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Table of Contents (click to jump ahead):
- What to Consider When Choosing a CMS
- Comparing Top CMS Platforms on the Market
- Web Development Services
Building and managing websites was an obstacle for many professionals in the past. Thanks to Content Management Systems (CMS), it's a worry of the past.
CMS platforms make it easy to create a website and manage it without relying on developers or needing extensive coding experience. Make sure you know what to look for when searching for a CMS for your website.
This article will teach you everything you need to choose the right CMS for your website. And it will compare some of the most popular CMS on the market to help you make an informed decision.
What to Consider When Choosing a CMS
The CMS market is a wide one. At first, tackling it can seem confusing, maybe even a little daunting. But, when you know what makes a good content management system, choosing one becomes much easier.
Here are the main things to consider when choosing a CMS:
Ease of Use
The point of CMS is to make the process of building, editing, and managing a website easier. If you are new to web design and management, avoid relying on developers by choosing a simple CMS. Look for providers with accessible tools like accessible dashboards and drag-and-drop interfaces.
A clean and well-organized website is not immune to digital threats. Even though a platform may have other features, security is one of the most important factors. Choose a CMS that prioritizes safety with data backups, software updates, firewalls, and fortified codes. This will keep your content and your website's users safe from data breaches and cyberattacks.
It takes much more than keywords to optimize a website for SEO ranking. If SEO is an important part of your business model, choosing CMS platforms with best practices is key.
Many CMS offer a huge selection of free and premium templates, extensions, add-ons, and more. With increased flexibility and customization options, your website can thrive. This can include everything from scalability to optimized viewing experiences. Make sure you choose a CMS that can enhance your site's performance easily.
Many people need to realize that the cost of producing and managing a website is not a simple one-time fee. The initial investment of creating a website is first either by hiring a web developer, using a website builder, or both. Even with a CMS, there are short-term and long-term expenses, depending on the CMS you choose.
Comparing Top CMS Platforms on the Market
Before deciding on a CMS, take a look at a few of the most popular CMS platforms on the market, their key features, and the best types of websites for each.
Microsoft’s #1 .NET open-source CMS, Umbraco is built for organizations that need a flexible, scalable content management system. Umbraco is known as “The Friendly CMS'' for its focus on creating incredible editing experiences that translate to amazing, responsive experiences for the end user.
Umbraco has a great industry reputation as one of the most redistributed content management systems on the market. It’s a user-friendly platform that forms a unified workflow, optimized to remove the common CMS roadblocks that prohibit customization and creativity.
Ease of Use
Umbraco is a modern and intuitive CMS that makes it easy for users and providers alike to manage and update website content. Umbraco is known as “The Friendly CMS” for a reason. It is incredibly easy to use and manage, and gives editors the tools they need to create meaningful experiences for their users.
With security being a primary concern for many B2B organizations, Umbraco is among the most secure content management platforms available. Its technology inherits a long list of .NET security features, and Umbraco implements strict security protocols to ensure the system remains secure. This includes:
- 3rd party penetration tests
- Automated Security updates (Umbraco Cloud)
- Automated HTTPS certificate (Umbraco Cloud)
- Hashed passwords
- Support for HTTPS
- Support for OAuth login system
- Possible to set-up password rules
- Possible to implement two-factor authentication
- Default log-out of backoffice due to inactivity
- Built-in security Health Checks
Umbraco has many SEO-friendly tools available for user disposal. You can check out 21 Umbraco SEO features here, but highlights include fast page speeds, URL redirect management, crawlability, and indexability. Plus, the CMS makes it easy to update key on-page variables like header tags, alt tags, and meta descriptions.
Umbraco is built with SEO in mind. It gives you or your SEO team the tools needed to effectively optimize the site, but also provides out-of-the-box best practices to keep your site running at its best without SEO expertise.
Umbraco offers a wide variety of customization options to tailor the editing experience to your organization and workflows. It is completely scalable, so you can continue to grow your site as organizational and customer needs change. Umbraco also offers a wide range of packages for additional functionality and integrations, as well as a strong and supportive user community.
