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The online marketplace has become the cornerstone of success in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. Scaling operations and staying competitive necessitates investing in online resources. Among the multitude of tools available, one stands out as the ideal investment for online stores and e-commerce websites: the content management system (CMS). As the world witnessed the transformative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of robust CMS software applications has only grown, revolutionizing business operations, streamlining processes, and reducing human effort.
With fewer human interventions and lower costs per project, businesses gain the freedom to dedicate more time and resources to sustainable revenue growth. However, the true power of a CMS extends beyond mere functionality and design enhancements. In this article, we are going to take you on a ride covering every major CMS aspect a business owner or professional needs to know and, ultimately, give you the best options available in the marketplace right now.
The Need for CMS
The need for a content management system (CMS) is crucial for online businesses aiming to optimize costs and achieve sustainable revenue growth. By leveraging CMS applications, businesses can reduce human intervention and allocate more time and resources to their core activities. Apart from improving website functionality and design, a CMS facilitates collaboration and ensures a high-quality web experience for end-users.
The challenge lies in choosing the right CMS software that aligns with the organization's goals and requirements. A long-term perspective is necessary, considering adaptable software that can easily meet evolving content needs. Ultimately, a CMS empowers businesses to efficiently manage digital assets, maintain a consistent brand image, and make data-driven decisions to enhance their online presence.
How to Choose the Best CMS Software
When selecting the ideal Content Management System (CMS) for your website, it's crucial to take into account multiple factors that can significantly influence your user experience and website management. Here are some key aspects to bear in mind:
- User-Friendliness: Seek a CMS that offers an intuitive interface and user-friendly CMS tools. A drag-and-drop feature can simplify content creation and editing, enabling you to effortlessly add elements to your webpages without any coding knowledge.
- Design Flexibility: A good CMS should provide a range of website design templates to choose from. Additionally, it should allow you to customize these designs to suit your specific requirements, without necessitating coding skills. The ability to personalize your website's appearance is vital for establishing a distinctive and professional online presence.
- Data Portability: Ensure that the CMS platform offers convenient CMS tools for exporting your data and transferring it to another platform or hosting company if necessary. Data portability gives you the flexibility to adapt and switch CMS applications without losing your valuable content. If you're wondering what CMS platforms are, they are software systems that enable businesses to manage and publish content on their websites.
- Extensions and Add-ons: Consider the availability of extensions and add-ons for the CMS. These additional CMS tooling components enhance the features and functionality of your CMS, enabling you to tailor and expand your website as your needs evolve. A wide range of extensions ensures that you can customize your website to meet specific requirements.
- Support and Assistance: Explore the support options provided by the CMS platform. Look for comprehensive documentation, FAQs, and preferably a responsive customer service team. Additionally, a supportive user community can be invaluable for troubleshooting and finding answers to your questions.
- Cost Evaluation: Evaluate the cost structure of the CMS platform. Some CMS platforms are free, while others may require a monthly subscription fee. Keep in mind that even free CMS platforms often entail additional expenses for third-party extensions, designs, and web hosting services. It's important to research and comprehend the pricing structure to avoid any unexpected costs.
Understanding what CMS platforms are and the specific features they offer can help businesses make an informed decision based on their requirements and objectives.
To identify the best CMS software available, you can consult reputable sources that offer CMS comparisons and reviews. Forbes Advisor, for instance, considers factors such as popularity, pricing, built-in functionality, post scheduling, e-commerce capabilities, security features, and hosting options to find the best CMS solutions.
They also take intangible criteria into account, such as user-friendliness and real-world user reviews. By assigning scores to each factor and averaging the ratings, they generate rankings that assist in assessing the quality and suitability of different CMS options.
Ultimately, selecting the best CMS software for your needs depends on your specific requirements, technical expertise, and preferences. By considering the factors mentioned above and researching various CMS platforms, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your website goals and find the best CMS products.
