If you are creating a website for any purpose, you will need to make a decision on which content management system (CMS) you are going to use. There is no ‘right answer’ to this question, as it will depend entirely on what kind of website you want to make – choosing the wrong platform for your website can make it far more challenging for you to get what you are looking for. So here is our guide to some of the systems currently available, along with whether they might be right for you.
WordPress is extremely popular – it currently accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s websites. Unsurprisingly, it is great for beginners and easy to use, which makes it excellent if you are building a small or medium sized site. There are thousands of free templates and extensions so there is plenty of flexibility in the CMS too.
As the CMS with the largest number of sites, WordPress also has the largest community which means that there are constantly innovations and features being added. But it should also be noted that some of these plugins can be security issues, so it is important to work closely with an experienced digital security provider.
Another enormous advantage of WordPress sites is that they are naturally search engine friendly, with features designed to appeal to Google such as simple URLs and good website layout and structure.
Best for: serious businesses that value SEO, ease of use and simplicity
Entirely designed for ecommerce, Magento is the largest platform for ecommerce sites. It is open source and free-to-use for anyone so it can appeal to those looking to set up a personalised ecommerce business and have a little technical knowledge.
Its major competitor is WooCommerce, which functions as a plugin for a standard WordPress site. So a major advantage here for Magento is that the CMS is specifically designed for ecommerce sites, whereas WooCommerce simply uses the standard WordPress CMS. Of course this comes with a downside for Magento in that it can’t be used for anything other than ecommerce.
Best for: ecommerce sites
Joomla is an excellent multi-purpose platform. It can be picked up quickly by beginners, but has enough functionality to satisfy advanced users. It’s a little harder for those with no experience than options like WordPress and Magento but setting up is easy and once you have learned the basics you are ready to go.
It can be used by just about anything from ecommerce and social networking to publishing sites and is designed to be better at managing more complex sites than WordPress or Magento. It’s worth noting, however, that to get the most out of the platform you will require a reasonable understanding of technical skills
Best for: flexibility without being too technical
Kentico is popular with businesses of all sizes, but typically takes less time to create a large site than a CMS like WordPress. The content editing experience is arguably more intuitive than other CMSs too and thanks to its makeup, websites than run on Kentico typically load faster than their competitors. But it does come with the downside that is one of the smaller CMSs which means there is less of a community available for support.
Best for: large websites
For those looking for extensive options for customisation, Drupal could be the perfect choice. To get the most out of this CMS you will require an understanding of languages including HTML, CSS and PHP but the possibilities for websites built in Drupal are enormous. It is also an extremely popular system that this supported by a large community of developers.
However, Drupal is far from the easiest CMS to use and suffers from poor backend compatibility, which can make it frustrating to work with, especially if you don’t have extensive experience.
Best for: customisation and advanced users
The most basic form of CMS and website builder are the hosted platforms, which are designed for absolute beginners. Systems such as Wix and SquareSpace allow you to choose from a range of templates which you can then customise to a limited degree. These types of CMS are only really suitable for fairly basic websites but if you don’t need anything complicated, this could be a good option.
The websites can typically be modified in a WYSIWYG format, keeping it as simple as possible for those users who really don’t have any experience in building a site. Of course, if your website requires any kind of advanced functions you may need to avoid this sort of CMS – sometimes it can be better to invest in someone to setup a more professional site for you rather than sticking with an extremely basic offering.
Best for: complete beginners and technophobes