Content is one of the most important aspects of a website.
Even with a beautifully designed site, visitors have zero incentive to stay without content that captures their attention. So it comes as no surprise that more companies are investing in content creation as a means to:
- Grow traffic to their website
- Establish authority with their audience
- Drive more leads and sales
- Increase their reach online
Content is one of the most effective mediums to connect with target audiences. But the effectiveness of your content largely depends on the publishing platform you choose.
This is where content management systems (CMS) in.
A CMS is a software application that facilitates the management of content. These systems consist of back-end interfaces that allow users to add, edit, or remove content. Choosing the right CMS is critical to implementing an effective content strategy.
But choosing the right one can be rather daunting.
There are numerous open-source and commercial CMS options available, each with their own set of features and capabilities. The following shows a breakdown of the platforms that power the top million sites:
WordPress is by far the most popular platform, but Drupal and Joomla are also widely used. All three have distinct differences and capabilities. So which one should you choose to power your business website?
Here we look at the pros and cons of three of the most popular content management systems.
WordPress was created in 2003 as a blogging platform. It has since grown to be the most popular CMS in the world, powering nearly half of the top million sites in the world. Your favourite sites are most likely powered by WordPress.
Here is why so many businesses rely on this platform:
- Easy to install: Getting started with WordPress is incredibly easy and you could have a fully built site in a short period of time. Many hosting companies now also provide instant installations at the click of a button.
- Intuitive interface: WordPress has an incredibly intuitive dashboard that anyone (even those without any technical experience) could navigate. For many business owners this means being able to quickly publish content without having to jump through hoops to do so.
- Plugins and themes: Want to add more social media features to your site? Or add e-commerce capabilities? WordPress boasts an extensive library of plugins (free and paid) that add even more functionality to a site. There are also fully customisable themes available.
- Search engine friendly: Another appealing aspect of WordPress is how search engine friendly it is right out of the box. Even some of the stock themes are mobile-friendly, which help improve rankings in the mobile search results.
- Community support: WordPress has a massive community supporting the platform. New features and security updates are constantly being released in new versions. The support forum is another valuable source should you run into any problems.
WordPress is an excellent CMS for those who are relatively new to web design. Although it is primarily a blogging platform, it can be easily customised for all types of businesses (e.g. restaurants, service providers, cafes, etc.). For a beginner, this platform is perhaps the most suitable.
But there are also limitations to take into consideration.
If you sell physical products online, you are probably better off with a dedicated e-commerce management solution. Likewise, if you want to want to build an online community or plan to manage large volumes of content, a more comprehensive CMS might be better. The good thing though is that WordPress is completely free so you could always give it a test drive.
Drupal is yet another open-source platform that powers some of the most popular websites on the web. Its advanced features make it far more capable than other platforms.
Here is what makes Drupal an appealing CMS:
- More advanced features: Drupal offers more advanced capabilities than other CMS options. This makes it incredibly flexible as you can add new features as your business grows. Building online communities requires user profiles that anyone can create, features that Drupal is capable of.
- Better performance: Loading times are important as online visitors will not hesitate to leave a site if takes more than a few seconds to load. Because Drupal is less resource-intensive, pages tend to load faster. But adding too many plugins can reduce performance.
- Plugins and themes: Just like with WordPress, Drupal is easily customisable with plugins and themes (free and paid) that let you change your site exactly how you want it. This platform also has a massive community supporting it so constant updates are available.
If your business requires a full-fledged site with more advanced features that WordPress lack, Drupal is the way to go.
But there are also several drawbacks to consider.
Because Drupal is more advanced, it can be rather confusing for beginners to navigate. A basic understanding of HTML and PHP is also a must to make any visual changes. Even without coding experience, you could still hire a professional web designer with a background in Drupal. Just like WordPress, Drupal is open-source so you can install it for free.
Joomla is another popular CMS that makes it easy to build and manage sites. This platform also powers some of the most largest brands in the world including GE and eBay. Just like WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is open-source and free to download for everyone.
Here are some reasons why Joomla might be better suited for your business:
- Community platform: Joomla comes packed with features that make it straightforward to build an online community with strong social networking features. There is also a massive library of modules you can install to extend the functionality of your site even further.
- Commerce: E-commerce is a massive industry and is only projected to get bigger. With Joomla, you can easily set up an online store and process orders with third party payment integration.
- Well supported: Joomla may not be as popular as WordPress but it is still well supported with teams of developers around the world. And if you need any professional work done, the Joomla Resources Directory has providers that go through an approval process.
- Manageable learning curve: Joomla offers a middle ground between WordPress and Drupal. Even with little technical expertise, you should still be able to find your way around and build a great site on your own. But you will likely need to go through tutorials to familiarise yourself with the CMS.
Joomla is an excellent CMS to build amazing sites. But it is better suited for building corporate sites with large intranets or sites with social features. This CMS offers powerful functionality but it remains incredibly user-friendly.
So Which CMS Should You Choose?
The answer largely depends on your business needs.
If you are looking to build a simple website for a small business, then WordPress is the obvious choice. If you are looking for a CMS with more advanced features and unlimited customisations, Drupal would be right up your alley. And if you are looking to sell products online or want to build a social network, Joomla would be your best bet.
It may be tempting to select the one with the most features but this isn’t always the best approach. At the very minimum the platform you choose should:
- Have a simple and straightforward interface
- Allow you to easily add or remove content
- Support third party systems
- Have frequent security updates
- Be customisable with plugins
- Be optimised for search engines
The good news is that WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are all free to download and install. If you are still not sure which one to choose, test out each one on a test domain or subdomain and give them a try. Spend some time with the interfaces and note down how easy or hard it is to make changes. The CMS you choose should also allow for future growth.