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Building a website is easier than it may sometimes seem: it’s not necessary to be a tech geek, know several programming languages, and understand the best layout or coding practices. Today, with various types of CMS, you can create a multifunctional website without thorough programming skills.
In this article, we overview the existing content management system examples, discover what to consider when selecting your solution, and compare the best CMS available.
CMS is the abbreviation for “content management system” or, in other words, an “engine” for a website. It is a software solution, a web application for creating and managing a website and its content. This type of software allows you to add, edit, remove, and organize textual, graphic, or audio-visual information.
What is the role of a CMS? You need a CMS solution to create a simple landing page or multi-page website, you can also use CMS for e-commerce website development. With content management systems, you get ready-made scripts and an opportunity to add and move blocks, edit website sections, and set up the parameters for search engines. And you will not have to deal with coding!
The demand for CMSs is growing: in 2020, the global CMS market was valued at around $62.4 billion and is forecasted to reach $116.2 billion by 2025. According to statistics, 809,000 websites out of the Top 1 Million domains use a CMS.
Seeing that there are already more than 800 different solutions existing today, the question arises: how do they differ, and what types are they divided into?
Although CMSs are created to serve more or less one aim – website development and management – they differ in functionality, usability, target audience, and embedding. Below are the five common types of the CMS.
With open-source CMS, you can get complete control over the style and look of your website and get access to some SEO opportunities and back-end functionality. As the code is available to every user, the customization opportunities are almost unlimited.
Moreover, such solutions usually have a large community of developers, so if you face any issue, it will be easy to find support and resolve it. However, if you think about creating a website on an open-source platform, we would recommend having a tech specialist on your team to keep the website up-to-date and running smoothly.
Examples of this CMS type include world-famous WordPress and Magento.
As a rule, these solutions are provided by experienced software development companies. These companies provide users with a license to get access to their CMS. Evidently, some investments will be necessary to use this type of CMS. However, you will receive expert-level tech support and regular system updates.
One of the benefits of this type of CMS is that often, they are created to suit the needs of a particular market, for example, retail or real estate industry. If you run your business in the same field, opting for a solution that will include all the necessary functions from the start is better.
Examples of content management systems of proprietary type include, among others, Adobe Experience Manager and HubSpot.
These are cloud-based content management solutions. Cloud-based means you will not have to install, upgrade, or maintain anything – the system is accessed online.
SaaS CMS typically offers an intuitive interface together with flexibility and scalability. All the updates and enhancements provided by the vendor are available to all users. However, these solutions are usually accessible by a license or subscription, so payments are necessary.
Examples of SaaS CMS include Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace.
In a headless CMS, the front-end user interface is separated from the content management on the back-end. With headless solutions, you receive freedom in content management and distribution to various channels, including mobile apps, web platforms, smart appliances, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Headless CMS offers faster interactions, which means delivery time can be significantly reduced, and customization opportunities are enhanced.
The companies adopting headless CMS admit various enhancements, including:
Examples of headless CMS are Contentful and Strapi.
By the way, the headless architecture is widely used in e-commerce software. With faster page load time, limitless customizations, and omnichannel retail opportunities, headless e-commerce CMS has already proven efficient and high-quality. Our recent material overviews the best e-commerce CMS with headless architecture, so don't miss it!
Custom CMS solutions are solutions specifically created for a particular business needs. It’s possible to get a CMS built entirely from scratch or on the premises of any other solution.
Custom CMS has the same benefits that any custom software solution can offer:
Every CMS is unique in design, structure, interface, and functionality. That is why the main thing to consider when choosing a CMS is what your project will be. Are you going to launch an online store or a blog? Maybe you need a corporate website or news portal? The required functionality on the site and, accordingly, a suitable management system depends on the project. For example, Magento or Shopify are among the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses, while WordPress will be a perfect choice if you want to create an information resource.
Then, you need to decide on the budget for your project. For example, if your budget is insufficient, you will have to choose a free CMS or opt for free plans of the paid solutions that are normally limited in functionality.
Finally, don't forget about professional skills. If you can hire qualified developers or have your own in-house team of experts, that's perfect. But if you plan to make the product yourself, then choose the CMS that is easier to use.
So, how do you choose a CMS, and what do you need to consider?
Below, we compare the 10 best content management systems to help you choose the right one.
