If you’ve ever looked for a new content management system for your website, you know there are hundreds of choices out there to sift through. Which one is the best? There’s no easy answer, because each CMS holds unique features that work for different industries. To help cut through the clutter, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of three commonly used content management systems here at Designsensory.
Wordpress is a free platform (though it doesn’t provide hosting) that was initially developed for blogs. Nowadays, it’s a robust system that’s supported by thousands of mostly-free extensions, suitable for a wide variety of needs such as blogs, marketing and eCommerce. The Wordpress CMS is quick to set up and publish on the web. It’s also easy to use, whether you’re new to or experienced with content management systems. If you do need help, Wordpress has an active community to support you.
Despite its theoretically limitless customizations, however, many of the ready-made themes look the same. If you wish to create a custom theme or extension, or tweak existing ones, advanced coding knowledge is required. Also, Wordpress is known to have exploitable areas in its security. Luckily, Wordpress frequently revises the CMS to circumvent this. The downside is that these frequent changes often break extensions and, subsequently, your website.
Squarespace is a paid platform, although hosting and a dedicated 24/7 support team is included. Unlike Wordpress, where you install plugins as needed, Squarespace comes as an all-in-one package that covers most features of website building. Squarespace’s drag-and-drop design is both simplistic and user-friendly.
A consequence of this ready-made and simplistic package, Squarespace’s major drawback is it fits your website into a mold. For example, the templates, which have limited customization, rely on large, high quality image backgrounds, and third-party extensions are not supported. Also, while Squarespace boasts is eCommerce functionality, it’s not as robust as other systems. Finally, Squarespace reserves the right to remove your site at its discretion.
MODX is a free platform that provides hosting through MODX Cloud. It provides a clean interface, a high level of security and built-in search engine optimization. Like other content management systems, extensions add additional functionality and are easy to edit with code.
MODX’s biggest drawback is that it takes time to set up, and setting it up requires coding experience. Pre-made themes do not have built-in customization features, and the number of extensions are fewer than other content management systems. If you need help, MODX lacks support and documentation.
ExpressionEngine is a paid platform; although, it does have a feature-limited free version, and hosting is not provided. It’s suitable for a variety of uses, with its wide variety of extensions; people new to content management systems should find it easy to use. If you need help, ExpressionEngine provides both official and community support and documentation.
The biggest drawback to ExpressionEngine is the licensing is expensive up front. Furthermore, certain functionalities are separate charges, limited to three websites per purchase. And while the CMS is easy to use, the unique way of adding content will seem awkward at the beginning. Also, coding knowledge is required to set up the website, and adding extensions are unnecessarily complicated.
What’s the Real Difference?
Still can’t decide? Don’t worry. The good news is that content management systems are more similar than different. As developers learn from each other, the systems are likely to become more streamlined. If you feel like these four systems don’t suit your needs, there are plenty more to choose from, including Designsensory’s own DSX, which can be tailored to suit your website’s needs.
Whichever system you choose, keep upgrading. Content management systems will become more usable, more powerful and more familiar. Contact us to set up a web consultation!