Gone are the days where websites were completely built by coders who sat there typing away in notepad or on software such as Dreamweaver. Nowadays, there are Content Management System (CMS) platforms to help do it all for you. There is no need to learn how to code, although it’s always helpful to know the basics, no need to have any kind of background in IT whatsoever. Because a CMS pretty much makes it possible for anyone to build and manage a website.
Whether you’re a blogger, someone looking to set up a retail website, a sports team who want to have a place for your fans to follow, or even an online casino, CMS platforms allow you to do it with ease. You can import themes to get everything how you want it to look, many even allow you to drag and drop the layout so you can put everything precisely where you want it. Then you can get addons that allow you to install features such as having a store, signing people up to newsletters, and even install adverts that will monetise your site.
But there are a lot of CMS platforms out there, so how can you be sure what is best for you? Well, we’re going to help you out by putting together a list of what we believe are the best three CMS available this year to build your own website.
It might not seem like it with only a 2.8% market share, but Wix is the third biggest player in the CMS market. It tends to lose a lot of its customers to WordPress eventually, due to how much better their platform is, but it is incredibly popular with beginners to get to grips with building a website. That’s because it is incredibly easy to use, and has a free plan available too, so you can get started without having to shell out any money.
It has some incredibly good features, like Wix SEO Wiz, that helps you to not only optimize your website and its content, but to understand the importance of things such as SEO as well. But its main features people rave on about are its really easy to use, and non-restrictive drag and drop interface, so you can get your website to look exactly like how you picture it in your mind. And to get you started, there are a whole host of free templates you can use, fully responsive so they adapt to the device they’re viewed on, whether that be someone’s laptop or a smartphone.
Sadly though, there are some downsides to Wix. Firstly, if you wish to operate an online store, you have to pay for the access to those features. And you’re limited to the payment plans you can process. And there aren’t any apps that open up options for you. You’ll also have to pay extra if you don’t want Wix in your domain name, because that will be the case on the free plan. So for example if Google used it, it would be Google.wix.com, and it just doesn’t look very professional.
The worst of it all though, is once you have set your template for how your site will look on Wix. That’s it. You’re stuck with it. If you decide that you have outgrown the way your site looks, or just want to give it a new lick of paint to modernise it all, you’re going to be stuck. This is one reason people move to WordPress because there you can change your template every day if you wish to. But sadly, Wix doesn’t make it that easy to get all your data to export it to another platform. But it is possible.
Whilst many people who want to set up an online shop prefer to use WooCommerce, it’s not actually a CMS platform in itself. It’s a plugin available to install on WordPress which is the CMS that sits below in the number one spot on our list. But for those who want an all-in-one platform to run their store, then Shopify is the go to place. Especially since it is so easy and simple to use, with its drag and drop system that lets you customise your site.
Now, you do have to pay to use Shopify, but one reason it is so popular is because unlike rivals, you aren’t forced to upgrade to bigger packages if you hit certain thresholds with your sales. Which is an excellent feature. You also don’t have to pay for someone to host your store either like with WordPress, so that’s beneficial too. And to add to the mix, it has one of the most comprehensive solutions for payments, with integrated systems that allow your customers to pay via debit or credit card, as well as PayPal.
You will find it incredibly simple to operate, with plenty of how-to guides available to tell you what you need to do to get things working the way you want. And even if you get stuck, there is 24/7 support available through various channels.
If you can’t find something on there as well, then there are likely apps you can install that will help you to achieve your goals. However, the majority charge you to use them, and this can really cause your costs to skyrocket. But if your business is doing better because of the additional costs, then it may be worth the hit. That said, the selection of apps is more restricted than some other CMS platforms, and that is one of the reasons why many people prefer to use WooCommerce on WordPress.
WordPress is the one of the most well known when it comes to CMS platforms, controlling an impressive 65.1% of the market. This actually makes them a monopoly in that industry, but it’s not just a case of where a company has bought out all the competition, leaving no competitors to go up against. Instead, there are actually lots of competitors out there, just none that hold that big of a market share compared to WordPress. And we’ll touch upon some of them shortly.
The reason why this particular CMS platform is so popular though, is because many see it as being the best out there. But why? Well, it is flexible, you can do almost anything you need to on there. If you can’t do it directly on WordPress, you can almost guarantee that someone has created a plugin that will assist you. And whilst that may sound complicated to some, we can assure you, it is not.
Why? Because that brings us onto our next point. It’s easy to learn. WordPress has hundreds of tutorials available to talk you through everything you could need to know. They release new features? You can guarantee there will be a walkthrough ready for you to get you up to date, and it is all done in a basic way that allows you to follow step-by-step at your own pace.
And finally, it is free and open-source. However, there are certain plugins and themes that you will have to pay for. But to set up a basic website, it will cost you nothing. Now if you’re a coder, you could probably do a lot of upgrades yourself, but if not, then it’s not that expensive to get what you need to take your website to the next level. And even if you don’t want to pay for certain things, there are usually free versions of some plugins, they just don’t go as in-depth with some of their features.