The three big CMS’: Which is right for your business?

There is no one-size-fits-all among CMS', so make sure you pick the right one.

The most popular way of creating websites these days is to use open source, web content management systems (CMS). WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are the top three CMS’ and together have the biggest market share, and for good reason. It does mean choosing between the three can be difficult for those not clued up on all their functions. There isn’t a one-size-fits all option, so in this article we’ll explore each platform to help you decipher which could work best for you and your business.

WordPress - the most popular, and easy to use CMS

A platform that originally started as a home for blogging with 76.5 million blogs created since 2004, WordPress has advanced a great deal over the last decade and now powers over 25 per cent of websites across the world. There are a whole host of reasons why this platform is so popular with business owners and designers alike.   

It’s easy to set up and use for just about anyone who owns a computer. There’s no need to have much knowledge about coding as you can build a simple website from scratch using the thousands of templates and plug-ins available at your fingertips. It’s also cost-effective. It’s free to sign up and although some of the best templates and plug-ins come at cost, if you want to create a website for free you can.   

For designers, it’s an ideal CMS as bespoke websites can be built fast due to the ease of amending code. This means that they can be launched in a short period of time for clients, and any changes as the business evolves can be done quickly.   

Who is WordPress best for? 

For start-ups, and those just beginning to think about creating a website, WordPress is a good platform to begin with as it’s cost-effective and designers can run with it if you choose to hand it over to a technical expert. It’s also easy to amend as your business evolves.

Drupal - the most powerful and useful for scalability  

Developers love Drupal as it’s a completely open source program, meaning it’s highly customisable and ideal for scalability. For those with knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP it’s a powerful platform. And typically, Drupal pages will load quicker too.    

Who is Drupal best for? 

For those that want to have an adaptable, personalised, and powerful website designed by a professional, Drupal is a fantastic option. The scalability of this platform is valuable for those established businesses that anticipate large traffic numbers at one time – e.g. a news website. The platform allows growth beyond a basic small business page or blog, however if you have no or very limited knowledge of the relevant languages might struggle, so it is a platform that requires an expert. 

Joomla - somewhere in the middle

Joomla is a middle ground between WordPress and Drupal as it is powerful but doesn’t need a huge amount of technical knowledge. For those that want more site development options than WordPress without going straight to Drupal, Joomla is the best option. It’s also got a number of other benefits that make it a popular choice.   

It’s faster and easier to set up an online store compared to the likes of WordPress or Drupal. It’s also a brilliant option for those that want to create a social networking aspect to their website.   

Who is Joomla best for? 

For lifestyle ecommerce businesses that want to show off a brand personality, it’s a really good option as there are a lot of plug-ins and themes to choose from - meaning that the end product will be a personalised website. The social networking option is also brilliant if you want to interact with customers.   

Ultimately, it’s down to the client, project, and designer to decide the best fit when it comes to choosing a CMS system. A website is undoubtedly a significant aspect of any business, which means that the design and development process should be carefully considered and planned. 

By looking at these three options, the majority (if not all) of businesses should find a good fit for them.   

Phil Holt, managing director, Web Foundry
Image Credit: Kaspri / Shutterstock

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phil Holt is the managing director at Web Foundry, design and digital agency with offices in Edinburgh, Manchester, and Warsaw.