Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy To Use CMS, Where Are You? Talk About a Brilliant Business Startup Idea

In my search for an easy to use CMS, I've been following a thread on the Webmasterworld forums on the best content management systems.  I've been using Wordpress to create my websites, and though I like it well enough, it's not exactly what I'd call easy.  I've been looking for an easy way to build a site for a long time, and despite the truly educational threads on Webmasterworld, I'm not getting anywhere.  Anybody looking for brilliant startup ideas?  Matt Cutts from Google has some ideas, or maybe you can tackle my problem.

My problem is this.  To create a website from scratch, a non-techie like me can use a supposedly easy-to-use content management system such as Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress, or the less well-known ones like ModX, Textpattern, and, oh, a lot more.  Or you can use a WYSIWYG HTML editor (what-you-see-is-what-you-get, referring to the fact that you can use it like word processing software to format your web page) such as Dreamweaver, Frontpage, KompoZer, and oh, so many more.  Or you can code your own CSS, HTML, PHP, or whatever using a text editor.  Or you can use pricey and much-promoted plans like the very expensive Site Build It.  Or you can pop up a website on someone else's pages, as with Google Sites or Blogger or Yahoo! SiteBuilder, or even publish on Hubpages, eHow, and other content sites.

Each method has advantages and disadvantages.  But none has everything that I want.  Call me arrogant, but I think that what I want is the same thing a lot of people want.  I want an easy-to-use website creator that's free, state of the art, optimized for Web search and completely flexible.  That's all.

(Wait.  Scratch the free.  I'd pay for one, except right now, as far as I can tell, paying for a CMS doesn't really yield any greater a product.  And to be honest, I don't think I should have to.  I'd rather public funds paid for it, just as they pay for roads.  No, I'm not taking a radical political stance, here, and I don't want to starve brilliant programmers.  More in a minute on why I think website building should be offered free of charge.)

So why is an easy and feature-rich website builder so hard to find?  I'm truly curious. Can someone explain to me what is stopping there from being an open source, ultimately versatile, easy-to-use-for-non-coders package that:
  1. Does what Google Sites and Blogger do (allow you to easily change layouts & font) - and more!
  2. Doesn't require themes, but has every conceivable (practical) layout possibility and allows you to construct the site as you want it from scratch without knowing any coding, but has coding possibilities for those absolutely bound and determined to make a twelve-column website in size 2 font or whatever
  3. Uses CSS, the most stable version of HTML, and whatever else is state of the art at the time
  4. Has SEO (search engine optimization) features built in 
  5. Doesn't disallow affiliate links (see why I think affiliate marketers are not demons from hell)
  6. Has optional features to turn any website endeavor into what it is - an e-commerce site, an affiliate site, a brochure, a forum site, a family site, whatever?
Basically one that allows people totally unfamiliar with creating websites - I mean people who might be able to use a web browser and even word processing software, but whose learning curve is stretched by the idea of Web hosting - to build whatever kind of website they want in a couple of hours. All the CMS offerings combined, only made more spiffy, without the need for the kinds of plugins, external widgets and add-ons that are so much a part of Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Is it too much work? Not profitable?

The reason I ask is, the market is seriously ready for this.  Anyone looking for brilliant startup business ideas should consider this.  The economic depression is only going to worsen until a whole lot more people are engaging in commerce online. (Don't think the state of the economy is that dire?  Find out why I think we're in a depression.) Make it easy for them, and they will come.

Such a package would be the equivalent of the cheap Sears balloon-framed houses built during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century - peaking in 1929 and then ending in the midst of the Great Depression (and no, the dates are not a coincidence.  Change in economic model then, change in economic model now).   They'd make a whole new way of living possible.

Following the technological boom of the railroad (which is how supplies were delivered) and the car (which is how people were made ultra-portable), Richard Sears built tens of thousands of houses and basically seeded the American suburbs that became the structure for the new economic model that rose up after World War II.  See the book, The Houses that Sears Built.

Now we're in the midst of creating infrastructure for another economic model - that of the Internet.  And the ability for nearly everyone to have a website is equivalent to the ability to live in a house and drive five miles to the supermarket, ten miles to the movie theater, and 100 miles to visit Grandma in the next city. It sets the foundation for an intricate new worldwide economic structure where literally everyone is on the web, buying, selling, and hanging out.  Where it's no longer the Wild West, but "civilized" at last.

The people who can do this would be the next IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or eBay. Or so I believe. :)

Anyway, even if you don't buy the argument, and even if you have no aspirations to start a brilliant new business...to all techno-geniuses out there, I beg of you, please do create a CMS or, if not a content management system, a software package that my own grandfather could use to create a website easily.  A website creator that is easy to use and versatile and SEO friendly, and that doesn't have a "catch" (i.e., it only works in this browser, or with this software, or doesn't have this feature, or...you get the idea.)

I'm so frustrated by my own lack of technical expertise. For me, learning the backend of having a website is like having to learn carpentry to build my retail store. Do too much of that, and my business becomes designing, not selling.  It's rather fun, but it's not my calling.

Copyright Nerd Writer Mom

1 comment:

Sushiboofay said...

From DS --- checking out your blog - nice job!