After a long brainstorming session, the idea and strategy formation for your blog is done. You have narrowed down the niche you want to write about. You have also thought of turning your blog into an e-commerce business to sell your merchandise in the long run. All you need next is a content management system (CMS) to bring your idea to fruition. However, for beginners, understanding and then later choosing the best content management system from a myriad of CMS available in the space can be quite daunting. To make this easier, we have catalogued the best content management system software for you to choose and publish your content. But first, let’s understand what a CMS platform is.
What is a CMS Platform?
A CMS platform tackles this challenge by enabling you to create a website without the programming know-how and writing a lot of code. Now, let's understand what to look for in a CMS platform.
What Makes a Great CMS Platform?
When choosing the right CMS platform for your website, here are a few boxes that it must check.
A CMS must make it easy for a user to create, edit, and publish content. For this reason, it must have a drag and drop interface to add different elements to your web pages. Moreover, it must make the web pages and the content easily editable after publishing them.
- Design options
A great CMS platform must offer an ample amount of website template designs for you to choose from. On top of this, the templates must be easily customizable to suit your requirements without the need of writing code.
- Data portability
You should choose a CMS that gives you the freedom to export and move your data as you please. For example, if you choose to move to a different CMS or another hosting service in the future, your current CMS must have data portability to make it easier for you to move your data.
- Extensions and addons
Every website is unique with different requirements and it is unfeasible for a CMS platform to fulfil those requirements. This is where extensions and addons come into the picture. These separate software can enhance and expand the features of your CMS. New extensions can also be added when new features are needed.
- Help and support options
Even though CMS platforms are supposed to be simple and easy to use, doubts and questions might still arise. When you get stuck, an around-the-clock help and support option must be available. To clear out the confusion about some basic doubts, some CMS providers have FAQs. While some have a slow customer service team, others have a big community that can help with almost any query.
- The Cost Factor
While some CMS platforms don’t cost a dime, a few charge a monthly subscription fee. However, it must be noted that even with free CMS platforms, you might have to pay for third-party extensions or designs. Before choosing the best content management system for your website, dig a little deeper into the cost factor to avoid any surprises.
Best Content Management Systems
With the differentiator points above, let's explore some of the best Content Management System platforms available in the market.
As per W3Techs, WordPress’s market share has increased from 51 percent to 65 percent in the last decade. It is also important to note that approx. 43 percent of the websites on the internet are backed by WordPress. Undoubtedly, WordPress.org is the best content management system software in the market today.
Often confused with wordpress.com, wordpress.org is, in fact, different. As an open-source CMS, WordPress.org was originally designed for blogging but now it is used for websites/ online stores. However, you have to host your WordPress website yourself and that means finding a suitable hosting provider. WordPress itself will not cost anything but you have to pay approx. $9-$15 per year for the domain name and around $7.99 a month for hosting an account with a web host to run WordPress.
- WordPress is the most flexible CMS platform and it enables you to create several types of websites such as auction sites, online sites, membership sites, and more.
- Technical skills and coding knowledge is not required to create great-looking pages on the website. The CMS offers a block editor which makes the task easy.
- You can generate revenue from different sources from your website.
- WordPress offers thousands of themes and plugins which prove extra useful for your sites such as photo galleries, contact forms, and more.
- One of the most important aspects of WordPress is that it is search engine optimization (SEO) friendly. With this CMS, you can easily generate SEO-friendly URLs, tags, and categories for your posts.
- WordPress has one of the biggest supportive communities in the world as it is an open-source CMS.
- You can download all the content in an XML format which allows you to move your content freely to other CMS platforms.
- It is highly beginner-friendly.
- You are responsible for things like domain name, hosting, backups, and security.
- It offers a lot of options and flexibility and it can sometimes cause the phenomenon of over choice especially if you are just getting started. For this reason, beginners use the drag and drop page builder plugin.
