First to start out I have nothing against CMS Systems. I personally use them when needed and the project fits. They can help a developer very much, but at the same time I think they can be overused and do some harm. The only reason that I say this is because web design and development used to be personal, creative, and personalized (yes there is a difference). Now with CMS' you have a lot of features that are easily integrated, and needed: saving time and money, even for us developers it can be a great choice.
But like I said when it is overused and not individualized enough your site just looks like anyone and everyone else's. The personalization is gone, or not asked for so much. Clients don't want a big development, or design, and that makes it harder to even get jobs when someone can that easily get their site running. Like I said with the last post: Skilled services that we trained for and that grew from experience and time are not needed, or at least like they used to be.
Now on to the good. Most CMS' have a list of packaged features, and countless plugins like:
Email and Newsletters
Dynamic posting, and blogs
Twitter, Facebook, etc. built in
and so much more.
So what's the verdict? I love a CMS when the time is right. When it's not I go with a custom build. Like I said the only things that I would like to see is: More creativity in the design of sites using CMS', Less overusing them just because they're there, and in turn that will help people want more custom sites come back up.
Now as far as free templates Yes I used to think when they burst big years ago it would hurt business. I will say now I was wrong.
Here is why I believe that. Free templates are mixed: both pro's and the community make them. Be it for business, to help someone, or whatever else their reason. Quality is also mixed but most free templates albeit helping someone is what I feel are two categories:
1. A layout template: meaning more for what the page contains. The graphics, etc. are meant to be replaced. It is there for the positioning.
2. Full templates: Everything is intact, preferring you change graphics, but still all there. The quality, or customization is lacking, or full but there are thousands of downloads. So if you want to use it exclusivly you either can't or can for a price resulting in business.
So my opinion on this is free templates are actually helping web design/developers. Go ahead and make them. Some people can't afford paid ones.
That is why I have decided that JCWC will be making free templates available on our blog! (Later on the site) The first one will hopefully be ready and available for download around Thanksgiving, so keep an eye out.
* also I forgot earlier to mention you can make your CMS different with templates. The main thing I see with that is most still look like a CMS. Be it layout, branding, etc. it is rare to find a unique one with the same functionality. If I am wrong please feel free to comment and I will check it out.
Until next time Jersey