Everyone working on e-commerce and building websites will come across this software called WordPress, and it has been around for a large part of the last two decades. The software is based on PHP and MySQL, so it increases the website's functionality by bringing in a strong feature set. WordPress is popular for its custom themes and web pages, increasing viewership and user ratings. The plugins offered by WordPress are more than 54000, so there is always a solution in place for you to automate business operations. The business plans are affordable for almost anyone dealing with online stores and websites.
- Flexibility and Freedom: WordPress allows you to build any kind of website, such as online stores, auction sites, and membership sites, providing you with the freedom to create according to your needs.
- No Technical Skills Required: WordPress doesn't require coding knowledge, making it accessible to beginners. The block editor simplifies page creation and design.
- Monetization Opportunities: WordPress enables you to monetize your website in various ways, giving you the freedom to choose your preferred online revenue streams.
- Abundance of Themes and Plugins: There is a vast selection of WordPress themes and plugins available, both free and paid, allowing you to add functionality and customize your site with ease.
- SEO-Friendly Design: WordPress is designed with search engine optimization in mind, making it easy to create SEO-friendly URLs, categories, and tags. It also offers numerous SEO plugins for further optimization.
- Supportive Community: WordPress has a large and supportive community, providing help and guidance through forums and groups like the WPBeginner Engage Facebook group.
- Extensibility: WordPress offers extensive extensibility options, making it suitable for both beginners and developers. It provides the flexibility to customize and expand your website's capabilities.
- Content Portability: WordPress allows you to download your content in XML format, facilitating easy migration to another system if desired.
- Setup and Management Responsibilities: Users are responsible for setting up hosting, obtaining a domain name, and managing security and backups.
- Initial Learning Curve: The multitude of options and flexibility in WordPress can be overwhelming for beginners, leading some to use drag-and-drop page builder plugins to simplify the process.
WordPress offers five plans tailored to specific needs:
- Free Plan: Ideal for personal use with limited features, including 1GB storage, free themes, and SSL certificate.
- Personal Plan: Priced at $4/month (billed annually) for personal use, offering 6GB storage, free domain for a year, payment acceptance, and unlimited email support. Customization options are limited.
- Premium Plan: Geared towards freelancers, priced at $8/month (billed annually), providing advanced customization options, PayPal payments, social media scheduling, and Google Analytics integration.
- Business Plan: Designed for small businesses, costing $25/month (billed annually), with extensive customization, 200GB storage, SEO tools, and database access.
- Commerce Plan: Tailored for online stores at $45/month (billed annually), including features like global payment acceptance, unlimited products, ecommerce marketing tools, and integrations with shipping carriers.
Choosing the annual payment option offers savings compared to monthly payments.
Website builders are important for any online business and brand development, so you need software with easy-to-use features and a great selection of themes. That is where Squarespace does its job best. One of the best CMS software, Squarespace helps a great deal for companies to overcome user interface problems by integrating an intuitive UI that is friendly and responsive. With Squarespace, you also do not need expert developers to build custom-programmed web pages. All you need to do is access the portal and choose the most suitable and personalized theme for your audience.
Pros of Squarespace:
- 110+ Responsive Templates: Choose from a wide range of professionally designed templates that adapt to different devices.
- Free SSL Included: Protect your website and visitor data with included SSL encryption.
- Unlimited Storage and Bandwidth: Host and showcase content without worrying about space or performance issues.
- Strong eCommerce Platform: Easily set up and manage an online store, including product showcasing and secure payment processing.
- User-Friendly: Intuitive interface and drag-and-drop editor for easy customization without coding.
Cons of Squarespace:
- Limited Design Flexibility: Customizing beyond the provided templates can be challenging.
- Business Tools Could Be Improved: Some business tools may lack the depth and features of dedicated platforms. Additional tools or integrations may be needed for specific functionalities.
Squarespace offers four pricing plans with monthly and annual options. The plans range from $16 to $65 per month. Here's a breakdown:
- Personal Plan: Ideal for individuals, it costs $16/month (billed annually) or $23/month (billed monthly) and provides basic features.