2. HubSpot CMS Hub
If there is a fully integrated CMS specially designed for business owners and marketers, HubSpot CMS Hub tops the list. As it is built on HubSpot’s CRM platform it offers tools for automation, sales, marketing, service, and operation. It is one of the best content management systems to grow a business and large enterprises alike.
This CMS platform has three tiers which are Starters, Professional, and Enterprise. The starter plan costs $25 a month with all the features to build a full-fledged website. The professional and enterprise tiers are well suited to creating complex web apps that require a lot of dynamic personalization.
- Without any technical skills, a beginner can build a website with HubSpot’s website builder. Its built-in SEO tools and drag and drop editor make it easy to optimize the web content.
- You can customize your web page according to a large segment of your audience of specific visitors with HubSpot CMS Hub’s smart content feature.
- For experienced developers, however, there are command-line tools, server-less functions, and flexible theme options to make necessary changes and customize the webpage further.
- This CMS platform offers enhanced security which includes a Web Application Firewall along with global CDN to keep your website safe from hackers, DDoS attacks, and other intruders.
- It also seamlessly integrates with sales CRM and email marketing tools to streamline your workflow.
They offer a free trial but a free version is not available.
It is not the best option for e-commerce websites. However, it can seamlessly integrate with WooCommerce and WordPress.
Joomla is known for its diverse templates and extensions that make it one of the most popular and free open-source content management system platforms. Similar to WordPress, it is free to use and you have to pay for the domain name and hosting. Joomla has a lot of features and several web hosts offer installation with a single click. But we can’t ignore the fact that it is best suited for experienced website creators and developers and not so ideal for beginners.
Joomla is free but you have to pay for web hosting and a domain name that supports Joomla. You may even have to pay for some extensions that add extra functionality. And let’s not forget the cost of developers based on your requirements.
- It is an ideal choice to create a complicated or bespoke website with the help of its flexibility and ample amounts of options.
- Even though programming knowledge is required for Joomla, non-programmers can still use it as your content is easily editable.
- As it is an open-source platform, you can get a lot of community support.
- Joomla can also be used to run an e-commerce business with a lot of available extensions.
- It can be quite challenging and sometimes a developer may be required to help out.
- If you are accustomed to using WordPress and its thousands of themes and plugins, then Joomla will not feel ideal for you as it doesn't have a lot of additional extensions.
When it comes to an e-commerce platform, WooCommerce is the most popular platform in the world. It offers great flexibility and ease of use. Technically speaking, WooCommerce is not a CMS platform. It is a plugin on WordPress and hence you need WordPress on your website to install WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce is free but you will need WooCommerce domain name and hosting to get started.
- With a lot of themes, you can get your website to look exactly how you want.
- WooCommerce has a lot of extensions to add an extra oomph to your website.
- You can sell affiliate products, digital and well as physical products through WooCommerce.
- You can easily track your inventory and stock through WooCommerce.
- You can add several payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, and more through extensions and add-ons.
- For beginners, choosing from a lot of options can be quite daunting.
- For extended support, you have to use themes specifically made for WooCommerce.
Drupal is one of the best content management systems in the market, It is used by some of the major websites such as The Economist and several universities. Drupal is ideal for developers and for people that can hire a developer. It is one of the best options to build a bespoke website that can handle a lot of data. A Drupal website is hosted on SiteGround and they offer a free installation.
- Users can easily add content as the custom content types offer flexibility and a lot of options.
- You can add a lot of different modules on your website which works like WordPress plugins.
- The community offers great support just like WordPress and Joomla in case you get stuck.
- You can create different roles and mention their permissions which makes user management very easy.
- It is quite challenging for beginners to change the look of their website. It is not as easy to use as WordPress.
- It can be expensive as a developer is required to create a customized theme for your website.
In today’s competitive landscape, a website is very important, and choosing the right CMS platform can make your business highly profitable. Therefore before choosing your CMS platform, you must keep convenience, design options, data portability, extensions, and plugins in mind. You must also look into the pricing beforehand.