Why I use Perch CMS
Why I use Perch CMS?
There are several reasons and these will vary from website to website, but overall the main reasons are speed, simplicity of build and ease of use for my clients.
A content management system (CMS) gives the administrator of a website the ability to manage and change their content, such as adding a new page or blog post. Many systems out there can be relatively complex and time-consuming to install, which equates to more spend for clients. However, sometimes it makes sense to have a stripped-down version of a CMS, which is easy to install, configure and most importantly is simple to use when updating site content.
Perch can be classed as one of the smaller CMS systems when compared to WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, but this does not mean it is inadequate, especially the Runway version, which is very powerful and can provide a great deal of functionality for a website of any size. The simplicity of installing and configuring Perch means I can deploy a CMS driven website in a short period of time, which is perfect for both me and my clients
CMS stands for Content Management System. It’s the engine behind a website that powers it and enables an administrator to log in and make changes to text and images or maybe add a blog post. By having a CMS in place, texts, videos, images, pages etc., can be added, modified and re-arranged without any coding or help of an IT specialist.
What’s more, CMS systems usually takes care of a lot of “behind the scenes” work such as:-
- Automatically generating navigation elements
- Making content searchable and indexable
- Storing form entries such as enquiries or comments
- Keeping track of users, their permissions and security settings
- Forwarding form entries to email addresses.
Why Perch CMS is Different?
There are many great CMS products available on the market such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla – to name a few. The issue with all these CMS's is that they all share one common issue and that is that they try to please everyone by fitting in every business case scenario; mainly to reach a wider audience by being a one-size-fits-all solution.
The downside of this approach is that such CMS's come with masses of functionality that most people will never use. Every feature or piece of functionality that is not used will reflect in a performance drop (i.e. loading time).
A point in case being as website I recently took over which was a one-page site built with WordPress, this had no less than 46 CSS and JS calls to the server, this was replaced with a Perch website, where each page had a total of three CSS and JS calls to the server; and one of those was a print CSS, which was deferred.
Perch has a different but not unique approach. Rather than adding all the features that you might need at some point in the future, it starts with only the core functionality needed and lets you add plugins to add features when necessary, say a blog or Twitter feed.
To give you a picture of what is it like to work with Perch, have a look at the typical workflow:-
- Build a static website using HTML and CSS, this gives the layout and styling.
- Download and install the latest version of Perch.
- Add Perch to each page.
- Mark a region within your page to make it editable.
- Visit the page in your browser.
- Log in to the Perch control panel.
- Edit the region.
- Refresh the website, it really is that simple
Perch costs £61 per license but then you get all the official add-ons such as blog, event or form for free and all future upgrades of Perch are free. There really are no added costs, apart from maybe using an online image processor such as Kraken or antispam software such as Akismet, but these would be a cost with any website build.
Choosing the right platform for your website is a difficult process. It’s important to remember that a CMS does not necessarily affect the look and feel of your page, but rather manages the data and content behind it. The difference that Perch makes is, that it’s so easy to reproduce any desired look of the website because of its non-intrusive nature and can easily be built into an existing static website.
The whole platform is built around the website, not the other way around.
In this way, it’s very easy for my clients to get a grasp on how to edit their pages, mainly because each area from their website is represented within the system with the same name. The less guesswork, the quicker it is for them to work.
Update - March 2021
Unfortunately Perch has not seen any development recently as the husband and wife team that ran it have separated and it has been sold, I now tend towards Gridome hosted on Netlify and edited with Netlify CMS as my tool of choice.