Learn about the pros and cons of popular content management systems for web design.
WordPress. Joomla!. Wix. Drupal. These are some of the most commonly used platforms for websites today. But what separates one from the other and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Our web design experts will answer all that and more. But first, let’s cover the basics: what is a CMS?
CMS (Content Management System)
CMS stands for Content Management System. Simply put, a CMS is a computer application that gives users the ability to publish, manage, edit and organize online content. There are definitely pros and cons to certain content management systems and you should consider the following options and factors before deciding on a CMS for your web design.
Popular CMS Options
- Easy to use. WordPress is touted for being extremely user-friendly. Even if you’ve never built a website before, you can easily teach yourself to use this CMS.
- Simple responsive starter themes. Now more than ever, it’s important that your website is mobile friendly. WordPress makes it easy to ensure mobile users on all devices have the best experience possible when visiting your website.
- Plenty of plugins. WordPress gives you access to a number of basic plugins – many of which are free! You can also easily install an SEO plugin that will allow you to edit meta descriptions, page titles, H1 tags and more for easy Search Engine Optimization for any site.
- Ideal for E-commerce sites. Many of the plugins we mentioned are created specifically for E-commerce websites and will work in conjunction with your website’s theme.
- Blogging. Every website should have a blog and WordPress makes it all too easy to create and maintain one.
- Constant updates. WordPress requires that you consistently update its software to keep your data safe and to make improvements to your current website theme.
- Limited security. Other content management systems allow you to limit the permissions of different users, but with WordPress, you have to install a plugin to assign users certain permissions.
- Heavy customization is difficult. If you don’t have any web developer experience, customizing your WordPress website to the max may be difficult.
- Simple interface. Wix features an extremely easy-to-use drag and drop interface so you can create your own website without any prior web design experience. Granted, you’ll probably need some time to get the hang of it.
- Large library of stock photos. Wix provides a pretty extensive (and convenient) library of stock photos for you to use while building your website. These photos can spark creativity and get you going in the right direction as you piece your website together.
- Plenty of help available. The Wix Help Center is pretty amazing and any issues that you do encounter while building your website can likely be resolved with a few clicks or a fast phone call.
- Variety of templates. Wix offers a variety of professional-looking templates for any business. This CMS is definitely one of the better ones when it comes to pre-made templates that look great. On the other hand, if you’d rather design your own template, you can do that with Wix too.
- You have to pay for E-commerce. Unfortunately, while E-commerce capabilities are available for Wix websites, they are only available with the highest priced plans. That may not be an issue for you but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
- Limited storage and bandwidth. Most Wix plans only offer a limited amount of storage and bandwidth, so depending on how many files your site has and how fast you want it to load, you may want to consider a different CMS.
- You can’t switch templates. With Wix, once you pick a template, you’re stuck with it. Unfortunately, if a few years down the road you decide you want to upgrade your web design, you’ll need to start over.
- Great for lots of content. If your website has a TON of content and articles on it, Joomla! is a great choice for you. This CMS can handle a large collection of content which should encourage you to cram your website full of long form content that’s useful and informative. This is a great way to boost your SEO.
- User-friendly interface. Creating, managing and editing content on your Joomla! website is meant to be as simple as possible. Anyone can create a website with ease using this CMS.
- Open-source platform. A huge benefit of using Joomla! is that it’s an open-source platform. This means the source code is open and free to be used (and improved upon) by the public community.
- Works for large and small companies. Joomla! is ideal for a variety of websites – both large and small. With a quick and easy setup, advanced capabilities, and a professional appearance, this CMS will do well for you, whether you’re setting up your personal website or a professional business site.
- Not as visually appealing. If you want a really pretty website, go with WordPress or Wix – not Joomla!. While Joomla! does offer some attractive designs, you’re likely to find a better variety elsewhere.
- Limited customization. WordPress and Wix are more flexible when it comes to adding extra features and it’s much easier to customize a WordPress or Wix site than with this CMS.
- SEO is more difficult. If the pages are not properly set up initially, optimizing a Joomla! website can be more difficult than say a WordPress site. Optimal SEO is difficult to achieve, especially if you’re new to SEO or this CMS.
- Open-source platform. Just like Joomla!, the source code for Drupal is free to use and modify.
- Developer-friendly. Drupal is definitely designed to be used by developers (or at least those with a good amount of experience in web design) and those with the necessary experience love the fact that they can do a lot of custom coding.
- Create more advanced websites. Drupal gives you the ability to create very advanced websites with cutting-edge capabilities and complex performance and adaptability. This is something you won’t find with WordPress or Joomla!.
- Not for beginners. As we mentioned above, Drupal is geared toward developers, so anyone with little to no experience in web design will experience a pretty steep learning curve. It’s not impossible, but if you don’t have any developing experience and want to create a website, definitely opt for a more user-friendly CMS like Wix or WordPress.
- Slow loading times. If modules aren’t properly optimized Drupal can become a bit laggy. Additionally, Drupal uses a lot more resources than other content management systems and runs a lot more code which can lead to bloat.
- Drag and drop builder. Squarespace is another one of those drag and drop website builders, much like Wix. This makes it easy for website builders to accurately see how the site will look once it’s completely finished.
- Updates are taken care of. One of the great things about Squarespace is that, unlike a CMS like WordPress, all the updates are taken care of for you. This makes regular ongoing maintenance much easier for the website developer.
- Fast support. Squarespace will answer any questions within one hour – which is awesome if you’re building a website with limited time.
- Limited flexibility. A web design team that wants to make a really edgy, sophisticated site would be better off with a CMS like WordPress. Squarespace has much less flexibility than other content management systems.
- Can’t create a deep hierarchy of pages. Squarespace only allows website builders to have one level of sub-pages, which is bad news for larger companies that need to expand their page hierarchy to include more pages.
- Slow page speed. Page speed is very important for Google SEO rankings and unfortunately, users report slow page speed with Squarespace websites.
As you can see, there are many content management systems to choose from and a number of factors to consider. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and should be based on your priorities for your website.
JumpSIX Marketing offers premier web design services and can create a beautiful website for you if you don’t have the time. Contact us today for more information or a quote.