Which CMS is best for your next website

11 August 2020

When it comes to designing and building websites you may have heard of people mentioning that their website was built in WordPress, Magento, Shopify or WIX. What they are referring to is the CMS (Content Management System) or website builder that they’ve used to build their website.

A CMS allows the user to control the creation, modification and removal of content from a website without having to know anything about html. 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 via ftp.

The evolution of programs like WordPress has made the job of building websites and keeping them up to date much easier. CMSs 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

There is a large variety of CMSs 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 in the marketplace, including WIX, Shopify, WordPress, and Magento and analyse which one is right for your business.

Hosted website builders: WIX, Squarespace 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.

Website builders such as Shopify, Squarespace, or WIX are proprietary hosted platforms. They are not CMSs but come with components and applications that function as part of a CMS. The ability to customise the functionality or add features is extremely limited, where any customisation is strictly controlled and maintained. At a basic level of requirements website builders are cheaper and easier to use than something like WordPress but they lack the power, scalability and flexibility of a pure CMS.

If you’re a small business and need an easy tool to create a website then Squarespace, Weebly, WIX or Shopify may be the best solution for you. Website builders are great, and getting better every day, for those that want to build their own websites and who have a limited budget and level of technical skill. They fall short, however, if your website needs complex integrations, features or a highly customised and unique design.

WordPress

Originally developed as a blogging tool, WordPress has become the most popular CMS tool for building websites. WordPress accounts for 59.7% of software-built websites and rightfully earns the title of “most popular CMS” seven years in a row. Their closest rival, Joomla, holds second place with 6.7%.  Building and maintaining a WordPress site, however, typically requires the services of a professional web developer and designer.

To add to the core functionality of your site there are over 50,000 plugins available. A WordPress plugin is a module of pre-existing code that can perform a certain function or range of functions. A popular plugin is WooCommerce, which allows ecommerce functionality to be added to a WordPress website.

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 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.

Magento

Magento is a dedicated ecommerce platform. It’s considered the most popular platform for building ecommerce websites with a market share of 24.6% according to Datanyze. It’s used by large organisations such as Samsung and Nike as well as by smaller businesses.

Hosted online ecommerce stores provided by vendors like Shopify are a good solution if you have limited technical skills and can’t afford a developer. They work out-of-the-box with minimal setup and provide user-friendly interfaces to get products online quickly. However, their ability to be customised and meet unique requirements is limited.

Magento is an open-source PHP and MySQL platform with one of the most robust and complex backbone, highly customisable, relatively easy to learn and user-friendly to manage.  It can be resource heavy, so shared hosting is unlikely to meet your requirements. You are likely need cloud hosting or have a dedicated server.

If you are serious about selling online and need a robust, scalable and customisable solution then Magento should be on the top of your list. Magento’s other benefits include:

  1. Run multiple stores from a single installation. You can sell the same product across multiple stores in a range of different languages yet manage all sales and inventory from one location
  2. Easy to extend with a range of extensions, modules and add-ons
  3. SEO friendly
  4. Scalable – can match the growth in your business
  5. Rich array of out-of-the-box features

Conclusion

There are multiple tools and platforms on the market for building websites. Deciding which one is best depends on your business and the type of website you require. Each platform mentioned has its range of pros and cons.

Blick Creative can work with most CMS tools on the market. We specialise in three of the leading CMS applications, including WordPress, Shopify, and Magento. We can help you review and select the best CMS for your next website.

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