A common question I get asked is what a Content Management System is. Considering its somewhat intimidating name it tends to spark question with people looking to develop a website. In truth, a Content Management System (CMS) is one of the most useful tools you can have at your disposal if you plan on updating your website more than just occasionally.
A Content Management System is a piece of software that web developers install on web servers in place of traditional static websites that allows a user to update their website using a user friendly backend. Instead of static HTML files that proved tricky and messy to update, a CMS gives developers and just regular users much more freedom in regards to the initial development as well as updating their website after the initial setup.
Before Content Management Systems became popular, most websites were built using HTML and CSS. Websites using these technologies were absolutely fine and HTML gave developers quite a large scope, but if a client needed their website updated, it meant paying the developer to do the updating and, in turn, he would spend quite a bit of time playing with the code.
Nowadays, there are a number of popular Content Management Systems that are freely available to use. These are the most popular offerings:
This by the most popular Content Management System on the market at the moment with about 20% of all websites using WordPress. It also accounts for 60% of all CMS websites on the internet. WordPress originally started as a blogging platform but has quickly moved into the market as a powerful, diverse and secure Content Management System.
Swift Web uses WordPress as a standard unless our clients choose a different method. We find that it gives us most creative control and it’s by far the easiest system for our clients to learn how to use. It’s search engine optimized out of the box before we do any of our own SEO and has thousands of powerful plugins.
This is the second most popular Content Management System available after WordPress. Unlike WordPress, which was originally developed as a blogging platform, Joomla was built from the beginning to be a powerful system that’s very scalable and can be used for a whole host of features.
Joomla uses Extensions, which can help expand a Joomla website and there are just over 7,000 of these freely available. I personally think Joomla is a little rough around the edges but with enough time spent on a Joomla website, you can make it beautiful and design it to a high standard.
The third most popular CMS on the market is Drupal. Like the previous two, it’s open source. I find Drupal to be more powerful than Joomla but my experience with Drupal has been littered with bugs and problems. Development-wise, it’s a time consuming CMS and you’ll spend more time accomplishing simple tasks than WordPress and Joomla simply because of development complications.
Like Joomla, you’ll need to give yourself more time when developing or updating a Drupal website but the results can be satisfactory.
There are other options but these are by far the most popular. Another option is developing a custom CMS but this is extremely cost inefficient and because it’s unique – there’s no support community available.
I’m planning on doing a similar post regarding the options for e-commerce methods and the best options in that respect, which I’ll post soon.