These days, it seems everyone has a website. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to document your personal thoughts or you want somewhere to advertise your products or services. There is a website type to suit and to suit everyone.
In this article we’re going to run through some of the more popular content management systems and platforms out there in 2016. We’ll give an overview and discuss the pros and cons of each in the hope of giving you an educated and informed decision as to which of the software below is right for you and your business.
In truth, there is no “wrong” platform as each can be used for a variety of different sites. Pretty much any site type can be built using any of the applications below – although you’d look a bit silly running a blog from Magento! But I’ve seen it done! So let’s get started. Here are what I consider the major platforms out there today. I do also realise that things move so fast in the world of web that the software below will probably be obsolete by the time you read it!
WordPress is THE classic all rounder. What started as a simple piece of software for people to run online journals has transformed into the powerful multipurpose content management system it is today. From small personal weblogs operated by kids in bedrooms to full fledged ecommerce stores run by large businesses making 6 figures a week, WordPress caters and caters well.
Part of the attraction is undoubtedly due to it’s ease of use, the fact it’s free and the fact it’s ridiculously easy to install. A simple downnload and 2 minutes later you can be up and running. Due to it’s popularity there are also an abundance of high end themes and plugins which can perform pretty much any task or function you can dream up.
If you’re looking for a solid all rounder then WordPress is without a doubt the best option for you. Particularly if you’re a first time website builder.
Joomla is another popular piece of software and is consider as powerful or perhaps more than WordPress. Like with WordPress, you can build any type of website, large or small. Personal or business. Whatever takes your fancy. It also comes with all of the bells and whistles by way of add ons such as themes and plugins which you’d come to expect with a piece of software such widely used as Joomla.
In terms of its uses, it tends to be favoured more by people who want full control of how their website functions. People love WordPress but sometimes don’t want to be confined to the restrictions of what is effectively a blog. Joomla allows you to drag and drop elements whereever you want on the page. Not just in the sidebar like on WordPress for example.
There are also a lot of development guides for the likes of Joomla and detailed installation and setup guides which makes customising your install and getting it up and running exactly as you want it a breeze.
If you want to start selling products online, you’re best off running a proper ecommerce solution. Sure, WordPress has modules such as WooCommerce but there is really no better option than a fully fledged system like Magento or Shopify.
These applications make running your store easy and you can be online selling products in literally a matter of minutes.
Do You Need a Platform?
Sometimes, you don’t need a platform at all and in some instances having a big powerful CMS such as the ones mentioned above is completely overkill. If you just want a single page website, or even something with a handful of pages. You may be better just using a regular XHTML template and filling in the text/images with those of your own.
Whilst content management systems are great, if you’re planning to just perform a simple task or build a simple page then they’re probably not the right thing for you. They can slow sites down, eat up disk space and generally make things take longer to do than what’s really needed.
Running a website in this day and age is ridiculously simple. You don’t need to know how to code. You don’t even need to know any HTML whatsoever. The advancement in content management systems and platforms has alleviated the need for any of that. Now all you need to be able to do is write and write well! Although you do have the small matter of marketing your site to consider but we’ll save that for another time.
I hope the article has served it’s purpose and that you have some things to consider when deciding on your next CMS or if it’s your first time investigating this sort of thing I hope I’ve given you some food for thought as to which systems may be right for you.