Sitting on a Perch
I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.
This week has seen the launch of a new website content management system [CMS] called Perch from web development agency edgeofmyseat. It promises to be an interesting CMS because it is intended to be a small system that you can set-up quickly on an existing website.
Yes, yes, I know that a larger CMS like WordPress or Textpattern [two of my favourites] are often the ‘solutions’ that are suggested when the subject of client website updates are discussed but, equally, not everyone wants a system like that for small website changes. I am thinking of small business brochure-type websites here. In these cases, Perch may be just the job.
Why a simple CMS may be a good choice
The reasons why I think that Perch may be a good fit for some clients are set-up cost and time and minimal disruption to an existing website. Ease of use may also be a selling point but I will be testing Perch in the next few days to see how this aspect shapes up. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I think Textpattern and WordPress and other CMS solutions are excellent choices for many websites. However, recently we migrated an old brochure website from static HTML pages to WordPress. It all went rather well but the process took a couple of days even though we were using a pre-designed theme. I guess this is not too much money but if you run a small business, you would probably rather spend a bit less if you do not need the complete CMS experience that WP provides. Perch on the other hand looks like it can be set-up and working in a lot less time.
Another reason for using Perch is client experience. Let me explain. Client education can be a problem with some CMSes. Give someone a full-blown CMS and it can be rather daunting at first, even with the ease-of-use features that are often provided. There is a lot to take in with WordPress if you are not familiar with it. As a result, a fair amount of client training and education may be needed. A simpler CMS with features that can be extended later sounds like a better choice perhaps. With Perch, my initial assessment is that the text or content blocks can be designed to take into account the client’s experience. For example, simple text fields for someone without much experience or with minor text change requirements or larger content blocks for others with greater familiarity or bigger demands. The beauty of this would be that you can start small and build larger as the client learns the system.
Over the next few days, I will be making a more thorough assessment of Perch and I will report back some more when I have ‘got my hands dirty’ with it.
Update: You can now sign-up for a Perch demo which gives you 24 hours to play with the system.