Content management systems (CMS) allow users to create, edit and publish content on their website. Content could be text, image, audio or video.
Your choice of a content management system is a pretty important consideration; after all, your content is one of the most important aspects of generating business in the first place. Your content drives traffic, establishes you as an authority in your particular niche, creates leads and ultimately generates conversions.
But, what makes a good content management system? This is sort of a complex question because, like everything, it depends on your type of business, your skillset as far as coding goes, cost considerations, you and other aspects that pertain to your particular business.
Ultimately, not every CMS will be a good option for every business out there.
That said, choosing a highly-rated CMS that does well from both an expert and average user point-of-view is a good starting point. You also need a reliable and secure content management system.
The problem is that choosing a CMS is not easy; there are a lot of options to choose from (somewhere between 250 and 350 options, in fact).
WordPress and Weebly are some of the best most well-known content management systems out there, but are the best? (You will have to read to find out).
With all of this in mind, this blog post has scoured all of the professional reviews and forums on the topic to compile a shortlist of the best content management systems.
If you scour the web for the “best” content management system for your website, the consensus is typically this: WordPress. Not surprisingly, WordPress is also the most used content management system with over 18 million installations.
For being a free platform, WordPress strikes a very good balance between ease-of-use and functionality.
But, given that there anywhere between 250 and 350 CMSs out there, what makes WordPress particularly great?
- It’s Free. For most small businesses, cost is often a leading consideration. The fact that WordPress is completely free makes this CMS an easy choice for businesses looking for a reliable and yet cost-effective choice.
- It’s Easy. What do users love about WordPress? WordPress is typically regarded as the easiest CMS out there with its drag and drop system. With WordPress you need no coding skills. That means that you don’t have to rely on an in-house developer to manage your content. In fact, WordPress is so user-friendly and intuitive that even beginners can pick up the system in just a few minutes. There is virtually no learning curve.
WordPress is best suited for small and/or simple websites.
- Great Customization. WordPress allows users to install both pre-made and third-party themes (from over 14,000 free design templates) to personalize your website and build your brand the way you want to. Regardless of your particular industry, you will be able to customize your website the way that reflects your business and what you do. While the overall customization will be a little more limited for those without any coding skills, developers will be able to customize your website using WordPress in just about any way possible.
- Functionality. Sure, those looking for a more advanced CMS will find that the level of customization with WordPress less advanced, but the average user will find that WordPress offers a large selection of plugins and widgets. Whether you need a SEO plugin or an OG image, WordPress offers a solid level of customization (here are 17 WordPress plugins your website can’t live without) to personalize your website and build your brand. The Woocommerce plugin, for example, can turn your site into a shopping cart.
While some have lamented on the lack of support that is available (particularly a chat function), WordPress is a such a big community that there are countless number of tutorials out there that will help you to navigate this content management system.
Cons: At Yocale, we like to always give a balanced review of the products that we review. WordPress is no exception. One of the more serious concerns about WordPress is the fact that is can be vulnerable to hacking. It is the plugins that cause these security concerns.
While this is a concern, you can reduce these security threats by ensuring that you update your WordPress software on a regular basis. This should be done whenever a new security update comes up.
That said, it’s important to note these updates may require some degree of effort for some users given the fact that they aren’t necessarily always compatible with the extensions. So, keep in mind that installing these updates can be timely.
In addition to these security flaws, overall performance can be slow when traffic is high.
Joomla! is another content management system that experiences a significant amount of the market share. It is another very popular CMS used by millions of people – in fact, it is the second biggest CMS on the market.
However, there’s a caveat. It’s important to first acknowledge that a content management system like Joomla! is designed for more high-end websites – specifically those with an in-house development team.
That said, if you even have beginner developer-related skills, Joomla! could be a good fit as it designed for both beginner and more expert developers out there. In other words, you have to have at least some coding skills.
We understand that each business has its own needs; although Joomla! is a less accessible content management system compared to WordPress, we included it on our list of the best CMSs for those looking for more advanced options.
As an open-source CMS, users have the ability to switch coders or hosts at any point. This makes it very easy for businesses to simply hire freelance developers to work on the site.
Here are a few things that make Jooma! stand out:
- Robust Features. If you are looking to implement specific features on your site, whether custom coding or a responsive calendar, Joomla! is a content management system that has the ability to make those more specific features happen.
- It’s Free. Joomla! is another free content management system, which is great for users who are looking for a more cost-effective CMS. That said, keep in mind that many extensions do come an extra cost, but these are typically much less than content management systems like Drupal.
- Great Customization. With thousands of free extensions (7400, to be exact) and templates, you can customize your website to fit your exact business needs.
- Great Community. Like WordPress, Joomla! has a strong community behind it; should you need support along the way, Joomla! has the community to help you. As you saw above, Joomla! is less accessible, but there are a lot of handbooks and active forums out there that can help you to get your website up and running.
