Which content management system should you build your website on?
Learn the pros and cons of some of the most popular CMS platforms
Until the creation of content management systems, it was almost impossible for non-technical people to run their websites properly. Dedicated technical teams were essential to maintain websites. However, CMS platforms have practically transformed the way people manage their websites.
What are content management systems?
Content management systems are the best way to effectively manage your website without having to dabble in the knowledge of coding. CMS platforms allow you to add new content to your site using an easy interface. This removes the need to hard code new content and allows business owners to keep a close eye on the management of their digital presence.
Content management systems often offer an integrated environment to allow efficient management of all the different facets of your website. Here are just some of the most common features of CMS systems.
- Page alteration
- Content addition/removal
- Analytics integration
- Security management
Thanks to these features, CMS platforms are now an integral part of any successful website. They allow a much higher level of control and convenience.
But which CMS is right for your website? Every CMS offers its own advantages are disadvantages.
Today, we're going to evaluate the pros and cons of some of the most commonly used CMS platforms across the world. However, before we dig deeper into that, it's important to define the features that make a great CMS system.
A brief note before we go any further: If you're building an ecommerce site, there are CMS platforms built specifically for that niche. You can read more about them in our guide to ecommerce platforms.
Features to look for in a content management system
The perfect features for the right CMS platform definitely depend on your exact requirements. However, there are some common factors that are important in every CMS.
While looking for a CMS for your website, you want to choose one that gives you the control you need. Limited functionality is going to be a major hassle as your website grows and adds more content. It's important to plan out ahead and choose a CMS that can grow with you. From order management to editing, make sure that your CMS system incorporates all your requirements.
As the leader of the startup, it is really important for you to have a constant pulse on the general functioning of your company’s website. It is really important to ensure that you are updated with every aspect of the website. To ensure that the day-to-day operations are easily managed, going for a CMS that provides easy usage is important. This is especially true if you are from a non-technical background and want to stay updated with your general website functions.
Money can be tight when you're a startup. Make sure that you go for an option that provides quality at an affordable price. The ability to have flexible payment options is also a great added feature to take into consideration while choosing the perfect CMS for your website.
The technical world is never perfect. There are always going to be updates and minor issues. What is important is having prompt support from the platform to solve your problems and help you reach a solution. While deciding on the right CMS for your company, make sure you give ample consideration to the support of the platform as well.
Plugins are an easy way to add additional functionality to your website. They also allow you to achieve multi-dimensional loads by using a simple plug and play mechanism. While choosing your CMS to make sure that it also offers a wide plugin library to help you easily add new facets to your website.
Now you know some of the features to look for. To help you make a better decision, we're going to dip deeper and explore the pros and cons of some of the major CMS platforms.
Popular content management systems
All CMS platforms are created to simplify your website management and provide you with helpful tools to grow your online presence. But, every CMS platform has its own benefits and drawbacks. The perfect one for you depends primarily on your specific business requirements.
Squarespace is one of the most popular CMS platforms across the globe. It uses an easy drag and drop interface and templating to help you put together a website with little to no coding ability. The design features of Squarespace have gained it a reputation as one of the most convenient CMS platforms.
- Secure access for multiple users
- Highly user-friendly interface
- Creates mobile-friendly sites
- Limited customization
- Lack of plugins/add-ons
- Limited third-party integrations
- Subscription-based price model
- Poor SEO performance
Verdict: Squarespace is the perfect platform if you're looking to develop a beautiful website on a limited budget. However, it leaves little room for custom functionality. The lack of 3rd party plugins and integration is also definitely something that feels missing. Squarespace sites also tend to underperform for SEO.
Chances are that you recognize Wix from their YouTube advertisements. Today, Wix.com is the fastest growing digital website developer in the world. The CMS provides extreme ease of website creation, providing seamless access to professional tools. The CMS is famous for simplifying the process for users across the world.
- Simple drag and drop interface
- Easy development environment
- Prompt technical support
- No subscription cost
- Inability to change themes
- Limited customization
- Poor for SEO
Verdict: Despite being the easiest CMS to use, Wix really has some glaring disadvantages that limited the prospect of development in major areas. Apart from blogs, which Wix does perfectly, there's a major lack of resources geared towards more technical forms of development. The inability to change themes after first selection definitely sticks out like a major issue.
Joomla is one of the most used CMS systems in the world. Known for its feature list for small businesses, it is a great choice for companies looking to have additional add-ons to improve their site's functionality.
- Wide range of plugins
- Open source CMS
- High level of customizability
- Requires technical proficiency
- Lack of proper user Support
Verdict: Joomla is definitely the a great choice for experienced developers. It provides a huge library of plugins to help customize your site. However, it does require some technical know-how to get yourself set up. But, considering its ability to grow with your business, it's worth hiring a web developer to help build a Joomla site.
Drupal is extremely good at what it does. It's a platform that can handle complex, high-traffic websites, and it provides seamless handling and an unbelievable level of customizability. Designed to easily integrate multiple plug-ins, it's the perfect choice to work with large volumes of content and sophisticated features. But, Drupal definitely requires a high level of technical skill. If you choose to build your site on this platform, you'll likely need the help of a web developer.
- Perfect for large websites
- Multiple plugins available
- Supportive online community
- Compatible with custom solutions
- Requires a high level of technical skill
Verdict: Drupal is definitely perfect for companies that are looking to expand their content and expect their websites to deal with massive volumes of traffic. With the right guidance and the help of a web developer, Drupal is an extremely powerful solution for building your website.
WordPress is hands down, the biggest CMS platform in the world. More than 50% of all global websites run on WordPress. And, it has entry points for any level of technical skill. A user with no coding experience at all can build a simple site, while its level of customization means it can also be used to power extremely complex, high-traffic sites. There's also an enormous library of third-party plugins that can integrate a wide range of features into WordPress.
- Extremely customizable
- Options for all levels of technical proficiency
- High Admin Control
- Easy Content Management
- Allows multiple contributors
- Massive library of third-party plugins
- Highly SEO-friendly
- Large library of theme templates
- Lack of proper tutorial videos
- Speed issues with large websites
- Technical edits require coding skills
- Security issues
Verdict: WordPress makes a really strong case as to why it is the biggest CMS in the world. With the highest level of flexibility and support, it's a great option for startups. The best aspect is the convenience level it provides, allowing businesses with both technical/non-technical background to adapt the environment to their specific needs.
So which content management system should I choose?
The right CMS definitely depends on your core requirements. If you only need a simple landing page, you may want to go with a drag-and-drop CMS. If you're building a site with complex functionality, it's probably better suited to Joomla, Drupal or WordPress. And if you want to start simple with the option to grow your site's functionality along with your business, we'd recommend WordPress.