Why you'll love Craft CMS
If you hire Turnstyle to build you a website, it’s a given that you’re going to want the freedom to not only easily manage and edit your site’s content, but also have a system in place that allows you to build out new pages and sections as your needs evolve.
Each client’s needs are different. We start any project by listening to the problems you’re trying to solve and work with you to determine the best approach. If a content management system is right for you, it’s our job to recommend something that’s going to meet your requirements while being simple and easy to use. Spoiler alert: there’s a pretty good chance we're going to recommend Craft CMS. We’ve been working with Craft since 2015, and continue to reach for it on the majority of our custom web projects today.
Craft helps us to provide clients with a clean and easy-to-understand authoring experience by tailoring the permissions and access levels for every user account.
For most users, we create a set of permissions for editors which allows editing and authoring of content only. This allows us to keep the control panel streamlined and easy to navigate for the majority of users. For more advanced groups, we'll enable administrative permissions which allows access to additional site settings and configurations.
While we’re on the subject of ease-of-use, one of the features built into Craft CMS that we consistently receive the most positive feedback from clients about is Live Preview.
Any entry in the control panel of your site will contain a Live Preview button on the top. This button, especially handy on larger screens, will split your view into a left pane where you can edit the content and a right pane where you can see a real-time preview of how your content looks within the context of your site’s custom-designed front end. You don’t even need to save the entry until you’re confident everything looks as intended.
Modular by Design
Craft is a flexible and un-opinionated platform. It’s up to us, the designers and developers building out your site, to determine whether you’re given a simple set of static fields where you can change the text content without “messing up the design” or a full-fledged site builder where anyone is free to turn a page of your site into a 90’s Geocities tribute. We find the sweet spot to be somewhere in-between.
While it’s important to deliver a CMS you feel empowered to work within to build out new custom landing pages and content, we feel it’s just as crucial to establish enough guard rails to ensure that content will always look polished and reflect your brand design language.
We typically build our sites out to be modular in nature. This means we’ll give you a set of modules that you can display your content with and then stack or rearrange as you see fit. They'll always work within nicely within the constraints of the design system we’ve built for you. You can create your own fully custom page with a stack of modules like a Hero, Ping Pong, Accordion, Carousel, and more while feeling confident the look-and-feel will seamlessly match the rest of your website.
Many content management systems come with default “themes” that can be used directly or built upon and adapted to create something more custom. Craft, thankfully, has no concept of themes.
Our designers listen and work closely with clients to create custom solutions tailored to address their specific needs. As a result, we need a CMS that has the flexibility to handle any design solution we want to implement.
Craft gives us the building blocks we need to structure content and output it exactly as the design needs it without getting in the way. This also streamlines the content editing experience because what you see in the CMS represents exactly what you'll see on the front end.
Turnstyle is a design-focused agency. Being experts in branding and identity design, a big part of our job is to make sure we translate designs into code that faithfully represents those elements in-browser.
For this reason, it’s important to select when selecting a CMS that it doesn’t get in the way of the design process.
On most projects, designers are the first users of a CMS. By inviting them into the build early, they're able to stress-test the modules, make sure the data is structured intuitively, and the system they intended to create has been faithfully represented.
This also lends itself well to the modular systems we build. The design team on your project will be in the real CMS, using the real developed modules to put together landing pages, posts, and the rest the site’s content. By the time we’re actually handing the website over to you, it should be populated with enough content and functionality that authors can spend time getting to know to the CMS instead of worrying about getting larger pieces in place.
Edit images and set focal points from within the Control Panel.
Crop, rotate, flip, and straighten your photos right from within the Control Panel. Set focal points so that every image renders perfectly on all devices.
In It For The Long Haul
One more crucial aspect of selecting a CMS is determining whether it’s going to be around and actively updated for the lifespan of your site. Craft is a well established platform with a proven track record that we feel confident continuing to work with and recommending.
The first good sign of longevity is simply that Craft is a licensed, commercial product.
We find Craft’s very reasonable pricing model more than worth it within the context of investing in a new website for your business. Licensing software means you’re supporting the continued development and resources invested in maintaining it.
While there are plenty of free CMS options out there with large user bases, these platforms also tend to be larger targets for security threats. Additionally, without teams dedicated to the ongoing support and maintenance of the platforms - overall stability is often jeopardized.
An additional benefit of purchasing a Craft Pro license (or higher) is the inclusion of developer-to-developer support. This includes, but is not limited to, plugin and module development help, troubleshooting unexpected behavior, templating errors, licensing issues, etc.
Craft also touts an extremely active welcoming community. We’ve never interacted with a group of developers more passionate and excited about the technology they’re working in.
In addition to a Podcast, Discord, Stack Exchange, and Meetups - the Craft team also puts on official events like their annual Dot All Conference.
You can also simply browse their public release notes to see how often they’re continuing to improve Craft in major ways.
As we mentioned at the start of this post, every client’s needs are going to be different. That said, we find ourselves coming back to Craft as a core component of the solutions we provide for nearly every web project we ship.
We’ve only touched on a handful of our favorite Craft features here, but give us a call to discuss how leveraging Craft for your next website can best serve you!
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