While there are a lot of powerful and feature-rich content management systems available to choose from, designers often have the need to work on small sites for clients that may only have use for a fraction of the features offered by the CMS. In theses cases the ideal solution is to use a simple CMS that may offer limited features, but will be easier for clients to use.
If you’re finding that some of your clients are confused by extra options, consider finding a CMS that has been created specifically for smaller projects with simplicity in mind. In this post we’ll look at 13 options that are available. All of these CMSs should make it easy for you to set up the site, and easy for the clients to manage content.
GetSimple claims to have “everything your clients need, and nothing a CMS dosen’t.” GetSimple is XML-based rather than using a MySQL database, and has been created specifically with the needs of small websites in mind. GetSimple is free and takes about 5 minutes to install.
CushyCMS allows designers to brand their own CMS with a pro account ($28/month), and a free version is also available without the custom branding. It takes just minutes to make a site editable (by using classes) and clients can then easily edit their own content.
Surreal CMS is very similar to CushyCMS, but it includes a few additional features like the ability to create new pages from existing pages, preview before publishing, the ability to edit title, keywords, and descriptions, and more. With a free account you can manage up to 3 websites, or with the Designer Account you can manage unlimited sites and re-brand it as your own.
PageLime also uses CSS classes to determine editable content and allows users to easily manage text, images, links, page titles, keywords, descriptions, and more. Users can create new pages from templates, manage image galleries, create RSS feeds, etc. Free accounts are available to manage up to 3 sites, and premium accounts are available for designers who want to re-brand the CMS (50 sites for $19/month or unlimited sites for $69/month.
Konductor (currently in Beta) integrates with Adobe Dreamweaver to allow designers to work with Konductor. No server setup is required and users can easily modify content in regions that you have designated. Konductor hosts the websites, and most sites will require a $25 – $30 monthly fee.
Zimplit is a basic CMS that allows site owners to edit content right on the page without going to a back-end admin area. It’s free and open source and uses no database. A re-brandable version is available with prices 29€ to 399€ per month, based on the number of sites using the system. Free site templates are available for quick setup, or you can design your own themes.
Perch is a “really little content management system.” There is a one-time license cost of £35 per domain, and it runs on your server with no ongoing-costs. With Perch you’ll use PHP tags to declare editable regions and can be set up quickly. Designers can re-brand the system which will customize the interface.
Simple CMS offers designers a brandable CMS that takes only minutes to set up. Rather than visiting a back-end dashboard to manage content, site owners can edit content right from the page. To make the content editable you can either use a class or comments within the HTML. You can manage one site for free, 15 sites for $15/month, or unlimited sites for $20/month.
CMS Made Simple has been created to give designers and users the option of a basic, simple CMS, but it also offers modules and additional features that make is usable for larger sites. It’s a free open source CMS that is built on PHP.
Frog CMS was started as a PHP-based version of Radiant CMS, which is built with Ruby on Rails. It uses a simple but flexible templating system. Plugins are available to extend the core functionality.
Symphony is an XSLT-powered open source CMS. It provides a lean core CMS, with the flexibility of adding on through the extensions library. By keeping only the essential functions as part of the core system, Symphony maintains simplicity that makes it suitable for smaller projects.
Pixie is a free open source option. Different installations are available according to the type of site that will be using it, and some basic free themes are available for download.
Typeroom Lite is “a lite-weight, instant CMS for simple websites.” Designers can decide what content should be editable for clients. A free account is available for sites with up to 3 pages (hosted on your own server), and three different paid plans are also available. The paid plans include Rackspace hosting and prices range from $24/month to $149/month for each site.
Have Anything to Add?
If you have any other simple CMSs to suggest, please leave a comment.
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