Once you’ve set your sights on creating an upscale professional website you have to decide on the purpose it will serve. It could be a corporate site, online store, social network, information portal, gallery, blog, forum, etc. Then, define your budget constraint and leave the rest with professionals whose technical expertise allows them to choose an appropriate content management system (CMS) that will prove equal to the task and serve your interests to the full.
In this article we’ll analyze widely-used CMS and lay bare their prominent characteristics and divergent features. Chances are this information will guide you through CMS features, facilitate your decision-making process and get you started.
Initially conceived as a blogging platform it has evolved and earned a worldwide recognition as CMS with high usability. It is popular among personal blogs and e-commerce sites. About 50% of websites using CMS settled upon WordPress. It is hardly astonishing once its strengths are set in the foreground:
- Free and Easy to install: manual installation time takes about 5 min;
- Limited technical expertise: technical knowledge is not required, a little grasp of CSS and HTML will suffice to customize WordPress. WYSIWYG editor makes life easier for those who have problems with HTML-marking and other languages;
- User-Friendly: admin panel is much easier than in other CMS: PHP and CSS files can be edited directly in the admin panel. You can easily insert text from any text editor, unlike Drupal or Joomla;
- Customizable: an extensive set of plugins, themes, widgets for galleries, forums, different catalogs since it’s the most popular;
- Community support is solid and ever-increasing since millions of people are using WordPress.
Though, it has its flaws.
- Limited capacity: This CMS seems to be the most suitable platform for a novice. If your objective is a site that’s flexible and scalable, look more at Joomla or Drupal;
- Not recommended for large sites: Initially designed as a blogging platform, it is great for small to medium sized websites but once your site starts growing and receiving thousands of visitors a day a more robust system and stronger server resources are required;
- Not flexible framework: hardly allows any back-end changes to websites;
- Limited design options: though it is customizable, but WordPress installations are not really multifaceted;
- Security loopholes and patch problems this is a CMS with rather vulnerable security system.
The next most popular CMS after WordPress. It’s a borderline case between Drupal with its extensive capabilities and WordPress with its ease of use, but with more opportunities for web development. Joomla is your best choice should you decide to set up an online store or social network. Flaunting its advanced functions and features, this CMS provides a far richer and more flexible website structure than WordPress. You can use Joomla to create a corporate website, community website or a site with e-commerce functions.
- Easy to install and Free to use on your web server but, contrary to WordPress, hosting isn’t free;
- A friendly user interface convenient admin panel with lots of features: templates, styles, menu management etc;
- Customizable a lot of plug-ins and themes available to choose from;
- Relatively simple when compared to Drupal, Joomla is a full-fledged tool for web development;
- Support Portal allows putting questions and getting technical support, though not as extensive as community support pages offered by WordPress.
- Be prepared to pay, not so many free plugins and themes in comparison to WordPress;
- Relevant technical expertise is required, you’ll barely do without any technical support. For inexperienced users it may seem that Joomla has many unnecessary features, and experienced users often find it to be too simple.
Technically savvy people admire its comprehensive power and a developer-friendly interface that allows creating complex Web sites. And like other great tools, Drupal requires some technical skills, without which you could manage when using Joomla or WordPress. Typically, Drupal is good with sites that require complex data management: forums, online shops, web blogs, corporate websites and community websites.
- Free and Easy to install manual installation time takes about 10 min; it is free to download and install on your server but web hosting to run a site will cost you money;
- Extensive capabilities: A huge number of modules that add many feature sets to the site, such as user blogs, OpenID, forums, profiles and so on, increasing the functionality. This system is known for its module Taxonomy, which allows organizing content by levels, characteristics and categories; VIEWS and CCK modules allow to build arbitrary data types and their display design;
- Powerful: not as resource intensive as WordPress;
- Robust security system;
- Customizable broad configurable options;
- Flexible framework: Allows editing the root files of the program what makes it really flexible;
- Faster response time in comparison with WordPress or Joomla;
- Help Portal: Drupal has an active and large community.
This is a good but technically sophisticated tool when it comes to designing highly functional, versatile and advanced websites. But along with benefits come some difficulties:
- Drupal requires advanced technical equipment. Your server may not sustain the load posed by such a complex system. you may have some problems in terms of performance.
The point is that neither of those CMS is one-fit-all solution. Each particular case has to be thoroughly examined with such aspects as needs, expectations, budget constraints entering into the equation. Still, the most essential and restraining aspect is definitely technical expertise. Make sure you have it to serve your needs because once it is extensive and relevant you can go a long way.