- Business Plan: Tailored for small businesses, it costs $23/month (billed annually) or $33/month (billed monthly) and offers advanced analytics and professional email.
- E-Commerce Basic Plan: Designed for online stores, it costs $27/month (billed annually) or $36/month (billed monthly) and includes integrated online store features and inventory management.
- E-Commerce Advanced Plan: Suited for growing ecommerce businesses, it costs $49/month (billed annually) or $65/month (billed monthly). It offers advanced features like abandoned cart recovery and gift cards.
Choosing the annual billing option allows customers to save up to 30%. The Personal plan is the most affordable, while the Advanced Commerce plan offers extensive tools for ecommerce growth.
If you want to increase the flexibility of operation for your online brand and level up your security, you need to consider Magento as your content management system. Magento also provides a free, open-source platform for users to make changes and update regular content. However, business plans' pricing is a bit too expensive, starting at $2000 per month. Another drawback with Magento would be too much technicality involved in building and developing websites and web pages. Non-technical users may find it difficult to set up stores and change settings. That being said it's quite easy to create a website from scratch if you follow our recommendations (check here).
Pros of Magento:
- Multi-store Management: Magento allows users to manage multiple stores in different locations, supporting various languages and currencies. This flexibility is beneficial for businesses operating in diverse markets and enables efficient management of multiple online storefronts.
- Responsive Content Management: Magento offers responsive design capabilities, ensuring that your website content adapts seamlessly to different mobile devices. This enhances the user experience and provides a consistent browsing experience across various screen sizes.
Cons of Magento:
- Complicated Initial Setup: Setting up a Magento website can be complex and requires technical expertise. The initial installation and configuration process may involve several steps, making it more challenging for users with limited technical skills.
- Time-Consuming Customization: Customizing the design and product listings in Magento can be time-consuming. Due to its extensive feature set and flexibility, making significant design modifications or configuring product options may require considerable effort and expertise.
Magento Open Source is a free platform with limited features, making it budget-friendly. However, technical skills are required for setup. While the Open Source plan provides essential e-commerce site building, additional costs should be considered:
- Web Hosting: Prices range from $14.99 to $39.99 per month.
- Domain: Costs between $10 to $20 per year.
- SSL Certificate: Priced at $50 to $600 per year.
- Web Developer: Cost varies based on expertise and is typically hourly.
- Transaction Fees: Include 2% to 4% per transaction for payment platforms and card processing.
If you have an in-house expert, the web developer cost may not be necessary, but their time should be factored into the overall setup and operation costs. The total cost depends on the services chosen for Magento or Adobe Commerce.
If you are completely focused on business operations, your best bet should be Magnolia, one of the best CMS software in the industry. This system highly prioritizes security and business needs, so there will never be dissatisfaction from the customers in terms of web experience. The java-based software does a great job in integrating many functions related to e-commerce and analytics to make the best of CMS tooling and automation tools. The best part about Magnolia, an example CMS, is its compatibility and adaptability to different business scenarios. Even if your business is changing its customer model, the software can make necessary adjustments to each business operation.
Pros of Magnolia:
- Scalability: Magnolia, a popular CMS, offers excellent scalability, allowing websites to grow and expand over time. Whether you have a small website or a large enterprise-level project, Magnolia can handle the increasing demands and accommodate your site's growth.
- Easy Page Editing and Content Personalization: Magnolia provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to edit and manage website pages. With its intuitive content management capabilities, users can easily personalize content to deliver a tailored experience to their audience.
Cons of Magnolia:
- Lack of Support and Community: One of the drawbacks of Magnolia is the limited support and community compared to other CMS platforms. The availability of resources, online forums, and active developer communities can be more limited, which may pose challenges when seeking assistance or accessing additional resources.
- Java Language Requirement: Magnolia requires experience or familiarity with the Java programming language for certain advanced features and customization options. This means that users who do not have Java knowledge may face difficulties in fully utilizing the platform's capabilities.
