Guide to Different Website CMS Platforms
CMS platforms help you to manage your website content but with so many on the market, how do you know which one is right for you?
Finding the right CMS platform for your website is no easy task.
There are thousands of Content Management Systems (CMS) on the market, each claiming to be the best. A good CMS allows you to easily create and manage a website without needing to understand a catalogue of code.
With so many options though, how do you determine which one is right for your business? Luckily for you the KIJO experts know a thing or two about Content Management Systems and have put together this guide to our top platforms to help you out.
- What is Content Management Systems (CMS)?
- How to Choose a CMS Platform
- Choosing the Right CMS
- Best Content Management Systems
- Final Thoughts
What is Content Management Systems (CMS)?
A Content Management System (CMS) does exactly what it says, it allows you to easily manage your website’s content.
Rather than needing an extensive knowledge of website code, a CMS lets you manage and update your website through an easy-to-use editor.
Content Management Systems are purposefully made to be user friendly, enabling all skill levels to manage website content. Once you click publish, your content will appear exactly how you want it to.
A good CMS will also manage all of the “front-end” aspects of your website. For example if you publish a new article through your CMS, it will ensure that it goes into the right category page with the right timestamp.
It’s not just blog posts that you use a CMS for, they allow you to manage all of the content on your website including landing pages, ecommerce product listings and forums.
You can also opt to use a headless CMS. A headless CMS manages all of your content on the backend allowing you to build your own frontend by querying data through an API.
Whilst a headless CMS requires considerably more know-how than a standard CMS does, they allow you to use the content you upload to your CMS anywhere such as within a mobile app.
How to Choose a CMS Platform
When it comes to choosing the best CMS platform for your business, you need to select the one that fits your personal needs.
The CMS platforms we showcase in this article will all satisfy different needs and goals.
CMS Vs. Website Builders
If you’ve been looking for a CMS platform then you may have also come across the term “website builder”. It’s easy to get the two confused but it’s important to remember that a CMS platform and a website builder are two different things.
Whilst both allow you to create a website without needing any code, they have various key differences:
Website builders usually provide hosting as part of their product. A CMS website however is usually self-hosted allowing you to select the right hosting provider depending on your needs.
Most Content Management Systems will provide a variety of extensions and plugins that allow you to scale your website with almost no limit. Website builders however are usually considerably more limited.
One of the key selling points for website builders is how user friendly they are, thanks to their interfaces. Some CMS platforms however take a little longer to get to grips with for beginners.
Choosing the Right CMS
When choosing the right CMS, you need to balance various aspects to ensure that your chosen platform will meet all of your needs whilst not being over budget or too difficult to use.
We recommend focusing on the following criteria when judging a Content Management Systems against your needs:
Ease of Use
How easy you (and your team) find the CMS to use is incredibly important. This will impact your team’s productivity and workflow output. You’ll also need to decide whether or not you’re willing to commit time and budget to training.
Decide how much creative control you want over your content and website before choosing your CMS. Some platforms offer more customisation than others. It’s worth noting that most CMS platforms allow you to customise further with code, something to consider if you hire a developer.
Having robust security in place for your website is essential. You need to ensure that your content and users are kept safe. Consider what role you want your CMS platform to play in your security such as backing up your website and updating software.
As we’ve already mentioned, Content Management Systems offer you the chance to considerably scale your website. However some have more capacity than others so you’ll need to take into account your growth plans when making a decision.
Budget is a key consideration when choosing the right CMS, most platforms offer different levels of membership plans meaning you’re bound to find one that meets your needs.
Prevalence in the Market
Take a look at which Content Management Systems some of your favourite major brand names are using. If they’re good enough for them the chances are they will be a great choice for you too. It’s also a good idea to look into your competitors and see if there’s a clear favourite within your industry.
Best Content Management Systems
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms, in fact over 40% of all websites on the internet use WordPress.
With over 58,000 plug-ins available, the customisation options are vast and the platform is known for its ease of use and flexibility.
Some of its key features include user management where you can assign roles to different user types and built in comments.
WordPress CMS also allows you to access thousands of different themes, enabling you to to easily decide how your WordPress website will look.
Drupal is designed specifically for professional web developers and has optimised in-built features to enhance website performance and security.
Your website will be considerably less vulnerable to a security threat as the software regularly runs security checks however it does require knowledge of PPS, CSS and HTML code.
Drupal CMS is particularly good for users who already have a strong technical coding knowledge that want to create large-scale websites.
Joomla is an open source CMS platform that is particularly good for managing websites with multiple sub-pages.
