What Most People Forget When Selecting a CMS Tool

by Gregg Crystal Sep 02, 2016

When selecting a CMS, many people forget to select a CSS framework. In fact, most people put it off and assume it's one of the details that your developer should work out.

But putting off the selection of your framework can haunt you in the future. I'm going to tell you why.

Why Does a CSS Framework Matter?

Many CMS users don't know which CSS framework their site is built in. They're not even sure why they should care. This is true for Sitefinity, WordPress, or any other CMS tool.

In reality, your CSS framework is going to greatly affect your ability to update your website and have total control over it.

The CMS tool is going to deliver a web page to your prospects with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. That's pretty much it. Every CMS tool ultimately has the same limitation of every other tool: it can only deliver what is possible with HTML, CSS and Javascript.

To that end, we find that many people complain that their CMS tool doesn't provide functionality, usually in the form of UI component they see other websites using.

A simple example would be a tabs or accordions. They are everywhere on the web and yet so many people can't easily add them to their site.

Bootstrap to the Rescue

The solution we use for this is Bootstrap.

Bootstrap is a mix of HTML, CSS and Javascript that provides all the controls you would want in a website.

For example, it provides (and this is an abbreviated list):

  • Tabs
  • Accordions
  • Lists
  • Navigation
  • Drop Downs
  • Rotators
  • Panels
  • Responsive Layouts

When you select a framework like Bootstrap, you automatically get all of the components that most full featured websites would want.

There may be work to integrate the framework with your CMS.  But when you're starting with a framework, a lot of the work has already been done for you, so you can save a ton of time.

Designers Love CSS Frameworks

It really helps to have a CSS Framework selected prior to starting web design.


Because it gives the designer something to start with. Designers love to get a library of UI controls that they can work with.

Whenever we work with an outside design team on a Sitefinity project, the first question they always ask is: "What can Sitefinity do? Is there anything we will design that Sitefinity can't do?"

Then I send them to getbootstrap.com and they're pretty happy. They can comfortably add tabs and accordions to their design and not worry about hearing that it can't be implemented when development starts.

Not All Paid Templates Are Customizable

There's a lot of templates that you can buy online, and while many are affordable, many of them do NOT use a standard CSS Framework like Bootstrap.

We see this with a lot of WordPress templates. A client bought a very nice WordPress template, and every time they need someone to customize a page they want to know why it takes so long.

The answer, inevitably, is a custom CSS Framework was used that no one has ever seen before. So before your developer can make the changes, even though they are an expert in HTML and CSS, they have to learn your custom framework.

The custom framework may or may not have the features you now want, and it may not be easy to add them.

In Conclusion

Much like picking IBM or Microsoft, you'll never get fired for picking Bootstrap.

It's so ubiquitous. But even if you don't pick Bootstrap, pick something, anything that is not custom built and provides a rich set of User Interface controls for your website.

Contact a Sitefinity Expert Now!