View Full Version : Web Design CMS based sites

Stephen Coates
12th March 2007, 15:34
Does anyone else find that sites based around a CMS always tend to look very similar?

I was just thinking about this recently when looking at several sites based around CMSs such as Joomla and PHP-Nuke, and then comparing them to sites that use the more old fashioned method of using HTML etc.

I think CMSs are really good because they offer lots of useful features, but regardless of the content of the site, or the colour scheme or other graphics, I find they often all look very similar, while sites that don't use a CMS tend to look alot more unique.

12th March 2007, 16:09
All sites build using a specific CMS will always have inherent similarities. Certain navigational elements are built into the code that builds the site, as are the block positioning and module code used to build them.

The biggest thing you have to consider with a CMS is the amount of work that they have already done that a site build using them doesn't need to remake again from scratch. The database driven nature of a CMS based site allows them to be community driven to allow members to add content themselves instead of the old hard codes way of doing things. Dynamic sites allow for much more freedom and fluid content.

As for them all looking the same, most sites tend to not move too far away from the core CMS templates that come with the CMS when installed. It is much easier to take a default template and customise it for the site in question, than it is to try and build a new template from scratch. I did this with classicamiga mainly to get the site up and running as quickly as possible, but it is possible to code a new template that could look like anything you wanted. I will actually be recoding a new template later for the site, but that will come much later once more content is finished.

A good example of custom templates not looking anything like the default is actually on the site in the game and demo sections. The default layout of the directory pages is nothing like they look on the site because I coded new templates myself from scratch to fit what we needed. The author of jReviews even asked me how I had achieved some of what I did which was cool.