The cost of the core Umbraco CMS is absolutely free. The investment for your new website will vary on a number of factors including size, integrations, complexity, and whether or not you offer eCommerce. Umbraco also has an option of hosting on their own cloud with three pricing tiers - Umbraco Free, Umbraco Professional, Umbraco Enterprise. As with any website, you’ll want to think about hosting, CMS training, and custom web development; all of which may come with additional costs.
Interested in Umbraco?
Our Web Development experts have years of experience building Umbraco websites.
An ideal choice for personal web pages, blogs, and small business pages with editorial content. WordPress is a popular platform, with about 43% of websites across the internet using it.
Ease of Use
WordPress is the market standard for beginner-friendly, with a large support network. Gutenberg's built-in editor extension makes designing content simple with a drag-and-drop feature.
Although the core of WordPress is secure, site owners need to stay updated on plugins and other vulnerable software from the dashboard. These plugins can present a vulnerability when not kept up to date, as they leave a backdoor for attackers to compromise the website.
You can optimize permalinks, metadata, and image information with keywords. This, and WordPress's general formatting, can improve bounce rates and search ranks.
WordPress boasts the largest open-source CMS library of plugins, themes, add-ons, and extensions. These make it simple and easy to customize websites as you see fit. But some features may only be compatible with some hosting platforms. And every additional feature increases security risk.
This CMS is free to use, like most open-source options, but there are some caveats to consider. Website owners are responsible for purchasing domain names and handling hosting services, and there may also be additional fees for plugins, themes, and security. On average, the cost of creating a website with WordPress includes an initial expense of $200 plus a monthly subscription that ranges from $11-$40.
Another open-source CMS, Drupal, is an advanced alternative to WordPress. It's optimal for developers and highly-customized websites that house extensive data.
Ease of Use
Drupal is not a beginner-friendly CMS solution. Drupal is created by and for developers; Drupal requires a fundamental understanding of coding. Because of this, website configuration is much more time-consuming with Drupal.
Compared to security incidents between Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla, Drupal is the most secure option. There is a community dedicated to finding and fixing bugs. And Drupal rolls out regular updates every month and year.
Due to the platform's catering to developers, SEO functionality depends on manual optimization. URLs, for example, must be rewritten for readability and ranking. However, Drupal offers a handy SEO Compliance Checker tool to scan content and make suggestions.
Drupal comes out just shy of WordPress’s massive library of free themes and other design features. Skilled developers can customize these extensions and plugins completely with much more freedom.
Like WordPress, Drupal is an open-source CMS that is free to use. But, the premium selection of extensions and other tools costs more. Depending on the scale of the web project, it costs anywhere between $15,000-$42,000 from start to finish.
Magento, made by Adobe, is a CMS best for seasoned sellers and eCommerce stores.
Ease of Use
Another open-source CMS, Magento, is a less user-friendly option that offers limited technical support. But, it does accept a variety of payment gateways for streamlined transactions. For new eCommerce sites, though, hiring a developer may be necessary.
Updates and backups with Magento need to be manually implemented, which leaves outdated software at risk. With Magento's security scanner tool, site owners can be notified from their dashboard of any threats and updates.
There are some embedded SEO features like auto-generation of meta-texts and UX-focused navigation. Otherwise, extensions and modules can add SEO-boosting features to a website.
Magento features an array of third-party extensions to add highly-customizable features to a site. And it is a scalable solution designed to handle extensive eCommerce growth without sacrificing speed.
As an open-source CMS, Magento is free to download but does have other associated costs comparable to WordPress. The average cost to build and manage a website using Magento sits around $20,000.
Geared toward eCommerce, Shopify best suits first-time sellers and small stores.
Ease of Use
Shopify is one of the easiest and most beginner-friendly CMS solutions. It includes tools for managing stores, blogging, payment gateways, analytics, and more.
Shopify offers PCI compliance for payment capturing. It also handles backups and updates automatically.
Shopify is not ideal for websites focused on ranking and SEO. The themes and URL structure are not optimized, and user control over these features is extremely limited.
While over 70 available themes and other apps are available, customization is minimal. However, it can be easily integrated with other platforms for seamless cross-channel communication.
Shopify has three plans to choose from. Each tier consists of various perks and features and costs around $30-$300 monthly, in addition to premium plugins and themes.
Hubspot is a good choice for marketing websites and business owners looking for guided SEO implementation.