As mentioned above, more than 800 CMS platforms are available. Reviewing them all would make our article endless, so we've researched and selected a list of 10 content management systems to compare. Let’s get started!
Shopify is undoubtedly one of the best CMSs for e-commerce. It is SaaS-hosted, has a simple interface, and is integrated with giants like eBay and Amazon. It is a preferred e-commerce CMS platform in more than 175 countries.
Shopify is a simple drag-and-drop website builder, so it is open even to non-professionals. The CMS solution offers opportunities to add customer reviews, use blogging tools, and apply simple web traffic analytics features – all this makes the web store management process simple and straightforward.
Shopify is very easy to use but a bit harder to customize. The system is not open-source, and major architecture customizations are unavailable. However, you can modify the style and features of your Shopify-based website with the help of free and paid themes and extensions offered.
If you build your e-commerce website on Shopify, it will be PCI-compliant by default so that you will not have to spend time and money on passing the regulations requirements.
Moreover, you can be sure that with Shopify, your website will be backed up regularly, and security measures will be updated.
Shopify offers several paid pricing plans to suit various business needs. The three most popular plans include Basic, Shopify, and Advanced:
In addition to these plans, Shopify offers 3 more ways to start an e-commerce business: the Starter Plan, Retail, and Shopify Plus.
Shopify is best for
eCommerce website creation, especially for the small-to-medium online retailers. However, the Shopify Plus version attempts to attract large online retailers, managing several online stores and dealing with multiple tasks simultaneously.
Examples of websites built on Shopify
Magento, one of the best enterprise e-commerce platforms, offers the most comprehensive possibilities for marketing, analytics, and SEO promotion but is rightly considered complicated for beginners – you may have to turn to qualified Magento developers for help.
Magento is open-source, and its free edition has an intuitively clear design and a rich selection of necessary features. Installing custom themes or extensions, however, will highly likely require some tech assistance from an experienced developer.
Moreover, Magento is definitely one of the best e-commerce platforms for SEO-optimization opportunities. Meta-titles, URLs, breadcrumbs – Magento allows you to track the performance, make necessary changes and improve your website ranking.
You can customize your Magento solution with the help of various extensions available on its marketplace. Moreover, you can search for the necessary add-ons among those offered by Magento services vendors on their websites and particular extension stores. Finally, you may wish to build a custom extension if none of the available suits your needs.
This CMS for e-commerce follows the latest trends in users’ data protection and regularly launches security patch updates. Moreover, there is a free Security Scan tool that you can use to check your Magento-based website for vulnerabilities.
Today, Magento is presented in 3 editions:
Magento is best for
All types of e-commerce website development, from small web stores based on the Magento Open Source version to large b2b e-commerce solutions.
Examples of websites built on Magento
Wix takes its place in our content management system review not in vain: it allows you to create simple websites using the existing templates – online stores, blogs, portfolios, etc. However, you can create a new website from scratch, applying the flexible settings and Wix Studio to work with visuals. Moreover, in this CMS, you can design a unique brand logo, purchase a domain, or register your business mail.
This cloud-based CMS offers a convenient and adaptable user interface for website development without coding. Various ready-made templates simplify the website creation process – you just need to select one of the suggested templates and fill it with the content.
Wix provides opportunities to customize various website elements, from navigation to menus. You can add images and other visuals by selecting them from your own storage or the Wix library.
Opting for Wix, you’ll get a secure web solution, as this CMS provides HTTPS and SSL protocols. Moreover, Wix-based websites are GDPR and CCPA-compliant, which means they meet the requirements for privacy protection in the US and EU.
Wix offers five different pricing plans, from a free one for those who wish to test the platform and get an overall impression to the enterprise plan that costs $500-plus/month and is suitable for medium-sized e-commerce businesses generating significant sales volumes.
Wix is best for
Creation of business websites, landing pages, and blogs, although it offers opportunities for e-commerce website creation as well.
Examples of websites built on Wix
WordPress is the leader in the list of content management systems. The diagram below shows its absolute superiority.
This CMS makes it easy to develop and manage a website. Many free themes and plugins can suit almost any style and business need. You can continually expand the free functionality by adding paid themes and modules if the free functionality is insufficient.
WordPress provides opportunities to create almost any kind of web resource – from a personal blog to an online store, as it has a specially developed e-commerce plugin, WooCommerce. The main thing is to optimize the template so that the website does not become too slow if you have weak hosting.