With a starting price of $50,000, Magnolia CMS falls on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. However, it typically offers a free trial. Magnolia CMS is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It supports both cloud and on-premise deployment options and is compatible with a limited number of platforms, including Windows and Linux devices.
Another popular CMS software in the marketplace is HubSpot, and it lives up to its hype. Marketers and content creators love to interact with HubSpot portals and learn new ways to enhance website functionality. As the software comes with built-in integration of different CRM plugins, businesses get better conversion rates and add many more customers. To test out bugs and weak areas of a website, HubSpot provided A/B testing and optimized the content more appealingly. Some other notable features are 24/7 expert support and security monitoring.
Pros of HubSpot:
- User-Friendly Website Builder: HubSpot's website builder is designed to be easy to use, even for users with limited technical skills. The drag-and-drop editor, built-in SEO tools, and contact attribution features simplify the process of creating and optimizing web content.
- Personalization Features: HubSpot offers smart content features that enable you to personalize your website pages for specific visitors or larger segments. This helps to enhance the user experience and improve engagement.
- Developer-Friendly Tools: For developers, HubSpot provides serverless functions, flexible theme options, and command line tools. These tools allow for faster customization and changes to assets, making it convenient for developers to work efficiently.
- Built-in Security Features: HubSpot's CMS Hub includes built-in security features, such as a global CDN (Content Delivery Network) and a Web Application Firewall. Additionally, they have a dedicated security team that helps protect your website from DDoS attacks, hackers, and other anomalies.
- Seamless Integration: HubSpot's CMS seamlessly integrates with their email marketing tool and sales CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This integration streamlines operational workflows and allows for efficient data sharing between different marketing and sales functions.
Cons of HubSpot:
- No Free Version: HubSpot does not offer a free version of their CMS. However, they do provide a free trial period for users to explore and evaluate the platform before making a purchase decision.
- Limited Suitability for E-commerce: HubSpot's CMS may not be as well-suited for e-commerce websites compared to specialized e-commerce platforms. However, the platform does offer easy integration with WordPress and WooCommerce, allowing users to leverage the e-commerce capabilities of those systems while still benefiting from HubSpot's other features.
HubSpot CMS offers four editions: Free Trial, Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. The pricing for the HubSpot Content Management System (CMS) varies for each edition. CMS Hub Free Trial is available at $0/month, Starter at $25/month, Professional at $400/month, and CMS Hub Enterprise at $1200/month.
You may have come across Wix advertisements on Youtube multiple times, and everything they say is one hundred percent the truth. One of the best CMS software, Wix is exceptional in every area of managing an entire business online. The drag and drop system is user-friendly, and it reduces time spent on website building. Wix platform also has incredible features to complement email marketing campaigns and contact forms led by different business groups. It also supports HTML5 and removes all types of adverts.
Pros of Wix:
- User-Friendly Interface: Wix offers a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy for users to create customized web pages. It allows you to edit any part of your page and offers a straightforward and intuitive editing experience.
- Wide Selection of Templates: Wix provides a vast collection of pre-made templates that are fully responsive, ensuring your website looks great on both mobile devices and computers. These templates offer a starting point for creating visually appealing websites.
- App Market for Additional Features: Wix's App Market offers a variety of apps that function similarly to WordPress plugins. These apps allow you to enhance your website's functionality by adding new features and capabilities to meet your specific needs.
Cons of Wix:
- Limited Template Flexibility: Once you select a template on Wix, you are unable to switch to a different one. This limitation means you may be stuck with a layout that doesn't perfectly fit your site's requirements, potentially hindering customization options.
- E-Commerce Limitations: Unless you upgrade to a paid plan, running an E-Commerce store on Wix is not possible. Even with a paid plan, you can only accept payments through PayPal or Authorize.net, limiting your choice of payment processors.
