A New CMS and Why

As some of you may know, I launched a new, simple cms system yesterday called Clover Content. I thought you might be interested in understanding why I spent the last year developing yet another cms.

There’s a real problem with content management systems. I’m not talking about the big enterprise platforms. I’m talking about the basic content management software that simple web sites need and use. They often do too much. That’s right. Modern content management software does too much.

For example, I have a friend with a pretty average technical acumen. This friend needed a simple website for an organization that he had started and I, being a web nerd, decided to help him set up a site. So we did the usual. I went to Godaddy and bought a suitable domain along with a basic Linux hosting account, while he stared over my shoulder in wonder. I found a template for his site and we paid a fair price for a nice pre-made design. So the next step was to get him up and running with a cms so he could manage all of his content without needing any further assistance from me.

My first instinct was to go with Drupal. I have tooled around with Drupal in the past and it has a good reputation among the web-savvy. So I installed Drupal, started configuring the site and I soon realized, this is way more functionality and configuration than my friend needs. Not to mention, it’s way more than he can handle. A little time with Joomla presented the same dilemma. These systems have too much complexity; too much functionality; too much configuration. Not only that, but working with the template frameworks of these systems was going to be a nightmare. Remember, I already spent some money on a pre-made template for this site. I was going to have to make the template fit the cms. Not fun.

So, with all these issues before me, I realized why so many developers end up rolling their own cms system. It’s because what’s out there is more than a simple site needs. A simple website needs a simple cms. Don’t get me wrong, Drupal, Joomla, Worpress and the like are all great systems and they have their markets, but often they are more complex than necessary for small sites. Another major issue with the standard content management system is the need to have a database running on your server and the need to install software. It’s always a problem to have to patch your cms because of some update, or deal with setting up a database to run your cms.

Just like software is moving more and more from the desktop to the cloud, it seems advantageous that server based systems might do the same. Instead of installing 10 versions of WordPress on the sites of 10 of your clients, on 10 different servers (all separate, all requiring maintenance), why not host your content in a central location? This way all of your client’s content is in one place and there are no software installations or databases to maintain. Centralizing content makes good sense. Using a CMS as a services makes good sense.

I realize there are lots (thousands) of content management systems out there and there’s no one system that’s right for everyone, but I think that Clover Content is right for most small sites and for people who manage a lot of sites for clients. Anyway, that’s why I boostrapped this startup and entered the arena. Let me know what you think.

Mint is Sweet

Mint is probably the most impressive web application on the planet right now. And with the economy getting more shaky every day, who doesn’t need to monitor their finances? I started using Mint about a year ago. At that time it was nice, but pretty basic.

Now, Mint has one of the best user experiences on the web. From a developer’s standpoint, I’m amazed at the things this app can do and just how smooth it is. The design is great as well. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you give it a shot.

Web App Update: Minuteglass

It has been awhile since we updated you on our progress with our web application. We’ve had a number of setbacks. Hired developers only to have them leave, and more. For the last several months we’ve really gotten on a roll with development. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to develop the product forgoing any outside developers who come knocking.

Our product has had a few names during our development process. Picking a name for a product is incredibly tricky. Not only do you need to come up with a good name that everyone likes, but you have to find the domain name.

Previously, the product was called Roundup, and before that Windstorm.

Now, we’ve come up with a name we’re happy with. It’s Minuteglass. It’s like “hourglass” but for minutes. Get it? We like it and we’re working on logos and also working on the product. The product is coming together faster and we’re excited to release it. At this time we don’t have an ETA. Stay tuned!

More at our blog for the product: www.trackthetime.com and at www.minuteglass.com

September Refresh Phoenix: Marketing for Web Apps

I’ll be speaking at Refresh Phoenix in September and giving a talk called Marketing for Web Apps.

What’s it about? It’s a review of marketing efforts that have worked for other web app companies mixed with marketing topics and ideas geared especially for people who need to spread the word about their web application, software, or web site.

It includes marketing insights which I have personally received from the founders of Campaign Monitor, Brightkite, Dogster, Geni, JumpBox, Viddler, Tumblr, JotForm, Harvest, SmugMug, Ma.gnolia, Beanstalk, Wufoo and Cashboard. Not to be missed!

If you live in Phoenix, be sure to come!
When: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Cost: Free
Location: See Refresh Phoenix web site