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Which CMS is right for you? (part I)

04-Sep-2017

By Mark Schiffer. There is a large variety of Content Management Systems (CMS) available on the market. The one right for your business depends on your budget and the purpose of your website. We take a look at some of the most popular CMS applications on the market place, including Wix, Wordpress, Business Catalyst, Magento and Craft CMS and analyse which one is right for your business.

Content Management Systems (CMS) are software applications used to create websites. Prior to their development each web page on a website needed to be coded in html. Updating content required someone with coding skills to make modifications and then upload those changes typically via ftp..

A CMS allows the user to control the creation, modification and removal of content from a website without having to know anything about html. CMSes vary greatly in the level of functions, features and the technology used to create them. However, four core functions that are considered essential to all CMSes include:

  1. Indexing, search and retrieval – Allows data and content to be indexed, retrieved and searchable
  2. Format management – Format documents
  3. Revision Features – Allows content to be updated and edited after publishing
  4. Publishing – Provide tools and templates create new content and publish it on a website 

Hosted website builders: WIX and Shopify

Suitable for small/startup businesses Wix and Shopify are affordable web site platforms that allow people with minimal IT and web development skills to build their own websites. Shopify comes with a range of built in features and functions for ecommerce websites. WIX can be used for any sort of website and comes with inbuilt integration capabilities for common digital tools such as Mailchimp and Eventbrite.

Wix is a website building platform, and functions differently than other CMSes such as Wordpress. It’s a hosted platform where all your data is held on their servers. Wix itself is a design-driven platform and, as such, is not a 'pure' CMS. Wix plans cover hosting, themes and free extensions. But the price can go up if you need to install a paid application from the Wix app market.

If you need a website simply as a reference point for customers then using WIX or a similar online platform such as Weebly or Squarespace are ideal. They require no programming or web development skills to create a fully functional website. They come with a wide variety of templates to choose from for the format and design of your website.

Wix is a proprietary hosted platform where any customisation is strictly controlled and maintained by Wix. At a basic level of requirements WIX is cheaper and easier to use than something like Wordpress but lacks the power, scalability and flexibility of a pure CMS.

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that lets anyone build an online store without any technical knowledge. Like Wix, it is a hosted platform, which means all of your store's data remains on their servers. If you’re a small business and need an easy tool to create a website then Wix or Shopify may be the best solution for you. A larger business with more complex requirements than you need to look at a more sophisticated CMS solution

Wordpress

As your business and website traffic grows your Wix site might become limited in functionality and scale and to upgrade it will become expensive or impossible. Originally developed as a blogging tool, Wordpress has become the most popular CMS tool for building websites. Around 25% of all websites are built using Wordpress.

Building and maintaining a Wordpress site, however, requires a much higher level of technical and design skill. It will typically require the services of a professional web developer and designer. If you are serious about having a strong online presence to support your business and you need highly specific and customised functions then Wordpress should be considered over Wix or any other similar platform. Also, if written content and SEO are primary functions of your website, then you can’t ignore Wordpress as an option.

WordPress does require quite a bit of maintenance to keep your website in an up-to-date condition. If you don’t update your theme or plugins, you run the risk of harming the performance of your website, or even crashing it. Even though Wordpress itself is free, you will need to pay separately for hosting. Careful consideration also needs to be given to security.

Being so popular and common, Wordpress sites are prime targets for hackers. Keeping your site backed up and up to update with the latest version of Wordpress is important. This is part one of a two part series of articles. In the second part we will look at CMS systems such as Business Catalyst, Magento and Craft CMS. Blick Creative can work with most CMS tools on the market. We specialise in four of the leading CMS applications, including Wordpress, Business Catalyst, Magento and Craft CMS.

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