Need a low-cost website content management system for a professional networking organization
September 7, 2011 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a website content management system for a professional networking organization staffed entirely by volunteers on a tight budget.

I am helping a small organization finally establish a web presence. While we might extend into social networking in the future, our immediate goal is to be able to post meeting schedules, meeting programs, various handouts, and similar types of materials in a way that can be accessed by all members. While we could run all this via a statically-coded site updated by a couple of web admins, we would prefer to have a CMS so that an (authorized) group of people can upload things and some group (perhaps the same group) can update the substance of the web pages, e.g. to point at those things so they can be downloaded.

That's really the only functionality we're looking for, it doesn't need to be fancy. We are not adverse to paying to license a product as long as it is inexpensive, though we would be OK with something open source, too. I anticipate that we will be buying a copy of the product and installing it ourselves, although a hosted solution would be great (in my experience, they are more expensive, is all).

A little more about the organization: it is a professional networking organization. It has an all-volunteer staff, with the accompanying frequent turnover of people in various roles. The only budget comes from the (low) annual dues paid by the members. So, simplicity and low cost are important attributes for the CMS. Thanks much.
posted by rkent to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you have someone with the skills to set it up I'd recommend WordPress.
posted by pyro979 at 5:52 PM on September 7, 2011

2nding Wordpress. Most web hosts these days have a one-click install of Wordpress - so you don't any real skills to get it running.
posted by COD at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2011

Huh! Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't looked into WordPress in a long time, and had been thinking of it strictly as a blogging platform.
posted by rkent at 6:57 PM on September 7, 2011

You might want to look into Google Sites.

You can set up a webpage, hook your organization's members up with profile accounts, gmail, docs, calendars, groups, wikis, etc. - pretty much all the major google offerings. If you have a high turnover, it might be particularly good because you don't need to do as much training. It's free to a point, and then there's some kind of fee.

It's way simpler than wordpress, but is not as elegant/professional and comes with fewer choices.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 7:13 PM on September 7, 2011

WordPress is the way to go. People make it do all sorts of things. I'll go out on a limb and claim it's got the biggest ecosystem of high-quality themes and plugins of any CMS, and lots of the best stuff is either free or very affordable.
posted by evariste at 7:47 PM on September 7, 2011

Nthing Wordpress. You can do a lot with it with the right themes and plugins.

Need to do a podcast or a video blog? Right there.

Doing a webcomic? That's what the ComicPress plugin is for.

You can create users in it and give them different roles for doing things, and also set it up so that before anything goes out it gets reviewed. While it did start as a blogging platform, it's got a lot of other options now.
posted by mephron at 11:19 PM on September 7, 2011

I'm in the same type of org and we use WordPress. You would never know it is a blogging platform to look at our site - the site looks professional. And I've found it quite accessible for people with limited computer experience.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:23 PM on September 7, 2011

Wordpress. I set it up as a CMS at a local church; the office administrator and one of the priests have used it with VERY minimal instruction from me.

With the latest versions, a lot of the things you used to have to install plugins for are now part of the base system - definitely worth checking out if you have not done so in a while.
posted by kellygrape at 6:53 AM on September 8, 2011

Also consider Verb and Weebly. Both are cheap, hosted solutions.
posted by 4midori at 8:03 AM on September 8, 2011

Actually, I'm going to buck the Wordpress trend and instead suggest CMS Made Simple. Free, fairly easy to set up, and the actual content-management part is what sold us on it - easy to use and better yet, easy understand and teach others to use.
Only downside is a lack of themes like Wordpress has.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:16 AM on September 8, 2011

Google Sites
posted by WizKid at 11:40 AM on September 8, 2011

« Older Grind down our lead painted windows?   |   Its the end of the world and not only do I feel... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.