The Best Content Management Systems
What Is a Content Management System?
Otherwise known as CMS, a content management system is a platform that helps you build a website and manage the content.
There are various platforms around with different benefits that could suit an array of businesses and business owners, as well as people new to the world of content management.
This article will delve into the top eight content management platforms and their defining features.
Benefits of Using a Content Management System
There are plenty of benefits when using a content management system. Here are some of the key ones to consider:
- They’re perfect for people with limited technical knowledge – Most content management systems allow you to handle basic infrastructure without having prior expertise in coding and website building.
- Most CMS platforms have inbuilt templates – If you are not sure what design you want to go for or if you are just looking to get your branding started, most systems offer a variety of different website templates you can use.
- They facilitate site maintenance and instant updates from any location – If you are managing your website from a remote location, you might be able to access the back end of your website through a mobile device. Some CMS platforms have an app to accompany them which means you can make edits to the site and the site’s content through your mobile phone.
- You do not have to know how to code – If you are daunted by coding, do not worry. Most CMS platforms do not require you to write code from scratch, and if they do, it is simple and explained in thorough detail.
- Multiple people can have access to make edits – With the right content management system, different users can be added and given access to make edits to the site if you are unable to. With some platforms, there might be varying access permissions so you can limit the access certain users have.
- Allows you to schedule content – This helps you map out your content and calendarize it. For example, if you have a blog you want to go live on a particular day, most CMS platforms will be able to schedule this. This is especially helpful as it gives you the ability to plan ahead and focus on other aspects of the business.
- They are scalable for any business – As mentioned previously, content management systems can be used for any size business. If your business is growing, most CMS platforms offer growth increasing tools to allow you to add on widgets to increase visibility or access a shop-front function, for example.
What Are the Key Features to Look for When Choosing?
Content management systems have many different defining features.
Some specialize in SEO (search engine optimization), whilst others might be renowned for their in-depth analytics. It all depends on what you are looking for.
For example, if your website is product-based, you might want a system that has a shop widget enabled.
However, if your site is predominantly information-based, then something simpler could work for you.
You need to research before picking a CMS platform to know which one is best for you and your criteria.
Here are a few key features to consider when selecting a CMS:
Publishing Tools and Controls
Having a content editor function that multiple members can control is essential when choosing a CMS.
Your core team must have access to make edits to the site. Having the ability to see the changes you have made instantaneously is important too.
You have a new product you want to launch; however, you notice an error once it has been published. As you do not have access to any tech, you reach out to a team member to make the change in an instant. Problem solved.
Social Media Integration
With social media at the forefront of the marketing strategies of many businesses, the CMS platform you pick must have the tools to enable social media integration.
Search engine optimization is an important aspect when growing a business, especially if you are in a highly competitive market.
Google search ranking is crucial to driving traffic to your website, and having a good SEO strategy is important for increasing awareness.
Some content management systems specialize in the inclusion of a built-in high-quality SEO tool, which will enable you to manage your SEO, and research keywords and their effectiveness.
Good Customer Support
Good support is essential. Therefore, research how each platform’s customer support function works.
Some might be simpler to contact than others, and a few might specialize in their in-depth support system.
Then opting for a CMS, good analytics functionality is key if you want to know more about your website visitors.
Some platforms have their own analytics, whilst others might collaborate and feed through Google Analytics.
The above list is just several core functionalities that most content management systems should possess. As platforms are evolving so are the features.
The Top 8 Content Management Systems
Here are a few of the best content management systems to help you on your way:
Best for: Beginners
Squarespace is known for its ease of use. It is the perfect CMS platform for beginners.
It is easy to create a basic website and simplifies as much as possible for the user with its user-friendly tools and functions.
For example, you do not have to worry about buying a separate domain name, you can just create your Squarespace account. You also have several different templates to choose from.
Lack of flexibility – If you are looking to sell products on your site, Squarespace is fairly limited in its eCommerce functionality.
You can only select from three payment sources: Apple Pay, Stripe and PayPal.
Best for: Integration
Magnolia is best known in the media industry for being easy and fast in regards to content creation.
Magnolia is excellent for creating recognizable content and is good for 3rd party integration.
Businesses like Magnolia for its ability to stream news and information.
This content management system is also known for its light development low code approach and speed.
Magnolia is aimed at medium to large businesses with more knowledge of CMS and integration – its functionality requires learning and patience.
If you are a beginner, Magnolia might be difficult to use.
Best for: Cloud
HubSpot CMS is a relatively easy platform to navigate; therefore, it is also good for beginners with its drag and drop functionalities and lack of coding use.
One of the benefits of HubSpot CMS is that necessary updates occur in the cloud (behind the scenes); therefore, software updates will not impact your site or content.
It also has high levels of security and there are data centers around the world, so there will be no downtime on your site.
If you are using your site primarily for eCommerce, use a CMS like Shopify. HubSpot has progressed with its eCommerce functionality, but there is still further development required.
Best for: Usability
One of the best-known CMS platforms, WordPress is an open-source platform that allows you to customize your site by improving or amending its source code.
WordPress has a good variety of themes and templates; therefore, if you are thinking of starting a personal blog or business website, then there’s an array to choose from.
You can also download plugins to enable sending emails and newsletters; WordPress is SEO-friendly too.
You will need to add plugins to benefit from additional features. It does not take long to install plugins and widgets; however, you will have to do this with the majority of the add-ons you require.
For example, to add eCommerce to your site, you might have to install the WooCommerce plugin.
Best for: eCommerce
If your business is product-based and is primarily used as a selling platform, then either BigCommerce or Shopify is the better choice of CMS.
The popularity of these platforms is a result of the simplicity to sell and the lack of software installation for your desktop or laptop. You can also manage your shop from any location.
You do not have to be fluent in code or design. You can just select a template from the collection provided and upload your products.
Both platforms will charge.
BigCommerce and Shopify are known as SAAS tools (software as a service) so there is an ongoing fee to use them, either monthly or annually.
You will need to pay this to continue having access to the software.
Best for: Collaboration
Bynder is known for its user-friendly interface and image searching capacity.
Bynder allows you to collaborate with clients and other members of your team. It has a Workflow feature which makes it simple for businesses to communicate with their clients during the process.
Workflow also allows you to gain contextual feedback in real-time.
Bynder also allows you to share assets with team members even if they do not possess login details.
Analytics is a new feature to Bynder; therefore, this function is a work in progress.
Best for: Blogging
Ghost is one of the most popular platforms for writing and imagery.
Ghost is a no-frills publishing tool used without any distractions. It is simple and easy to use.
The editor feature is clean and supports markdown format.
Ghost also has excellent SEO capabilities.
Ghost has no native comment functionality, which some users could find difficult. There is also a limited amount of themes available to choose from; therefore, if you want your blog to gain significant attention, maybe WordPress is the one for you.
Best for: Online publications
The perfect CMS platform for online publications, Concrete5 is open-source; therefore, you can modify the code limitlessly.
With simple drag and drop functionalities, you can move around content blocks and edit features with ease.
Concrete5 also offers good SEO features by enabling you to add meta descriptions and tagging to any images you use on the site.
This is a reason online publications use this platform, especially if the majority of their content is image and word-based.
Concrete5 also allows you to distribute site permissions to admins; therefore, some admins can have access to edit the whole site, whereas some others might only be able to edit parts.
Concrete5 has a smaller community; therefore, it can be difficult to search for answers to queries through forums and community boards.
You also must pay for any additional extensions or plugins you might require.
There are many different content management systems and each business or personal user will have different requirements.
Therefore, it is important to research which one has the features and functionalities that will work well for you and your business.