to Wordpress, but I’m realising it’s because Wordpress was the only option they were given. People like what they know; they trust names they hear a lot and might have even used a Wordpress site before. They’ve got used to it; frustrations and all.

For a number of reasons, we knew Wordpress wasn’t the right fit for us so would always recommend an alternative.

We’ve tried and tested several different CMS solutions.

When we started Club, ExpressionEngine was our CMS of choice but it still wasn’t quite right for what we knew clients needed, so we waited ...and boy did the wait pay off.

Enter Craft CMS.

Craft CMS has been around since 2012. We closely followed its early development and as soon as we tested it, knew it was the right fit.

Craft CMS is now the only CMS we offer - that’s how confident we are in its flexibility and power.

I've come at it mainly from the client angle as I'm not a developer, but the benefits to both our developers and our clients are so impressive that it's an all-round hit. Here's just a few reasons why:

Intuitive and Responsive Control Panel

You can use the admin area wherever you are on whatever device you have - it’s fully responsive. You can read more here over on the Craft CMS website.

It’s also really easy to use. Just last week we were writing a set of admin area instructions the for a self confessed technophobe client who we recently moved from Wordpress to Craft CMS. In the time it took us to write out the steps, she had found the page she needed in the admin area and was already adding content. Not surprising given how intuitive it is to use but if we needed confirmation that Craft CMS is a keeper, that was it

Craft CMS Responsive Control Panel - Club Web Design Studio
Craft CMS Responsive Control Panel

Live Preview

This has without a doubt made the difference and sparked the biggest reaction from our clients. They (and we) love it! Live Preview allows you to preview the changes you’re making to the website before committing your edits to the live site. Not only are the edits easy to make but you can see exactly what your changes look like before pressing ‘save’. Craft CMS also saves changes along the way, so if you want to revert back to a previous version, it's simple. The image below shows an example: you edit content on the left and see the changes update live on the right.

Craft CMS Live Preview - Club Web Design Studio
Craft CMS Live Preview

A Clean Slate

From a development stance, with Craft there’s no bloat. It’s a totally clean slate meaning we add only what is needed, ending up with a website and admin area that is bespoke and fully fits the brief. We don’t use themes, we don’t hack together half-built sections of websites to make one, and we certainly don’t let the CMS choice dictate how a site should look or function. Craft offers complete flexibility.

The Community

There’s a real glow around Craft CMS at the moment. People are realising its potential and really getting behind it. The guys who made it, Pixel & Tonic are always interacting with us and the community, and making constant improvements. When updates to the CMS are available, you simply install them with one click from within the admin area. Easy!

Here at Club we organise a Craft CMS meetup every other month in Manchester for anyone using or thinking of using Craft. If you’re interested why not come along to the next one? You can also find our meetup group from the Community Page on the Craft website - just scroll down to Manchester.

Please get in touch if you would like a demo. We love it and we reckon you will too.

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