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One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning a website is which content management system (CMS) you’ll use. With dozens of options that vary widely in how you manage and present content to your users, it’s not a choice to make lightly. First, ask yourself a few questions: What kind of material do you want on your site? What’s your budget? How much manpower can you devote to maintaining your website? How complex do you want your site to be? These are only a few of many questions, but they’re a good starting point. Here, we review four of the most popular and best CMS platforms, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Google’s Blogger (aka Blogspot), to help you develop that kick-butt website you’ve been dreaming of.
What Can a Content Management System Do for You?
If you’re new to the world of web development, you may not realize all the benefits you get from using a CMS. Check out this brief video for an excellent rundown of how CMS platforms work.
Best CMS for Beginners: WordPress Review
The WordPress open source content management system is practically a household name and dominates the CMS industry worldwide. WordPress was originally designed to build blogs, but today it serves as the easiest-to-install and easiest-to-use content management system for websites of any size. You can get a lot of advanced functionality out of WordPress if you’re willing to pay for plugins. There are thousands of free and paid themes, plugins and widgets available, thanks to the enormous popularity of this platform. But the larger your website, especially if you use a lot of plugins, the greater the strain on the resources of your server or hosting service.
Who’s Using WordPress?
WordPress is the platform of choice for more than 20 million sites and holds 58.8% of the market share worldwide. WordPress clearly dominates the CMS market. Some high-profile sites include:
- The New York Times
- The National Football League
Best CMS for eCommerce: Joomla Review
Joomla is the second most popular CMS worldwide. The Joomla CMS system launched in 2005 as an offshoot of the Mambo web CMS project. Unlike WordPress, Joomla’s core includes comprehensive CMS functions without the need to add any extensions. Its admin interface is intuitive, and setup is straightforward, but installation takes longer than WordPress. Joomla is the middle ground between WordPress and Drupal regarding the need for tech skills. The main drawback with Joomla is advanced functionality. There are considerably fewer extensions available than there are for WordPress and Drupal. With that said, Joomla is still a powerful platform for e-commerce and social networking sites.
Who’s Using Joomla?
Joomla is the second most popular CMS worldwide, used by nearly 2.5 million websites. They hold 6.5% of the global market share. Some high-profile sites include:
- Holiday Inn
- Harvard University
- The Guggenheim Museum
Best CMS for Complex Sites: Drupal Review
Around since 2001, Drupal is the most powerful open source web content management system you’re going to find. This CMS is a developer’s dream compared to WordPress and Joomla, but it’s not for beginners who aren’t well versed in web coding. Drupal’s latest versions 7.0 and 8.0, however, are a vast improvement toward being more user-friendly for non-developers. A huge plus with Drupal is its slim core, which eats up much fewer of your site’s resources. And this CMS even allows you to set up complex company portals with multi-domain structures.
Who’s Using Drupal?
Nearly 1.2 million websites are using Drupal, which currently holds 4.8% of the CMS market share. Drupal is the third most popular CMS worldwide. Some high-profile sites include:
- The White House
- The Economist
- Fox News
Best for Low Site Maintenance: Blogger Review (aka Blogspot)
Blogger is a free service owned by Google that lets you set up a simple website within minutes, and it’s the CMS of choice for roughly 800,000 websites worldwide. Most Blogger sites are hosted on the blogspot.com subdomain. Like WordPress, Blogger gives you the ability to publish posts and pages on your website and features intuitive WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) and HTML editing. You can also create and manage multiple blogs through one account. Blogger, however, is limited in design, customization and functionality. You only get a few templates to choose from, and there aren’t that many third-party designs out there. But if all you need is a nice looking blog and don’t mind Google owning your site, then Blogger could be a great solution.
Who’s Using Blogger/Blogspot?
Blogger is owned by Google and it is free. However, it is used by only 0.9% of all websites, making it the least popular of the content management systems we reviewed. Some high-traffic sites include:
- Simply Stacie (Food)
- Mish Talk (Investments)
What’s Next for Your Budding Website?
We hope our CMS comparison article has helped you narrow down your options. As you continue your project planning, what else do you need to consider? If you’re considering WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, you may want to look into a web hosting service. As we mentioned earlier, you can opt to have your site hosted on WordPress or Joomla, but the resources you get with them may not be enough for your site’s optimal performance. Be sure to check out our web hosting service reviews to learn more. And if you want to register your own domain name, visit our reviews of the leading domain registrars.
What features are you looking for in a CMS platform?