One of the most important decisions to make when creating a website is choosing the right CMS (Content Management System) to build the site on. The most popular choice is WordPress, followed by Joomla!, and Drupal. While all three CMS’s accomplish the same goal of being able to manage a website’s structure, pages, images, and products in one interface, the CMS chosen as the framework will define the site’s future scalability, backend usability, and features. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each CMS to help you choose the best one for your website:
WordPress was originally designed for blog sites and is very flexible.
This platform is the preferred CMS of most web developers. At the time of writing this article, approximately 19% of websites on the internet are built with WordPress. If you’re looking for a site that will be easy to setup and maintain, WordPress will be your best choice.
- Gigantic Plugin Library: Want to add something to your site? Nine times out of ten there will already be a plugin for it. Referencing WordPress.org’s directory, there are currently 28,969 plugins listed that are available for download. This is by far and away WP’s best feature.
- Flexibility: This CMS can tackle anything from Ecommerce to Forums and Community Building because of plugins. You can also purchase customized themes or site designs for WP sites from web design agencies or consultants to give your site the right vibe for your audience.
- Easy On-Page SEO: Well known and vetted SEO plugins from WP’s plugin library will keep you from worrying about whether or not your site will be readable by search engine bots.
- Extremely User Friendly: The user interface is very easy to understand and use, even for first time website managers. This translates to easy website updates after setup, whether you do it or you ask your web company.
- Multiple Authors: Because this CMS was originally intended for blogging, it has all the bells and whistles you’ll need to create a kick-ass blog for your company site, including multiple authors. Each author is even given a profile page with a short bio to list interests and expertise as well as a list of all of the articles they have written for the site, making it easy for your users to find the information they’re looking for.
- Content Management Capabilities: If you’re a large publishing house and are planning on putting out hundreds of blog posts, you may find weeding through pieces in the backend of the site overwhelming.
- Out of the box designs: If you’re using a stock WP theme for your site design it will likely be pegged as a WP site at first glance. If you choose WP for your company site it would be best to have a design custom made to represent your brand.
- Unsupported Plugin Compatibility: WP regularly sends out patches, or updates, to the CMS to fix problems relating to security or common errors. These updates often end up making unsupported plugins go defunct. This is easily avoided by making sure that only tested and reliable plugins are installed on your site. These plugins are best chosen and maintained by experienced web programmers and designers.
- Security: Because WP is the most popular CMS on the market with literally millions of installs it’s also the one that hackers target most. However, these attacks can be easily avoided with regular maintenance and by installing the best security plugins on your site.
Joomla! is very good at handling databases, which makes setting up a small to mid-tier Ecommerce store straightforward.
Considered a mid-level CMS, it has a good mix of enterprise features that are easy to access, if not implement. At the time of writing this article, approximately 2.7% of websites are built with Joomla!. This CMS is best if you’re looking to create a standard website with a static homepage, a blog, online store, or forum.
- Large Extension Library: Joomla! also boasts a large library of available Extensions. Currently boasting 7,593 on their library’s homepage, these are divided into 5 subcategories: Components, Plugins, Modules, and Languages and each contribute differently to the site. For example, Components will change the entire Joomla! installation whereas Modules will add smaller features to a site’s capabilities such as RSS feeds, breadcrumbs, or slideshows.
- User Friendly: The user interface of Joomla! is sleek, flexible, and relatively easy to use.
- Learning Curve: While the GUI (graphical user interface) is spiffy, there is a bit of a learning curve to get everything working. While it is not steep, if you’re unfamiliar with CMS’s, getting posts out right after a new installation or site design may prove to be too much.
- Not SEO Friendly: While it is possible to perform SEO on Joomla!, it is not easily undertaken. This means that while your site manager can get it done, it will take a significant period of time to implement the extensions, and then additional time when new articles are published.
- Limited Access Control List (ACL) Support: This refers to assigning user permissions to allow or deny users access to specific sections of the backend, such as article categories or store products. As such, it is best if a site with this CMS is managed by a professional web design agency.
Drupal is an enterprise level CMS which affords system stability and scalability at the cost of easy use and interface aesthetics.
This CMS is best applicable for large projects with a dedicated site manager or team to keep them maintained. At the time of writing this article, approximately 1.6% of websites are built on Drupal.
- Developer Focused: Drupal encourages developers to create their own site plugins and offers an amazing amount of support for the community, which allows for programmers to build custom solutions for their clients’ needs. While this is off-putting for novices, it allows for websites to meet exacting corporate standards.
- Extreme Flexibility: Drupal is a powerhouse of a CMS. From a simple blog site to a fully loaded backend that supports millions of users a month and in between, Drupal can take it and ask for more.
- SEO Friendly: This CMS was built with SEO in mind from the beginning. No extra effort required.
- Stability: Scaling is efficient, even with thousands of visitors on the site at once.
- Enterprise Friendly: Drupal’s ACL capabilities and version control allow corporations to control site access and maintain site security.
- Steep Learning Curve: Unless you are a coding genius who loves to read technical manuals, Drupal will be extremely difficult to use. Even seasoned professionals prefer not to work with Drupal due to this.
- Themes: Drupal is barebones in all respects, including front-end aesthetics. A site designer will be required to skin the site and all modules built for it.
- Plugin Incompatibility: Joomla! and WP have centralized libraries for their modules. They also have rules in place for module submission and distribution. One of these is that modules should not cause another module to cease functioning. As Drupal does not have such a system in place, if you install modules from different authors you run the risk of having all of the modules on the site fail. Also, Drupal does not commit to backwards compatibility in their updates, so older modules may cease functioning all together.
After viewing the three CMS’s, it’s pretty clear why WordPress wins out—easy setup and maintenance make it a breeze to work with during site construction and after implementation. If you’re considering building a website or transferring your site to a new CMS, contact Active Web Group for a free consultation. Our experienced sales team will help you choose the best solution for your business. Call us at (800) 978-3417 or fill out our form.