- Data Export Limitations: Wix lacks easy data export capabilities. While you can download blog posts, you cannot export images, and if you have pages on your site, you will need to manually copy and paste them to move your content elsewhere.
- Branding and Ads on Free Plan: When using Wix's free plan, your website will have a Wix-branded domain name, and ads will be displayed on your site. These ads generate revenue for Wix and not for you, potentially affecting the professional appearance and user experience of your website.
Wix, an example CMS, offers a range of pricing plans, including eight paid plans and a free plan. The paid plans start at $16/month (billed annually), with options ranging up to $59/month. The Combo plan is the most affordable at $16/month, while the Unlimited plan is suitable for freelancers at $22/month.
Here's an overview of Wix's pricing plans (billed annually):
- Free plan: $0
- Combo plan: $16/month
- Unlimited plan: $22/month
- Pro plan: $27/month
- VIP plan: $45/month
- Business Basic (ecommerce): $27/month
- Business Unlimited (ecommerce): $32/month
- Business VIP (ecommerce): $59/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Drupal is one of the best CMS software, and it fits in the same category as WordPress and Wix. The flexibility offered by the Drupal platform is beneficial for brands building a strong online presence. The user access system gives complete control over the business operation. It becomes easy to track each task's status allotted to an employee. It also comes with a great selection of personalized themes and custom pages to attract new customers.
Pros of Drupal:
- Enhanced Security: Drupal is known for its strong security measures. The CMS software undergoes regular security tests and updates to ensure a secure platform, making it less vulnerable to security threats.
- Built-in Modules: Drupal offers a wide range of built-in modules that expand the functionality of a website. These modules provide additional features and capabilities without the need for extensive coding or third-party plugins.
Cons of Drupal:
- Coding Knowledge Required: Unlike some other CMS platforms, Drupal requires a solid understanding of coding languages such as PHP, CSS, and HTML. Users need to have technical proficiency to make customizations and develop advanced functionalities.
- Time-Consuming Management: Managing a Drupal website, especially when it comes to upgrading to a new version, can be time-consuming. The complexity of the CMS and its updates may require thorough planning, testing, and migration processes, which can take considerable time and effort.
Drupal is an open-source software that is available for free and receives regular updates, similar to other open-source solutions. By choosing Drupal, you gain access to powerful and advanced software without spending any money.
However, it's important to note that Drupal's core features are relatively basic. To enhance its capabilities, you will need to install additional modules and plugins.
These extensions are typically obtained from external sources outside of Drupal's core system and often come with associated costs. Although there is no upfront payment required, you may eventually need to invest in various add-ons such as Drupal themes, Drupal functions, hosting services, and web development assistance to meet your specific needs.
Brands need the best CMS software to create their style and guide creators in using collaboration tools. Bynder is one such software that can help brands find their identity in the online marketplace. This can be used by many people in an organization, including brand managers, marketers, authors, publishers, and editors. Bynder also has a creative style of sharing brand image, and it helps in making it consistent across all social platforms.
Pros of Bynder:
- Organization of almost 10,000 digital files: Bynder offers a comprehensive system for effectively organizing and managing a large volume of digital files.
- Ensuring assets are used in the correct context: Bynder helps maintain brand consistency by ensuring assets are used appropriately in their intended context.
- Ease of sharing multiple or large files: Bynder simplifies the process of sharing multiple or large files across the company or with external partners, facilitating collaboration and efficient file exchange.
- Version control and updates: Bynder enables updating file versions without the need for re-uploading and re-tagging, streamlining file management and ensuring the latest versions are readily available.
- File access restrictions: Bynder provides the capability to restrict access to specific files, safeguarding sensitive or confidential assets.
Cons of Bynder:
- Limited ability to apply multiple filters: Bynder may have limitations in applying multiple filters from the same metaproperty, potentially impacting the flexibility of search and categorization options.
- Reduced automation in tagging: Bynder may have limitations in automated tagging capabilities, which could require manual tagging efforts for certain files.
