What Is a Content Management System? – Explained
A Content Management System or CMS for short, is a web based application that allows users to create, edit and maintain a website or a sub-section of the website.
In basic terms it is a web design tool that non technical users can use.
The most common types of CMS are used for building blogs and ecommerce stores. Probably the most popular type of CMS is WordPress but there are numerous other CMS.
List of Popular Content Management Systems
Here is a list of popular CMS:
The following are Ecommerce CMS:
Let’s briefly look at each in turn.
WordPress is the most popular CMS. A free, PHP based CMS, it is estimated to power around 20% of all websites. Originally a pure blogging tool, WordPress has evolved as the CMS of choice in the SEO community and amongst online marketers.
Free and easy to setup with a one click installation tool, WordPress scores highly on SEO friendliness and is extremely flexible with thousands of plugins to choose from. There are thousands of ready made WordPress templates (called Themes) to choose from so you can hit the deck running and it has a huge community supporting it and has a fairly easy learning curve.
WordPress doesn’t have an Ecommerce option baked in, but there are various addons such as WooCommerce. WordPress can also be used for membership sites.
On the downside there is no official support although as we mentioned above it is not an exotic tool so if you do need help this won’t cost the earth. You will need to keep it maintained and keep security up to date too to ensure it doesn’t get hacked.
Let’s start by saying that Joomla is a very powerful tool. It’s more complex than WordPress, but it has more potential uses and is as happy as a back end tool as it is for front end websites. It’s probably more of a corporate tool than a CMS for beginners. It’s also very strong in terms of social aspects if you are looking to create a social based website.
As with WordPress Joomla has a one click installation via your hosting control panel. It has Ecommerce features built in so there is no need to buy addons specifically for that purpose. It has a large user community providing support and is well documented. It also has thousands of pre-made extensions to add extra functionality.
On the downside it is more complex than WordPress and is not suited to beginners. As Joomla is not as popular as WordPress, developer costs are premium priced so you would be paying more for help. There are also fewer ready made templates to choose from. If you’re just starting out, Joomla probably isn’t the right tool for you.
The CMS that powers the Whitehouse, Drupal scores extremely high on security. It is PHP based, OpenSource, it’s free and can be installed via a one click installation in your hosting control panel.
Drupal is extremely flexible but it comes at a cost. Drupal is a more complex CMS than WordPress or Joomla. It also offers enterprise levels of security so if that is a big issue in your business then it’s the obvious choice.
It’s also extremely scalable but in reality is probably more appropriate for larger businesses than startups or small businesses.
If you want to stay with WordPress but you want to sell online then WooCommerce is an attractive option. It’s free and can easily be added using the WordPress plugin feature.
It scores highly on Mobile friendliness and has loads of attractive Themes to choose from. Support is via a large and active community and being based on WordPress it scores highly on SEO.
It is very scalable but to get the most out of WooCommerce you may need to use some paid Plugins.
Prestashop is free and can be set up with one click in your hosting control panel. With hundreds of thousands of installations it is extremely popular and you can create and maintain an attractive online store with loads of features.
If you’re just starting out then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the gentle learning curve and the intuitive interface. It has all of the features most retailers will require and an attractive admin area and report.
If you’re looking to add extra functionality you’ll need to buy extra plugins. If you do feel that you need to customise your store over and above the basics then you’ll probably need to hire a PrestaShop Developer.
Magento comes in two main options: Magento Community and Magento Enterprise.
There’s not much difference between the two except that the Enterprise version is a paid solution which is extremely scalable and is aimed clearly at Enterprise sized retailers.
The Magento Community version is free and can be installed easily via your hosting control panel. It is a really powerful tool and for most retailers it will easily match their needs.
However, power comes at a price and it has a big learning curve despite (or maybe partly due to) it’s huge support documentation. Basically, unless you’re a Developer willing to learn how to use it you’ll need to hire a skilled one to build and maintain your site.