BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

How to Choose the Right CMS for Your Business

November 14, 2016

wordpress, drupal, and joomla

Image courtesy of: Atlanta Computer

What is a CMS?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a web application that uses a database to create, edit, and store HTML in a manageable way. They have grown immensely in popularity over the years because they have made creating and editing content easier than ever before, allowing people with little coding knowledge to create and manage a website.

How Do I Decide Which One to Use?

The top CMS systems are more similar than they are different, but it is still a good idea to take some time to figure out what your business needs are and match them up with an appropriate CMS. Here are a few features to consider when comparing different CMS’s.

Functionality: What are the essential functions you are looking to get out of your website? Will you need more in the future? If you are looking to quickly set up a small site or blog on a friendly interface, WordPress is probably the best option for you, while if you are looking to set up a large-scale ecommerce system with thousands of pages, Drupal may better suit your needs.

Support: What kind of support does the CMS come with? Larger CMS’s tend to have more online support, such as blogs, forums, and videos, so it is definitely something to consider when choosing the right one for you. Here is a list of the most commonly used CMS’s.

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. Drupal

Price: Do you have the budget to pay for software licensing? If not, that is ok, there are many free platforms out there, just be cautious of hidden implementation fees and ongoing maintenance costs that some lesser-known platforms may charge.

Drupal

Just like WordPress and Joomla, Drupal is open-sourced and based on PHP-MySQL and virtually limitless in its capabilities. Here are some pros and cons of Drupal.

Pros

Flexible: Whether you want a simple blog with a static front page or a complex, intricate website with thousands of pages handling millions of views a month, Drupal can handle it all. 

Developer Friendly: Drupal favors developers because it is virtually limitless in what it can do, leaving design and customization up to imagination.

Strong SEO Capabilities: Drupal was designed with SEO in mind so there are no boundaries on how well you can optimize your site.

Enterprise: Drupal’s interface makes it easy to manage thousands of pages.

Community: Drupal is a very popular CMS so there are plenty of forums, videos, and articles to help you with questions about improving your site. 

Cons 

User friendliness: Drupal is not known for being very user friendly so there can be a steep learning curve if you aren’t an experienced developer. 

Finding Developers: There tend to be fewer developers for Drupal than WordPress.

Recommended Use: For users who intend on building a large website where stability and scalability are valued over ease of use and appearance.

Joomla

On a spectrum with WordPress being the easy-to-use, simple platform and Drupal being a more complex, robust system; Joomla sits somewhere in the middle. Though Joomla seems to not have as well of a defined brand in the CMS space, they currently have 50 million users, making it the second largest CMS platform on the market, behind WordPress.

Pros

Ease of Use: Though not as easy to use as WordPress, it is still relatively easy to manage and does not require a developer to make each change.

Support: One of the biggest advantages of choosing a popular CMS platform is the support community that surrounds it. When you are creating a site, you WILL get stuck and have many questions, so it is nice to be able to Google your questions and seek answers from others who have run into similar problems.

Power: If you plan on have a vast amount of articles, think hundreds of posts a week, Joomla is better suited than WordPress because it was designed to serve as an enterprise-grade CMS, making it easier to manage large quantities of articles and pages.

Cons

Learning Curve: You cannot jump into making a Joomla site like you can with WordPress. Though not as complex as Drupal, you still may need to seek outside help if you are not well versed in HTML or the platform itself.

SEO Compatibility: Joomla does not make it easy for users to make simple changes to a site’s metadata and unless you are very tech savvy, you may struggle to optimize your site properly.

Recommended Use: If you plan on having a considerable amount of content that needs more structure than what WordPress provides, or you are a small to mid-size e-commerce company that does not want or need all the features of Drupal.

WordPress

Why use WordPress?

WordPress is far from the simple blogging platform in which it began. It is a secure, full-scale Content Management System armed with thousands of themes and plugins allowing you to design and build a beautiful, high-functioning website with minimal coding knowledge. It is now the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world; powering one in six websites today and seen by tens of millions of people daily, WordPress is the platform of today and the future. If that sounded positively biased towards WordPress, you are right, I think for the large majority of small to mid-sized businesses, WordPress is the a clear winner. Here’s why.

WordPress is the best of both worlds because it does not only cater to newbie, non-technical users or expert developers; it meets both ends happily in the middle. WordPress has a friendly and straightforward user interface and is why it has grown a massive, welcoming community of developers, designers, and users alike.

Still not convinced? Here are some companies that have used WordPress for their website.

  1. The New York Times
  2. CNN
  3. Forbes
  4. GM
  5. eBay 

Pros 

Ease of Use: Even people with no web building experience or HTML/CSS knowledge can set up a WordPress blog. Though sometimes I believe people make it out to sound easier than it is to create a WordPress site, it is definitely the easiest to use of the big three.

Plugins: Since it is the most popular CMS on the market, it attracts more developers and thus has the biggest library of free plugins to choose from. For almost any feature you want to accomplish on your site, there is probably at least one plugin for it, if not more.

SEO: Paired with an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, making changes to your metadata is extremely easy and even gives recommendations for how to better optimize your pages.

Cons

Design Options: Though WordPress has thousands of themes to choose from, they all have that WordPress feel. This is not always a bad thing because they typically have similar layouts that users are familiar with and makes navigating them easier. However, if you are looking to get really unique with your design, you may struggle to create your dream site with the limitations of WordPress themes.

Scalability: If you are trying to build a large e-commerce platform or publish considerable quantities of content, you may run into issues trying to keep it all organized with a WordPress platform.

Recommended Use:

WordPress is perfect for beginner blogs all the way up to mid-sized businesses who want a clean looking website for their users and something that is also easy to manage.

Recap

Drupal: The most robust and scalable of the three. The sky is the limit.

Joomla: More powerful than WordPress, but easier to manage than Drupal.

WordPress: Cost-affordable, easy to set up, user friendly, and still allows for a great deal of customization if you have access to knowledgeable developers.


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