There are multiple ways you can go about building a website for your small business, online store, blog, or passion project. You can either hire a professional designer, use a website builder and forgo all the technical aspects of creating a website from scratch, or install content management systems (CMS).
A CMS is a software tool that allows you to easily create and publish content, such as blog posts, images, and video files on your website. Your choice of CMS largely depends on your level of expertise and the unique requirements of your website. If your goal is to create a site without getting involved in all the technical aspects while still maintaining a higher level of control, a CMS is the best option.
While CMSs, such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, are all very similar in terms of functionality, they serve a different purpose. In this guide, we will look at the factors to consider when picking a CMS, and an in-depth look at some popular options.
Here are factors to look for when evaluating which CMS is best suited for your site;
- Functionality. While most CMSs provide the basics you need to run a website, you need to have the option to expand on this functionality to create a unique site.Your CMS platform should make it easy to install plugins or introduce your piece of code where necessary. Plus, the features available should also be easy to use and navigate without much complexities involved.
- Customization. An intuitive and user-friendly interface on your CMS will enable you to customize the available features in a way that will help you meet your website goals. Usually, CMS platforms have plugins or add-on applications that make it easy for you to customize your website to create a unique and dynamic website. The best platform should offer plugins to help customize your website and the structure of your content.
- Flexibility. If you are concerned about flexibility, look out for an Application Programming Interface (API) on your CMS platform. It makes it possible to access your website using external tools, enabling you to manage your content without using the default site interface.
- Scalability. As your website grows over time in both traffic and content, you need to ensure that the platform you pick will accommodate your site’s growing needs.
- User interactivity. An ideal platform should make it easier for users to interact with your content by giving them the option to leave feedback. Plus, this feedback helps you gain insight into the performance of your content.
- Ease of installation. If you are a beginner, opt for a CMS that you can easily install on your hosting server. However, if you desire to have more features on your site, it will cost you more. For best value, you can compare different CMSs and choose the one that offers more benefits at a reduced cost.
- The complexity of your website. If you want to build a blog or a simple website, a simple CMS option, such as WordPress, should meet all your needs. However, for advanced sites, portals, or even complex user roles, you should look out for CMSs with more advanced features.
- Level of expertise. If you are a beginner with no technical background, choosing a platform with a steep learning curve will only lead to more frustrations. Picking a platform with an editor will make it easy to create and edit a website faster.
CMS Platforms to consider for your website
Here are some of the popular free and open-source content management systems you can use to create and maintain websites.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems used by most people to create an online presence. With its powerful functionality, themes, and plugins to choose from, you can jump right in and build a website without experiencing a lot of technical difficulties.
For beginners, WordPress is a secure platform and an excellent choice to start with to help you customize your new website and get started on creating content. Plus, its’ easy installation makes it easily accessible to anyone who wants to build a presence online.
Drupal is a versatile platform with complex functionality best-suited for advanced websites. It guarantees fast speeds, reliability, advanced security, and user roles, making it more suited for large enterprises and portals. Since Drupal requires advanced technical know-how, /mostly developers who want full access to control over a website with technical knowledge use it.
In terms of complexity, Joomla! is the middle ground between WordPress and Drupal. While it offers more advanced features, it has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy to learn the ropes fast. Plus, it is compatible with one-click installers, making it easy to install and get started with building your site. The flexibility of the platform also makes it a good choice for more complex websites.
Depending on your website requirements, CMSs are your go-to solution for creating a website if you do not have coding skills to build a website from scratch or require more resources than those available in website builders.