Written: June 28, 2010

Concrete 5 – My impressions of this CMS after using WordPress

As a web developer I’ve spent the time to become proficient in learning, using and customizing WordPress, the most popular Content Manage System (CMS) around. Today I looked at another CMS called Concrete 5 to see how it compares to WordPress.
Installation
Here it is clear that Concrete 5 is easier to install than WordPress because I just upload the files, browse to my folder, supply the Database info, and I’m done:

With WordPress I have to edit the config.php file, upload files, then run the admin/install.php script.
I get confirmation that the Install was OK:

Sample Content
In the Install screen I selected, “Install sample content” so my first impression is wow:

I see a pleasant web layout with panoramic images that rotate, a horizontal menu navigation, content area, sidebar, etc. At the top I can infer that editing will be WYSIWYG instead of the WordPress dashboard concept.
Editing My Home Page
I have read zero documentation on Concrete 5, I’ve just downloaded the files, installed, and am playing with it to see how intuitive it is compared to WordPress. I click the icon on top named Edit Page, mouse over my content on the Home page and click Edit again:

The fact that I can navigate my site graphically makes Concrete 5 more intuitive than WordPress, which makes me navigate pages through a Dashboard and text names, not graphically.
WYSIWYG Editor

Editing my Home page is quite simple. The WYSIWYG editor is similar to what I use with WordPress, except now I don’t have to click preview to see what my page looks like, so I’m saving time with Concrete again.
Sidebar and Adding Email Form
It was so easy to edit my main content, next I edited my sidebar and then added a simple form to capture email names:

Initial Impressions
Well, after only a few minutes with Concrete 5 I am impressed. I haven’t had to read any documentation and already I have installed, edited my home page, and feel confident that this CMS is much more intuitive than WordPress. My next quest will be to see how easy it is to create my own custom layouts to meet client requirements.
If I were working at WordPress I would certainly have an eye out for the folks at Concrete 5 because the user experience is much friendlier with Concrete 5.

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5 responses to “Concrete 5 – My impressions of this CMS after using WordPress”

  1. franz says:

    Hi,

    Thanks! I don't think wordpress has anything to worry about from us. They're a blogging platform, and while people use it as a CMS, I believe their strategy is very much focused around the creating of content and monetizing that through ads…. Blogs.

    Anyrate – thanks for taking the time to share your review, if you have a concrete5.org user account private message it to me and I'll shoot you some karma points:
    http://concrete5.org/community/karma

    best
    -frz
    ceo, concrete5

  2. Daniel Payne says:

    Franz,
    I use WordPress in many client sites as a CMS because people are asking for it. I'm going to spend more time learning what concrete5 is all about because this first peek was encouraging.

    I'm up to my ears in user accounts, so will pass on the invite for karma points (plus I'm a Christian and don't believe in karma).

  3. Daniel Payne says:

    franz,

    I was a bit surprised to discover that my theme in Concrete5 didn't support drop-down menus, then I searched for any theme that did support drop-down menus but couldn't find any after 30 minutes of effort.

    Why are drop-down menus so difficult to find in a theme?

  4. Martin says:

    Hi Daniel: concrete5 did support drop-down menues
    see this link of a theme
    http://www.psdaddict.com/demo/karma/

    take care

  5. Daniel Payne says:

    Martin, Thanks for the update on drop-down menu themes in Concrete5. I’ve stuck it out with WordPress the past several years, and am always curious about new CMS tools out there.

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Tualatin Chamber – A New Look

Linda, CEO of the Tualatin Chamber contacted me recently about sprucing up their web site with a new look. She liked the colors light blue and navy blue, and wanted to see more variety visually. Here’s what I changed:

  1. Replaced the static banner with a dynamic one. Each page click brings you one of six different photo banners. Reduced the height from 200 pixels to 150 pixels, leaving more room for content. 
  2. Navy blue – replaced the old menu with this new color scheme. Navy blue menu, light blue diamonds at top, white text, red selected text.
  3. Right column – replaced the white background with a light blue background. Changed most of the fonts to white with a black hover color.

This site uses my custom Content Management System, which provides an easy way to update content, add events, manage members, accept payments, send emails, display banner ads and allow members to update their own profile or add events, jobs and special offers.

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Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, Site Remodel

I had the pleasure of launching a new client site this week for the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce:

Features on the site include:
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Expression Engine


I started working with a new client last week and their site used a Content Management System (CMS) called Expression Engine. I’ve used several other CMS tools like:

Often I just write my own custom CMS to be streamlined to the business that I’m doing freelance work for.

There’s always a learning curve to any new CMS and I’m basically productive within an hour of logging into Expression Engine. This tool comes in three prices: Free, Personal and Commercial. It’s a bargain at any price.

Now, I’m thinking about replacing this CMS with a custom one to better fit the business needs and users.

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