Ease of Use
Hubspot makes managing a website easy as an all-in-one system. It has drag-and-drop, email marketing, and even automation tools for sales and workflows. Additionally, it works well in conjunction with WordPress or WooCommerce.
Hubspot offers CDN and configuration, backups, firewalls, SSL certificates, and even a 24/7 security team to keep data safe.
Hubspot is one of the best choices for those new to SEO. Aside from easily accessible SEO features, it also provides analysis tools to coach owners on best practices.
Like Shopify, Hubspot's customization is limited to small appearance changes and personalization.
Hubspot is another CMS with premium packages ranging from $25-$1200 per month.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce CMS choice, and it runs as a plugin on WordPress rather than an independent CMS platform.
Ease of Use
WooCommerce is a simple, easy-to-use plugin. While it includes tools to streamline inventory management and product sales, it does not include a payment gateway. Nor is it optimized for scalability.
WooCommerce offers backups and system updates, but the owner must implement them.
Most of the SEO-friendly features are inherited from WordPress. But the advanced tools may be more accessible to experts rather than beginners.
WordPress’s extensive add-on library provides plenty of possibilities for customizing a fully-functioning eCommerce site with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free extension but does require hosting and other premium costs to use efficiently. Depending on how large and complicated the site is, it could cost up to $300 per month.
As you may have noticed, there is a large variety of services in the CMS marketplace. Joomla was created to bridge Drupal and WordPress, and it works best for developers and larger-scale companies looking to create complex websites.
Ease of Use
Joomla provides more variety to choose from than open-source CMS. But applying these features requires technical skills that beginners may not have.
Compared to Drupal and WordPress, Joomla presents the largest risk for cyberattacks. Site owners bear the responsibility of keeping things updated to minimize threats.
If you are looking for an inherently SEO-friendly CMS, Joomla is not it. It takes significantly longer to integrate SEO practices, even for experienced developers.
Joomla features a library of at least 6,000 extensions to customize web pages. Many of these extensions can be altered to suit your website’s needs even further with the right technical skill.
The average cost of a web project with Joomla sits between $700 and $6,500. This includes the extra costs of domain registration and hosting services, premium themes, and routine site maintenance.
Wix is a CMS platform with website-building capabilities. Professionals looking to host portfolios and blogs may benefit most from using Wix.
Ease of Use
Wix is a simple CMS service that makes designing websites easy. It offers a drag-and-drop feature, pre-made templates, and optimized viewing experiences across devices.
Security efforts by Wix are nearly unmatched in the market. A 24/7 security team offers real-time detection of threats, and the platform boasts SSL certificates and data encryption for all users. Wix also utilizes a program to catch and patch bugs frequently.
This CMS is particularly useful for SEO beginners as it offers a lot of hand-holding and support.
Similar to Shopify, the editing options for Wix websites are limited. Some features, like running eCommerce, are only accessible through premium payment plans.
There is a free option that offers limited functionality. The paid plans range between $16-$60 (plus other add-ons) per month and are aimed at professional and eCommerce sites.
This CMS option can also be used alongside WordPress to simplify eCommerce management.
Ease of Use
BigCommerce is a beginner-friendly, all-in-one platform. It handles everything from hosting to management, as well as being able to support WordPress content.
Security services like backups and updates are offered to minimize the risk of data leaks and cyberattacks. But it is up to site owners to implement them.
BigCommerce features several built-in SEO features to help boost sites in the ranks. This includes unique URLs to avoid duplicate content and even automation for microdata.
There are four packages to choose from with BigCommerce that range in cost from $30-$300 monthly. Enterprises have access to custom plans and features beyond these choices, too.
Marcel Digital Web Development Services
Finding a CMS platform that meets all your specific needs is no easy task, but you aren't alone. Since 2003, our experienced web experts have built and managed world-class award-winning websites. And now, we would like to help you, too.
Our tailored web development services prioritize data and UX in all areas of design. And as a Umbraco Gold Partner of 10 years, our CMS services have proven effective time and time again. From hosting and maintenance to migrations and digital marketing, we are working to ensure your website is working for you.
Websites launched from Marcel Digital experience an average organic traffic increase of 70%.
So are we if you're ready to optimize your website and watch your business thrive.
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About the author
Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.