A key selling point for Joomla CMS is its built-in multilingual software. There are over 70 languages available within its core software making it an ideal international choice.
It also has extensive banner advert capacity allowing you to easily monetise your website.
Joomla has a large marketplace full of templates and extensions to help you to customise your website to your specific needs.
Magento is a CMS platform that focuses on security, SEO and customisation and is particularly good for creating optimised ecommerce websites.
Magento caters to larger online stores and has the capacity to host large amounts of product listings.
It’s optimised for mobile devices and allows store owners to operate in multiple locations with various different currencies.
Its secure payment gateway uses Worldpay and Cybersource.
Hubspot CMS is the ideal option for beginners as it’s user friendly and has various tools that allow you to publish content with no technical knowledge.
Particularly useful for websites that require very few updates, it also has integrated sales and marketing tools to help you boost engagement.
The drag and drop editor is great for beginners to build a webpage whilst more experienced developers can add code to further customise Hubspot websites.
The additional SEO recommendations can also be useful for targeting key search terms.
Kentico is a headless CMS that offers two products:
Kontent – a headless cloud-based CMS that allows you to deliver your content anywhere via API.
Xperience – a platform that combines CMS and digital marketing tools into one.
The in-built marketing tools make it easy to ensure your website content is optimised for your digital strategy however the platform does require a considerable amount of technical knowledge to use.
Kentico’s lead scoring feature is a stand out aspect that gives you insight into visitor journeys and behaviours.
Squarespace is a hosted CMS platform that is perfect for beginners and experts alike to build websites.
Squarespace goes back to basics and has simplified the process, which whilst meaning it’s not as flexible as other platforms, makes the task of building a website easy for beginners.
Squarespace websites work well for portfolio and brochure content however if you’re looking for a large-scale ecommerce website for example then Squarespace’s capabilities are more limited.
dotCMS is an open source headless CMS that encourages users to use their drag and drop UI to create various types of content including blog posts and ecommerce product listings.
The API-first approach that dotCMS adopts allows you to deliver your content to anywhere including your website or app.
It also gives you the ability to create different roles, responsibilities and ownership in order to control access to your website content.
Whilst most CMS platforms are focused on helping you to create webpages, Contentful is a little different.
Instead it focuses on “omnichannel digital experiences” that allow you to organise all of your content in a central hub and distribute it to your various online platforms.
Contentful is a headless CRM which means you will need some technical knowledge in order to get to grips with it but once you do the platform caches your content on external CDN’s (Content Delivery Networks) allowing it to deliver API payloads in under 100ms.
Zephyr is a cloud-based CMS that is exclusively for agencies building client websites. You’ll only be able to use Zephyr for your website if you partner with a web development agency.
Its main selling point is that it offers a maintenance free alternative to other popular agency solutions thanks to the fact that everything is hosted on the cloud.
Craft CMS is an open source CMS platform that focuses on creating user friendly content.
One of its key features is its custom content type tool that allows users to design a custom field layout for all different types of content.
When it comes to managing your front end you have two options with Craft CMS. You can build it yourself with the use of Twig templates or you can use Craft as a headless CMS with the platform’s self generating GraphQL API.
Wix is an incredibly popular option thanks to how easy it is to use, update and manage.
Beginners will find Wix particularly easy to use, in fact it’s so simple that you can sign up and have your content published in under an hour.
A great feature of Wix CMS is that users can easily transfer content from one CMS to Wix and the platform’s AI system makes creating a website from scratch relatively trouble free.
Shopify is one of the most popular CMS systems for building ecommerce websites and many of your favourite ecommerce websites are likely using Shopify.
What helps Shopify stand out from the rest is its simplicity. It’s a hosted tool which means you don’t need to waste time worrying about maintenance and security and can instead focus on customising your store and attracting customers.
Shopify App Market also provides you with thousands of plug-ins giving you a good range of flexibility but if you need even more customisation you can opt for a Shopify Plus plan.
Ghost is a CMS platform that’s mainly focused towards building blogs and publishing articles.
This linear focus makes Ghost CMS a great option for bloggers as the platform has created various blogger-centric tools including the opportunity to charge users for your content by creating a monthly subscription model.
You can also use the platform to create email sign-up forms to help boost your digital marketing.
Whilst ideal for bloggers, Ghost’s capabilities are limited for other types of websites.
As you can see, there are multiple Content Management Systems on the market that can help you to manage your website content and scale your online business.
No matter what your skill level there is a CMS platform that’s right for you and your business needs.
The KIJO team knows how overwhelming finding the right CMS platform can be and with so many options and personal requirements, it can be impossible to know where to start.
Posted on by Jordan Thompson