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Why a Proprietary CMS is the Wrong Choice for Your Business Website

Why a Proprietary School CMS is the Wrong Choice for Your School Website

When it comes to purchasing a new website and the accompanying content management system (CMS), often the only real concerns are related to the features and functionality of the CMS, not the potential risks of which particular CMS is actually being used.

We recently wrote an article about why you should choose the WordPress CMS for your website. Today we flip the coin and give you some insight into why we think a proprietary CMS is a wrong choice for your website.

1. It holds your data hostage

When a website is developed on a proprietary CMS, moving it away from a vendor is not simply a case of downloading the files and transfer to another supplier. In fact, there is no simple way to transfer your site away at all.

The website must be totally rebuilt wasting thousands of pounds. When a website is created with a proprietary school CMS, businesses are held hostage to that CMS, with an incredibly steep exit cost to redevelop with another website provider.

There is certainly a good business case to create these systems. In over 20 years of working in the design industry, I have worked for many agencies that created proprietary CMS systems. The main reason they built them? To boost retention. Not because they were better for the client.

This still rings true today with virtually all the in-house built CMS systems, which is why from the very beginning Brothers Creative have used the open source WordPress CMS system. We feel companies should have the right to leave if they are not provided with an excellent quality of service and should never be penalised with ridiculous costs to transfer their website away.

2. Security

In today’s climate where website hacks of major UK companies are common news, website security, especially for businesses, should be a prime concern.

Many proprietary CMS systems are operated by fairly small agencies of roughly 5-20 employees. Sounds great right? Small website agencies provide that extra special touch of personalisation.

But in such small teams, their web developers will not have the skill required to make constant security patches to their proprietary CMS. It is financially challenging for most website agencies like this to invest hours per week of development time to maintain security patches.

On the contrary, the open source WordPress CMS we use is maintained by thousands of developers and because of this has a much higher grade of security than your standard CMS.

We trust a system that is updated daily for security risks versus a proprietary system with one developer’s attention every few weeks (or months or years) to address security. The risks to your website’s brand are too great to trust to one or two people managing your CMS systems security.

3. Efficiency of scale

As business people, we understand the realities of the cost of scale, where using a widely used product or service can save our customers thousands of pounds. Adding a unique feature for your website using a proprietary CMS can cost you in the £1000’s, just for one feature. You can hardly blame them. They need to research, design, develop and set aside testing time. All this on the payroll of your typical website agency.

Whereas using a CMS like WordPress, with a library of thousands of tried and tested functions and plugins, usually cost our customers nothing at all.

4. Updates and new features

The digital landscape is an ever-changing beast. There are constantly new and better ways to do things, often taking less time and improving customer experience. The cost of making these updates to a proprietary CMS is steep. Likewise, making the same update to the WordPress CMS that is being used by millions of users worldwide is much more likely to happen at the speed that the web is moving forward.

5. Risk management

I’m often asked that if I was knocked down by a bus tomorrow (lovely, thanks!), what happens to the websites you manage? One thing I do not have to worry about is what happens to our clients’ websites. Because we use an open source CMS system familiar to literally thousands of web developers, someone can easily pick up where we left off.

On the other hand, what happens if your website company decides to dissolve, or a key web developer decides to leave who is responsible for the CMS? That proprietary CMS would be defunct and cease operation. This would likely require your company to redevelop your site at the same cost or higher than you paid in the first place. Not forgetting the fact your site could be down for days or weeks. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, but why take the chance?

We choose to trust a bulletproof system like WordPress and the stats are very impressive. WordPress websites now account for 30% of all sites on the internet. 60% of all CMS systems on the internet are WordPress. WordPress is trusted by huge brands worldwide like Walt Disney, The White House, IBM, Bloomberg, MTV, and the list goes on and on.

5. Service

Perhaps the biggest point for me and something I am most passionate about is customer service. By using a proprietary CMS, you are dealing with a website agency with literally hundreds of customers who they know have no choice but to stay no matter how great the service. The number one reason businesses come to us from other website agencies is because they are tired of the poor support from their existing supplier, or being charged for the smallest of requests. Sound familiar?

By using an open source CMS we know that at any point a customer can and should have the right to leave us. Because our clients can leave us with little or no cost to them, this forces us to remain a client-centred business, which we proudly are.

Let Us Help You…

Brothers Creative works in partnership with businesses all sizes to create some of the best WordPress websites in the U.K. We are a WordPress Agency you can rely on.

If you are searching for an experienced WordPress Web Designer then please do get in contact with us – we would love to be involved in your next project!

Jason Brothers

Jason Brothers is the owner of Brothers Creative and his mission is to make your business more successful online. He has been in the design and marketing industry since 1996, working with brands such as Sotheby's, Royal Mail, American Express, and BP. Jason is from Northampton and currently lives there with his wife and three children.

Our Clients Love Us!

“We are regularly faced with challenging projects which generate a large amount of complex and integrated design work with many stakeholders needing to make decisions. Jason was always supportive as the designer on the project; suggesting ideas around problem issues, taking the initiative on the details and simply a pleasure to work with. I would thoroughly recommend Jason to anyone wanting great creative results from a designer with an eye for detail as well as a business brain.”


“We have been very impressed by Brothers Creative’s ability to literally read our minds and deliver a corporate identity that perfectly symbolizes our vision and conveys the stylish, elegant and modern image we needed to sustain the international development of our company.”

National Locums

“Brothers Creative have implemented some great creative solutions for us. They have taken the time to understand what we were trying to achieve, establishing a consistent visual approach which has worked well for us. Importantly, they have consistently demonstrated both patience and, critically, a sense of humour!”

Freeths LLP

'Our school has been using Brothers Creative for our school website for the last three years. Working with them we started from scratch on our new site and I have always found them to be helpful and professional as well as flexible. Our school website is easy to use, maintain and navigate and we have been able to build in extra functionality over time. Technical support is always on hand and reasonably priced. Jason is friendly, personable and clearly loves working with schools. I would not go anywhere else for a school website provider.'

Bracken Leas School

“It is an absolute pleasure working with Brothers Creative. When working on projects and campaigns, Jason is thorough from start to finish and is brilliant with introducing fresh and exciting ideas. It's comforting working with a company who understands National Locums' company ethos inside out, which is why our branding is so strong and effective. I would highly recommend Brothers Creative if you want your business to stand out and really give your branding that creative twist!”

National Locums

“Brothers Creative designed our school website as well as a new school prospectus. At all points, it was clear that we had absolute control of what we wanted the final result to look like. At a recent inspection, Ofsted were particularly impressed with the website design! The communication is good and Brothers Creative are always easy to contact. All in all, a very positive experience. Thank you!”

St. Andrews CEVA

“We have used Brothers Creative for 6 of our school websites in the past 4 years. In all cases, we have had outstanding results. Coordination from concept, through design to implementation and follow-up, has been excellent.”

Inspiring Futures Through Learning

“We are thrilled with Brothers Creative's fabulous design work. They understood what we wanted and offered us creative ideas which helped to move our thinking forward. They were thoroughly great to work with – professional and personable. We would unconditionally recommend them to anyone.”

The Grange School

'I love our academy website and brochure! From the start of the idea to it's completion, Jason supported us with his experience and technical advice! We often have comments from parents, new staff and visitors about how easy to use it is and how it gives such a good impression of the academy. We are always looking at ways to improve the ways in which we share information on the website and have constant ideas for improvements. With Jason supporting and advising us this is easy to achieve. Great service, thank you!'

Oakway Academy

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