Cons: One of the more glaring downsides of Joomla!, especially in comparison to a content management system like WordPress, is the fact that’s not the most user-friendly.
This is particularly true of the backend. There are a lot of configurations that require users to have at least basic web design skills.
Given all of the features, users should expect to encounter a learning curve when navigating around this particular content management system.
Those in roles without a lot of technical experience should be able to keep websites up-to-date but will typically be unable to make any design changes without the help of a web developer.
Simply put, users have to be specifically trained in order to update or add content. This means that Joomla! Is not the most accessible content management system on this list. However, as mentioned above, we included it for those who are looking for a more sophisticated CMS.
To this end, Joomla! is a stronger option.
Coming in at third place on our list is Drupal, another open-source content management system.
Fun fact: Drupal is used by the White House.
Whereas WordPress may be the best option for small businesses (although this isn’t necessarily always the case) and Joomla! Is best for more high-end websites, Drupal can do whatever you need to do.
In other words, it is flexible enough to work for more simple websites or more sophisticated ones as well – this is one of the things that makes it different from the other two content management systems on this list.
Similar to Joomla!, however, there is also a caveat with this content CMS as well: this is a content management that is best suited toward those with at least basic HTML skills.
However, aside from the issue of accessibility, most users of Drupal will tell you that any time you invest into this content management system will be well worth it in the end.
- It’s Free. Like the other two content management systems on our list, Drupal is also free. However, that’s only part of the equation. The extensions make Drupal much more costly to build in the end over both WordPress and Joomla!.
- It’s Versatile. Whether you are looking to run a single page blog or run an e-commerce store, Drupal makes it possible to do so. If you wanted to run an enterprise information system of 10,000 users, Drupal can also accommodate those needs as well.
- Highly Functional. Drupal is one of the most powerful content management systems out there. Users like the flexibility that Drupal gives them to create websites that are as creative and functional as they want them to be. In this respect, it is on par with Joomla!.
With Drupal, you can add just about any feature you want by installing a simple module (only a small fraction of the features require writing custom code).
For example, there is a commerce module that allows you to add various shopping functions to your website; the membership module allows you to offer membership-based services to your site and so on. There are over 36,000 modules. You can also combine these modules in any number of ways.
Inside these modules, however, are smaller modules, which means that you only have to implement the specific features that you need.
- Relatively User-Friendly. Unlike a CMS like Joomla!, Drupal is user-friendly enough that a team of developers aren’t necessarily needed to make design changes to the website. As you saw above, the CMS is based around modules, which means that users don’t have to have strong coding skills to navigate this CMS.
Again, changes can also be made without having to know HTML. All you need to do is click “edit.” That said, there is still a learning curve involved with Drupal overall. At its most basic level, however, Drupal is a relatively simple solution. If you are already familiar with HTML, you will not have any problems navigating your way around this content management system.
- It’s Highly Safe. Drupal is one of the safest content management systems out there, one of the least likely to be hacked out of all of the other platforms. This is one of the standout features of Drupal.
- Great Community. While some users comment on the poor support options of Drupal, a lot of others mention Drupal’s community is one of its strong suits. There are also a lot of tutorials on YouTube as well.
Cons: Depending upon your comfort level with more technical aspects of the web design, the fact that Drupal requires some coding skills (or at least the help of a developer) is a potential con of using Drupal as your content management system.
On top of this, and as one user has described, there is a “Drupal” way to do things, which can make the process more complicated. There are often a number of ways that you could go about a particular task and it is not always clear what method would the best.
Some modules, for example, could require that you write your custom code or that you fix bugs on your own.
If this is the case, you may be better suited to choosing a CMS like WordPress or a similar WordPress alternative.
In addition to this, the fact that Drupal is an open-source solution means that you are required to update your software yourself.
Drupal releases an update every 2-3 years, which means that, while Drupal is getting better, it also means that you have to re-write any custom code on your site. Modules also have to be replaced (the content can, however, be transferred).
Lastly, Drupal is more costly than the other two content management systems.
Wrapping It Up
Your choice of content management system is an important one. However, your choice will be largely dependent upon your specific needs as a business.
If you are a looking to run a simple website, and lack coding skills, WordPress is a good option.
Joomla! is a highly recommended option for those looking to run a more high-end website, but keep in mind that you will typically need developers on your side.
Drupal is arguably the most powerful content management system on this list with the most flexibility. However, it is also one of the most costly options as well.
What has your experience been with content management systems? We’ve love to hear more about your experiences – both good and bad.
If you are an appointment-based business, it’s also important for your Google My Business listing to show up in search results. Yocale is an official partner of Google, which means that your business calendar will be integrated into Google Search and Google Maps, leading more clients to discover your business and book more appointments.
Yocale is home to the best scheduling software available on the market. With our beautiful and easy-to-use calendar, we give you the extra hand you need to run and grow your business at the same time. Click here to sign up or learn more.