What is a CMS platform?

A CMS platform is short for Content Management System. The CMS is software that helps website designers and developers create a website that manages and modifies content on a website. A complicated term with a simple explanation. Content management system to manage your content.

Why should I use a Content Management System?

The purpose of a CMS is to make it easier to build a website. Without a content management system websites require building through coding (HTML, JavaScript & CSS) which can be costly. It can also limit who can work on the website when changes and updates are needed.

People are more apt to go with a content management system over custom coding so that they are less reliant on the website designer, website developer. We all hear the stories of losing touch with the person who created the website and having no clue how to update it or access the back end of the website.

Content Management Systems are a way to avoid that situation. By having a system that is easier to use and access. You can increase your options of who you can partner with on not just creating the website but helping to maintain it.

How many Content Management Systems are there to choose from?

There are the popular 7 to 10 CMS’s and beyond. Here are 12 popular CMS platforms being used in no particular order:

  •  WordPress
  •  Shopify
  •  GoDaddy Website Builder
  •  Wix
  •  Joomla
  •  Squarespace
  •  Weebly
  •  Drupal
  •  Blogger
  •  BigCommerce
  •  Ghost
  •  Magento

The number of options to choose from will depend on your expertise and your use case. Business goals and other factors weigh into how you should narrow down your options.

Things to consider will be what you plan to use the website for with your business. If it is for information only. That leaves you open to work with more basic content management systems like Wix, & Weebly. Platforms that have templates that you can choose from and customize to your business branding.

If you plan to do business through the website and use it for more than an online presence. It would be wise to narrow your focus to content management systems that are more focused on delivering to your niche goals. For example, if you’re looking to sell physical products or services. That narrows the choices down a bit. This is where you’ll hear names like Squarespace, Shopify, and WordPress.

What should factor into selecting a CMS for a website?

The initial starting point question will be. Are you creating the website yourself or will you have someone else create it for you? If you have someone else building the website for you then you’d be basing it on their expertise instead of your own.

Another factor will be your business needs. When looking at an online store it narrows the options down to a group that will depend on use cases. Things like will it be a physical product or a digital product.

Digital as in something that you can download as opposed to physical being something that needs to be shipped. Both online stores but different processes in the end.

Informed decisions save you money on the front end and after the website is created. You’re not just selecting a CMS. You’re selecting future partnerships and how you can grow your business.

Consider things like ease of use, design options, and the ability to use extensions and addons. Support options matter as well as cost and the flexibility to make sweeping changes.

You never know if you’ll need to pivot to narrow down to a specific niche or what changes may be needed to accommodate a target audience.

Online Store Content Management System Options

Let’s narrow this down to some use cases to help you with your selection process. There are more and more businesses getting started every day. In 2020 there were 434 million applications submitted to form a business in the U.S. according to US Business Formation Statistics.

There was already a steady increase in online stores year-over-year taking place. The pandemic only added to the incentive to be able to shop online.

  •  18,1% of retail sales are expected to be made through eCommerce. (Oberlo)
  •  1 Million companies in the U.S. sell products online to consumers (B2C).
  •  7 Million sell products on their website.
  •  By the year 2040, it is estimated that 95% of all purchases will be through eCommerce. (Nasdaq)

Why does this matter? What makes these stats relevant to the CMS conversation? The increase in online businesses is and will continue to drive CMS options and their ease of use. The competition for Share of voice (SOV) will only increase & benefit the businesses.

Who are the main CMS sites that are known for online stored and eCommerce? Let’s take a look.

  •  WordPress
    •  Currently the number one choice for most website designers and developers. It provides room for flexibility and customizations that allow businesses to evolve and have their website grow with them.
    •  WooCommerce is a well-known and popular plugin that can be used to create your online store. Free at its basic form with extensions that allow a business to add features and customizations.
  •  Joomla
    •  Another open-source CMS that allows for more customizations to your website. You can use it for e-commerce using the available extensions. This is heavier on the developer side of things so it does require more expertise.
  •  Wix
    •  This platform provides templates that you can customize to suit your business needs. The Wix App Market will allow you to add to your website customizations beyond the template options.
  •  BigCommerce
    •  An all-in-one platform that makes it easier to get your online store up and running. All-in-one in terms of providing hosting, security, and backups for your website. It also provides the option of a free domain name.
  •  Shopify
    •  A more well-known and popular Content Management System for entrepreneurs who want to create an online store. You won’t need to worry about hosting, updates, or backing up your website.
  •  Magento
    •  An Adobe open source Content Management System that can be customized using third-party extensions for extra features. Known for being able to work well with a large customer base and products.

Universal Content Management System Options

When it comes to basic general websites. You really can’t go wrong with an open-source platform. They provide the most room for customization and room to grow with your business.

Templated websites are a good starting point for smaller businesses that are more brick and mortar. Creating a website just so that they have an online presence. It requires less of an investment in time and money while providing just enough of what may be needed as an online business card.

Content Management Systems Conclusion

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that allows people to create, edit, and publish content on a website. It makes web publishing faster and easier.

There are plenty of great CMS platforms out there for you to choose from, but if you’re looking for a good all-around solution, I recommend WordPress. WordPress provides a lot more flexibility, plugin options, and room for customizations to make it your own.

Whether you’re using a page builder, coding, or a template. You’ll also be able to find more designers and developers to partner with on projects. There is a reason WordPress powers roughly 35% of all websites on the internet.