Rachel H Kay Blog

To Blog Or Not To Blog

In creating my website and building websites for clients I've done a lot of research for the best tools to utilize when creating a website. While most sites I have built for clients have been WordPress sites, this website is built using Bootstrap, HTML, CSS, and a bit of PHP. When I decided I wanted to add a blog to my website I had two choices. Attempt to build a database and a fully functioning PHP based blog, or, find a CMS that I could use instead. After doing some research I came across a few different options. I didn't want to use WordPress, but I did want to use the blog template I had designed and setup utilizing Bootstrap. I also wanted to use a CMS that was as simple to use as possible allowing me to keep my HTML based site and just add a blog page using a type of text editor, allowing me to easily add blog posts similar to WordPress.

Perch

One of the first I ran across was Perch. It caught my attention real quick. After looking through the site Perch seemed to be very simple to setup, yet would allow for the backend functionality to easily add posts to a blog utilizing a text editor that wouldn't add any unwanted mark-up that WYSIWYG editors tend to do. Now don't get me wrong, the WYSIWYG is great for those who don't have a lot of coding experience, or no coding experience, or even just writing a blog post, but when you need to change text on a site and just copy and paste text in the WYSIWYG, the code can get a bit messed up. So usually, any text changes I make in a WYSIWYG I end up choosing the plain text editor instead to ensure nothing is altered or added that should not be. Since Perch didn't utilize a WYSIWYG that was a thumbs up for me. I also liked how you could add Perch to an existing site design. This was a great option for me since I had already designed a blog page for my website. There were only two reasons I decided not to go with Perch. First, I just recently graduated with my Bachelors, and am still building a career in Web Development, so I don't have a lot that I can invest at the moment. In order to use Perch it would cost me a bit more than I can afford to pay, especially when I just wanted it for my blog page. I was not looking for a CMS to add to my entire site. Second, Perch functions on MySQL, and if I can avoid it, I would rather not use a CMS that runs on a database for right now. Its just a lot more to deal with, and I'm still in the learning process with PHP and MySQL. So, I would recommend Perch highly to anyone else looking to use a CMS other than WordPress to build out a site for themselves, or clients. But for the moment it wasn't what I was looking for.

Statamic

So I continued my research to look for another, more affordable option for my blog. Another CMS I came across that seems to be recommended is Statamic. So I went to their site to see what its all about. This CMS seemed to have a lot of the blog capabilities such as recent posts, adding categories, tags, things that would come in handy for SEO purposes. The price isn't too bad either. Now Statamic functions a bit differently and uses YAML, which I had not heard of before. Their explanation of YAML was pretty thorough, and it seemed that with a bit of trial and error it shouldn't be too hard to learn to use. The only problem I had was that it did not seem that I would be able to easily keep my HTML Bootstrap site and just add a functioning blog using my template. From what I read about Statamic it did not seem as though I could just use it for one page of my website. Even if there was a way to possibly use Statamic for only my blog page, it was a lot of information to go through to figure out if it was actually possible. I wanted to be able to quickly get my blog up and running so that if I came across anything I wanted to write about I would have the ability to do so.

Pulse Pro CMS

Since Statamic appeared not to be exactly what I was looking for at the moment, I continued to research and came across another possibility. A flat CMS that doesn't require a database. Hhhmmm, this could be exactly what I need. This lead me to Pulse Pro CMS. I liked the idea of not needing a database. I also quickly saw that Pulse CMS can be used with one of their templates, or with my own, and I could even just use it to get my blog up and running. Sweet! Plus the price was right in my budget. This flat CMS is really easy to learn and use. But if I did run into any issues I was able to get help really quick, which was great! For the most part I was able to figure out how to use Pulse, and how to get it setup with my blog template. The only thing about Pulse is that its blog is a very simple type of blog. There are not categories or tags that you can associate with your blog. There is a recent posts addon that you can use. But Pulse is meant to be a very simple type of blog. While I would have liked to be able to have the ability to add categories to my posts and tags to help with SEO, there are other ways of implementing SEO. A main feature of Pulse are the blocks, which are basically chunks of HTML used in my blog page that I edit in my admin area in Pulse. I take that HTML code, plug it into a Pulse block, save that block with a particular name, then paste the PHP embed code into my blog page, and voila, a functioning block that is my blog feed, my recent posts feed, and my about me panel. I can then add CSS classes and id's to style those blocks to keep my color scheme and original template design for my site and my blog. Easy peasy. So while Pulse CMS doesn't have the capabilities of a full out blog, it is easy to use, easy to setup, and allowed me to get a functioning blog really quickly.

In the end it depends on your skills, and what you are looking for as to which of these content management systems would actually work for you. For me, since I wanted to get my site fully functional quickly so I can concentrate on building my career and my clientele, Pulse Pro CMS was exactly what I needed. Have you used any of these that I have mentioned? If there are any other content management systems you know of and have used, whether they utilize a database or are another flat CMS I haven't come across yet, please let me know in the comments below.

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About Me

Hi there. I'm Rachel Kay, a Web Developer, Illustrator, & Designer, whose hobby is to be creative and artistic, while freelancing as a Web Developer building creative, modern websites.

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