I’ve been keeping a close eye on the different open source CMS’s that are coming out these days, mainly for link building opportunities. If you’re a WordPress or Joomla theme designer you most likely have distributed free themes in order to build links and get exposure for your work. I’m aware that Google has been watching this practice closely because a lot of folks were selling the link spots(Sponsored Themes Discussed @ Webmaster World). Now if you’re a web design company or freelancer, there is no problem using this as a form of marketing. Unfortunately the theme market for the likes of phpBB, vBulletin, WordPress, Joomla, yaddy yadda, is way over saturated these days.
There are all sorts of new open source CMS’s coming on the market, and a handful of them are starting to get a large use rbase. There are CMS’s for DIGG clones, forums, social networking sites, social bookmarking, web 2.0 and new blogging platforms. These are perfect times to grab some new business and get a chance to work with a different platform. Because there are so many the possibilities are endless, and would be a great way to expand your design firm to the next level. Lets take a look at 6 CMS’s that are growing rapidly and are desperately in the need of both free and premium themes.
Pligg is almost perhaps too popular to be called an “untapped resource”, but since it makes for a perfect first example I’ll go with it. I’m not sure on the exact number of downloads, but looking at a few factors indicates that there have been a few hundred thousand downloads of Pligg in the past few years. You can search for “powered by pligg” which is nowhere near acurate at 1.5 million results. That and the fact the forum has 35 thousand members is how I can up with that number. The search phrase “Pligg Temaplates” is searched for on average 40xday. The competition in the search listings ins’t too scary and there are already a bunch of places you can promote your theme like in the Pligg forum.
Elgg is quite possibly the most popular open source social networking platform at the moment. The software its self is brilliant and there is no secret as to why it’s so popular. There are plenty of opportunities for theme design with Elgg both on the forums, gaining top rankings and freelance sites. The one thing I did notice about Elgg, which is also what made me write this post, is that there is a serious lacking in the theme department. You can advertise your free themes within the community, on various Elgg theme sites and try and rank for some quality keywords.
ModX has been gaining a lot of ground for its triumphant web 2.0 properties featuring clean SEO friendly code, and sexy Ajax to make it all spiffy. Their forum is very active in not only English, but many other languages which also shows a strong sign that ModX will be here for a long time to come. There is a strong need for paid and free themes and the link building opportunities are definitely there.
Social Web Content Management System(bloody mouthful) is a fork off from the first mentioned Pligg software and in my opinion looks and works like it will be the true champion of Digg clones soon enough. Now is a great time to build some links and buzz by creating great templates for this rapidly evolving CMS. Right now there are a few sites where you can submit your template as well hit up the template section on the user forum.
Concrete5 is one of my favorite up and coming CMS’s and I’d like you guys to take a minute to check out the demo, features and scalability of the framework. You PHP and Ajax programmers are going to have a fun time with this CMS. I trulely believe that Concrete5 will be making big waves in the near future and they’re going to need theme designers! Why not use the opportunity to build some quality links on this web 2.0 platform.
Plone is most likely a new word to your vocabulary, and it was fairly new to me up until the other day. Plone is a well supported and heavily used CMS that boats a long list of big sites running the platform. This CMS is great for community based websites as well sites that have a magazine/minimal feeling to them, so you’ll be able to get creative with your design. This is another example of a great CMS needing more designers and present more opportunities to build more links.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of possibilities for design teams to generate more business and build links from theme resources that are not over saturated. I hope you designers out there found this useful and that it gives you a ton of new ideas on how to drum up more business.