This CMS is easy and quick to install on any hosting and offers a convenient admin panel and interface for editing theme templates. With WordPress, you can create almost any website using a template yourself without any programming knowledge.
WordPress offers two main types of content: posts and pages. Posts are typically used to create blogs or news sections, while pages are used for static content such as information pages, contact pages, or services.
As one of the oldest of all the members in our content management software comparison, WordPress has a library of themes and plugins that can be uploaded freely or purchased from the official website or third-party vendors.
WordPress is believed to be somewhat vulnerable to hacks and malware, which is no surprise considering its popularity and, therefore, spread. However, hacking will be difficult if you constantly update the themes, install plugins, and configure website security.
WordPress is available in several pricing plans.
NOTE! Before exploring the pricing plans, it is necessary to mention that for e-commerce websites built on WordPress, there is a standard processing fee of $200, regardless of the selected plan. In addition, it will also be necessary to pay commission fees for transactions that vary depending on the plan (the more expensive the plan, the lower the commission fee).
WordPress is best for
Although this CMS is often used for news websites and sites with an active blogging section, it is possible to build an e-commerce site on it as well.
Examples of websites built on WordPress
Technically, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create a CMS-based online store. WooCommerce is one of the most popular systems in this e-commerce CMS comparison. It is easy to use, and it offers unlimited extensibility – that is why it is so in demand on the market.
Unfortunately, just because it is connected to one of the best content management systems – WordPress, doesn't mean it functions perfectly. The store does not work out of the box. If you want it to function correctly, you need to configure the system. And if this is the first time you have worked with this, the process can take quite a long time. Moreover, WooCommerce is a functional and, therefore, heavy extension; its operation processes require investments in good server and hosting services.
WooCommerce is a functional plugin. But its capabilities can be expanded with other add-ons. They solve various problems, from adding online booking and subscription to goods and services to automatically uploading goods to other sites, including Aliexpress, eBay, Amazon, etc.
The WooCommerce-based online stores are easily scalable through plugins as well. You can start your e-commerce website with just a few items and then grow your business up to an online marketplace, and the platform will adjust to your needs.
You can manage the security of your WooCommerce-based website by installing security plugins. What is more, following the WordPress security updates is necessary: if you ignore doing it regularly, you will put your eCommerce CMS – and your customers' data – in danger.
If you want to start selling online with WooCommerce, there are 2 pricing plans available:
WooCommerce is best for
Small-to-medium businesses that already have a WordPress website and wish to transform it into a web store.
Examples of websites built on WooCommerce
Squarespace is a cloud-based platform for… Oh, come on! Yes, Squarespace is a well-known website builder that has long been an excellent solution for large businesses and e-commerce. But here is something you will never see in any other e-commerce CMS comparison – Squarespace is the CMS that Keanu Reeves advertised.
What can we add? The platform fully corresponds to the level of the actor advertising it!
The Squarespace dashboard may seem a little non-standard compared to other best CMS for e-commerce, but this is only the first impression. You quickly get used to the interface, which combines style and content editor. You have various thematic templates to use, and functionality allows you to manage products, apply the Stripe payment system, set up discounts and taxes, optimize SEO, and use analytic tools.
Squarespace suits various needs and permits building of various websites, from a simple landing page to an e-commerce website. The solution has many built-in functions; if necessary, you can use extensions and ready-made integrations. Some features are included in the main subscription to the service, while others require additional payments.
The websites built on Squarespace are protected with SSL certificates to enhance security. It keeps the connections secure and helps to prevent sensitive user data from hacks.
Squarespace doesn’t have free plans. However, it offers a 14-day free trial to test and consider the selected plan:
Squarespace is best for
Creation of a scalable e-commerce website.
Examples of websites built on Squarespace
Hubspot CMS is one of the most fully-featured solutions in our content management software comparison. With open API systems, you can integrate your existing e-commerce, financial, and communication systems. The services that are available for integrations include but are not limited to Mailchimp, Facebook Ads, Salesforce, etc.
HubSpot CMS doesn’t require coding or development skills. The interface allows users to create unique web solutions, edit the content, add the necessary blocks, and track the performance.
