I admit, I’m a geek. I love playing with technology. My particular pleasure at the moment: Finding just the right website management system for the task at hand. Here’s my current list of installations in progress:

WordPress. My system of choice for new website projects right now. The default setup works reasonably well (in fact, this website is currently just a few tiny tweaks away from WordPress-out-of-the-box), the backend is as intuitive as possible and updates are installed at the click of a button. Thanks to WordPress’ multisite functionality, I can set up a prototype site for you to play with in minutes. Oh, and if you think WordPress is just for blogs, check out this university site.

Drupal. I fell in love with Drupal when setting up ISEAL’s online community last year. It’s an incredibly flexible website system with particular strengths in user interaction and relational databases. It can be a bit unwieldy, but the new version 7 is already a lot more intuitive. I’m currently using it for a prototype book-sharing website. Others use it to power the websites for The Economist or the White House.

Typo3. I only installed Typo3 last week at the request of a client. The first impression: It nicely supports editorial workflows and its backend is set up to deal with complex websites. Typo3 seems to be particularly popular in Germany, see for example Unicef.de.

Moodle. Moodle is an online course management system (ie. for e-learning projects). I’ve already used it twice as a student and am now exploring how to use it to support an in-person course and alumni community. I’m still convinced it can be done, but the system has not been easy to conquer so far. Have a look at the Open University for an example.

Honorable mention:

Google Sites. Google’s own website management tool beats the others for speed hands down: It’s free, can be automatically set up when you buy a domain (eg. here) and there’s no need for hosting. Certainly – the design possibilities are severely restricted, but there’s nothing better if you need a cheap website, quickly. Greenpeace used it last month for their Renewables campaign: 100percentrenewables.eu

Which content management system is your favourite?

Lab Notes: Website Management Systems
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