A great website should always start with a solid foundation. If you’re a new business owner and you’d like to start creating a website, or if your site is just outdated and you need a fresh presence on the web, a content management system (CMS) will provide the tools you need to keep your site updated and effective.
A content management system (CMS) is a platform that allows you to publish, edit, delete, and organize content on your website. You can also maintain and update your website’s appearance and functionality. Content management systems make website management simple and straightforward for non-technical users. They allow you to update blogs, page content, resource directories, and more – without the help of a third-party website developer or dedicated employee; however, there are a bunch of CMS options to choose from, so it can be overwhelming if you’re trying to find one that meets your needs – and your budget.
The first grouping we’ll discuss are open source content management systems. These systems are available to the public at no cost, so they’re cost effective, and generally simple to use. Here are a few great things about open source content management systems:
- Their files are open for anyone to download for free
- They’re flexible and offer a wide variety of tools
- There are tons of developers worldwide working to improve so you’ll get the latest and greatest updates for free
- It’s widely used so it’s easy to find someone to maintain it
The one con in the pro/con list for content management systems is that they can be easily hacked if they’re no updated and secured properly. One popular open source CMS is WordPress. WordPress offers a website with different functions, and will allow you to blog, manage a photo gallery, and much more. There are also over 35,000 plugins available for WordPress, which increase the functionality of websites and offer options like spam filtering, ecommerce, contact forms, and more. As of April 2015, WordPress was the most popular CMS used, followed by Joomla! and Drupal, which are both open source content management systems.
In addition to open source content management systems, there are also commercial or proprietary options. These CMS options offer the following benefits:
- They tend to be designed to cater to a specific niche or industry
- They tend to be more secure than open source
- You get support from the developers
There are also a few negative aspects of choosing this kind of CMS, including the following:
- You have to pay a fee to use it and get updates
- Their updates are less frequent, which sometimes may give the end user the impression that the site is older than it looks
- If you break up with the provider, you’re stuck
The last option for content management systems is the website builder option. A website builder CMS allows you to drag and drop different web design elements onto a web page. You can create your own website without much assistance, and it’s generally free or costs very little to start. This option is great for start-ups that only need a brochure website, but this option also comes with a few downfalls. Its options are limited, and these sites usually can’t handle complex e-commerce needs. They also lack in SEO capabilities and usually end up appearing homemade.
These three content management systems options should get your started on the path to choosing which option is right for your business.