Customizations are available thanks to more than 3,000 free and paid templates and plugins. They don’t only allow you to create a design suitable for your exact business needs but also to enrich the solution with the necessary functions.
The platform suggests built-in security features, including a Web App Firewall and a dedicated team of security experts to provide advanced protection over the users' data.
The HubSpot CMS is available in 2 pricing plans – Professional and Enterprise:
HubSpot is best for
Small to large businesses wishing to have an opportunity not only to manage the content but also to follow customer relationship management.
Examples of websites built on HubSpot
The primary specialty declared by the platform is creating web stores, but the system is also suitable for crafting simple business websites and blogs. Weebly has the right to be among the best e-commerce platforms for SEO: it allows you to add your code to the website, track the site’s performance indicators in detail, and promote it in search engines through numerous marketing tools.
The usability of the CMS is at a high level. In the visual editor, you can switch between the mobile and desktop versions of the website to compare displays, but you can only edit the desktop version. Weebly's usability is just good, but it doesn't stand out with anything special regarding functionality.
The multimedia section of widgets makes it possible to add audio, video from a PC or YouTube, and various files for users to upload to the site. For a store, you can add a list of categories and a gallery of products to the page. Other features include adding a search bar, quotes, polls, opt-out cookies, social media icons, and more.
The system provides an opportunity to add SSL certificates to your website, and it offers a DDoS mitigation service to keep the websites protected.
Weebly is available in 4 pricing plans:
Weebly is best for
Personal websites, including blogs and CVs, as well as e-commerce websites with clean and simple design.
Examples of websites built on Weebly
BigCommerce is one of the best e-commerce platforms and a powerful CMS to create large, high-quality websites. BigСommerce-based solutions are suitable for selling physical and digital goods. It has all the tools necessary for this, including the support of popular payment systems and shipping carriers.
The system is user-friendly and typical in structure for an e-commerce CMS. It is moderately convenient, with many tabs and features, and has a minimalistic design. All settings are grouped according to the function, for example, “Marketing”, “SEO”, etc., which makes the navigation really quick.
However, it is necessary to understand that the platform mostly suits the needs of big e-commerce projects. Sometimes, to modify a simple thing, you may need a deep knowledge of how APIs function, so be ready to ask qualified developers for help.
The platform has a built-in marketplace of templates that includes 12 free options and 188 paid ones. This CMS is quite customizable: the templates are high-quality and adaptive, and you can change almost everything. Just don't get confused about the styles – there are so many options that it's easy to get lost in the changes, giving rise to a visual nightmare. In terms of ergonomics, everything is fine – you will see a preview of all changes in real time, and the editor interface is straightforward.
The system developers pay attention to your account security. Profile, access rules, password, system invoices, etc. – you get control of every step in your admin profile.
BigCommerce doesn’t charge any additional commissions for sales transactions, storage space, or the number of pages. By the way, the domain does not come as a gift; it must be purchased additionally.
BigCommerce is best for
Large e-commerce or b2b e-commerce website creation.
Examples of websites built on BigCommerce
Drupal is an open-source, flexible, productive, and functional CMF (Content Management Framework). Its architecture allows you to create a blog, a corporate website, an online store, a service website, and even a social network with the necessary functionality.
This CMF platform is aimed mainly at professional "coders," so you will need a relatively high level of skills to work with it.
The solution has an impressive library of more than 45,000 modules and thousands of themes. All of them are customizable, but, as mentioned above, you will need some professional assistance to achieve good results.
In our comparison of content management systems, Drupal will seem the less vulnerable one. However, even though a dedicated team is working on security issues, the updates aren't automatic, and it is necessary to pay attention to keep the solution in line with the latest security enhancements.
Drupal modules are free to download and use. But as developed by qualified developers and for qualified developers, building an excellent solution without assistance does not seem possible. According to some research, the approximate cost of a Drupal-based website development can range from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on the project’s complexity.
Drupal is best for
Website creation for companies with rich technical expertise or for those who are ready to invest rather large amounts of money into development.
Examples of websites built on Drupal
Hardly, there is one correct answer. Even after such a detailed comparison of content management systems, selecting the best one from the other equal solutions is difficult. The decision depends on your business operations volume, needs, and budget.
However, if you need a qualified and experienced advisor, contact NEKLO. Our experts in e-commerce development will provide you with a consultation and will become a reliable partner for your project development.