Bynder's pricing begins at $450 per month for its basic package, and the costs increase as you include additional users and features in your subscription. Due to this pricing structure, it may not be the ideal choice for small businesses operating on tighter budgets.
If you want to make complex websites easy to access and interact with, Concrete5 is made for your business. This CMS software offers an efficient user experience at a low-cost deployment by incorporating leading-edge DevOps and other demanding extensions. They have also included in-context editing to have a natural feel of writing and updating content. It is a type of CMS that can handle online solutions for educational institutions, brands, and government service providers.
Pros of Concrete5:
- User-Friendly Interface: Concrete5 offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for users to manage and edit their websites. The intuitive design and navigation make it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.
- Flexible Style Editor: Concrete5 provides a flexible style editor, allowing users to customize the appearance of their website without the need for extensive coding knowledge. This enables users to create visually appealing and unique designs.
- Built-in SEO Tools: Concrete5 includes built-in SEO tools that help optimize websites for search engines. Users can easily add meta descriptions, create sitemaps, and implement other SEO best practices to improve their website's visibility and search engine rankings.
- Limited Developer Community and Documentation: Unlike some other CMS platforms, Concrete5 has a smaller developer community and limited documentation available. This can make it challenging to find resources and support when encountering technical issues or seeking advanced customization options.
- Lack of Autosave Feature: Concrete5 does not have an autosave feature, which means that users need to manually save their changes regularly. This increases the risk of data loss if changes are not saved periodically, especially in the event of unexpected interruptions or browser crashes.
Remember that Concrete CMS is an open-source content management system, meaning it is available for free.
Shopify is a niche-specific CMS software designed to build great e-commerce stores. The best thing you can give to your users is a simple website with no flashy designs and templates. That is what Shopify does, and it pushes forward this advantage of simplistic nature to all of its tools. The platform is exceptionally developed, and you never have to worry about security and maintenance. All your focus should be on finding and retaining customers. The basic plan starts at $30, and there is also an enterprise plan provided with Shopify Plus.
Pros of Shopify:
- Integrated Payment Solutions: Shopify offers an integrated payment solution called Shopify Payments, allowing you to accept credit and debit card payments directly on your online store. Additionally, PayPal is included as one of Shopify's default payment providers, providing customers with more payment options.
- Extensive Extensions and Themes: Shopify provides a wide range of extensions and themes that can be purchased to enhance the functionality and visual appearance of your online store. These third-party Shopify apps allow you to add various features and customize your store to meet your specific needs.
- No Sales Threshold for Upgrading: Unlike some other E-Commerce platforms, Shopify does not require you to upgrade your plan based on a specific sales threshold. This provides flexibility and allows you to focus on growing your business without the pressure of upgrading to a higher-priced plan.
- 24/7 Support and Documentation: Shopify offers 24/7 support through multiple channels, including live chat, email, phone, and Twitter. They also provide extensive documentation in the form of written how-to guides, video tutorials, and online forums. This support system ensures that assistance is readily available whenever you encounter issues or need guidance.
Cons of Shopify:
- Potential High Costs: While Shopify provides a range of features and apps, adding multiple third-party apps to your store can lead to increased costs. These costs can add up, especially if you require extensive customization or functionality beyond the built-in features.
- Limited App Functionality: Compared to platforms like WordPress, with its extensive plugin ecosystem, Shopify's apps are more limited in available functionalities. If you have specific requirements or need highly specialized features, you may find that the available Shopify apps are not sufficient to meet your needs.
Shopify offers various pricing plans to meet different needs:
- Starter plan: $5/month - Sell through social media and messaging apps.
- Basic plan: $29/month - Build an online store, manage shipments and payments.
- Shopify plan: $79/month - Basic plan features, professional reporting, more staff accounts.
- Advanced plan: $299/month - Top-tier features, custom reporting, lower transaction fees.
- Shopify Plus plan: $2,000/month - Enterprise-grade features for high-volume stores.
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