Web Design. Web Development. Web Solutions.

Choosing a Content Management System

CMS? Joomla | Wordpress | Blogger | Drupal

For anyone who is not a familiar with some basic website technologies, Content Management Systems (CMS) are platforms on which many sites are built. They provide common foundations and concepts so that the webmasters can worry about content only, while the CMS takes care of nitty gritty details like maintaining the website's overall layout and worrying about filenames and addresses. For said web users who have content they want to bring to the web may get easily discouraged when faced with the question of, "Which CMS is best to use?"

While larger full-scale websites complete with e-commerce, highly involved forums and on-site social community (some form of organic groups) should definitely be left to professionals and/or teams, blogs and small businesses usually don't need to worry about massive monsters that can be extremely costly. If you're hiring someone to do the work anyway, they'll usually offer their own recommendations. Those recommendations might be because of their own specializations but are usually more based on 3 things:

  • Purpose and features of your site
  • Who will be maintaining it after launch
  • Financial expectations of your website

The primary purpose and features of your website will determine the most likely candidate right away. For example, if you're looking for nothing more than a simple blog, one might recommend Blogger. If you're thinking about having landing page, with a blog and several static pages, it might be a good idea to think about Drupal or Wordpress. A site on Blogger can't do much for e-commerce (an online store) but, Drupal and Wordpress can and so can Joomla. Be specific on the social features and online community you're looking for, if any. Blogger has the ability to let your followers post comments to your articles but, you won't be able to much for an online forum or message board.

If your webmaster is yourself and you're not very net-savvy, we'd probably want to have you on Drupal or Wordpress. If it's only a blog with consistent articles, maybe even just Blogger. While this really is a matter of opinion and hearsay, Joomla can be a little heavy for novice users. Blogger's the simplest but, not by much when compared to the other 2 full-featured CMS platforms.

Financial expectations here are more about how much you want to spend on your site. One of the downsides to Joomla is a lot of the plugins available for it cost some money. Granted, that's balanced by the insanely powerful and high-quality it and its addons can offer. If you're looking to still get a quality job done efficiently with lower costs, we'd recommend Drupal or Wordpress. The most useful tools for either of these are open source, free and updated often. As awesome as that is, we'll refer back to who's going to be maintaining the site as some of the modules for Drupal and plugins for Wordpress may require some hefty footwork before they're ready.

Let's summarize some things, since this may be a lot to take in:

  • Blogger
    • Recommended for blog only
    • Nearly anyone can do it
    • Free (is a service)
  • Drupal
    • Can do pretty much anything: Blog, Community, E-Commerce
    • With a couple small tutorials and/or references, anyone can learn
    • Free
  • Wordpress
    • Can do pretty much anything: Blog, Community, E-Commerce
    • With a couple small tutorials and/or references, anyone can learn
    • Free
  • Joomla
    • Can do anything: Blog, Community, E-Commerce
    • Opinion: Joomla is not for novices without several tutorials and reference material
    • Free (but many plugins/addons cost money)

Keep in mind that Blogger is a premade service. It's not something that requires development. It's as simple as setting up an account, entering information, choosing a theme and posting content. You can still register your own domain if you don't like the subdomain.blogspot.com address. The others are software that requires installation on a server host and has several more steps to setting them up than Blogger.

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