What is a CMS, really, and which one should you choose?
When the internet was first born, building a website took a lot of coding knowledge, and it was difficult to make something beautiful without that knowledge. But that’s not the case anymore, thanks to the multiple website builders out there. Unless you need something super custom, it’s actually pretty easy to make your own website. That’s where a CMS comes in. But what is a CMS?
CMS stands for content management system, and it’s basically the program you use to build your website. Major content management systems include WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. If you’re just starting out, it may be overwhelming to try and figure out which CMS is right for you. With no real help from Adam, here’s the Pack’s expert take on how to choose a CMS.
A CMS we use often is WordPress. We love that it allows for a lot of customization, but is pretty simple overall (especially if you have some coding background). On top of that, there are a bunch of free themes, or ones you can buy, that are incredible. And it’s an open source platform, so people write and update plugins for WordPress for free, so your options are practically limitless.
If you end up choosing WordPress and really wanna beef up your site, check out our post on the best WordPress plugins!
Next we have Squarespace. On the front end, it looks fantastic, and it is. They have loads of quality templates and a great back end design. Not to mention they have a bunch of features built in, so you don’t need to figure out if something will work because it will. Squarespace also hosts all of their sites and has security, regular backups, and great customer chat support.
If you want a simple site that relies on photography and stunning visuals, this is for you. The biggest downsides are that the pricing could better and that you don’t have a lot of control over customization. So, if you have simple needs and just want a decent looking website, then this is for you.
Wix has a huge collection of designer templates, over 510, covering all different industries and tastes. It was the most innovative drag and drop builder, and you can get help support everywhere. Some of the downsides are that you can’t switch templates after you’ve put one on your site without reloading all your content. Wix also has ads on their free plans. If you want to keep your business small, then it has a great commerce plan. Otherwise, don’t go with Wix.
Last is Weebly. They are arguably the easiest website builder to use and, unlike Wix, they have great templates that you can switch between. They even have 40 pre-designed layouts to help you get started. Some of the biggest downsides include the fact that the drag-and-drop customization is limited, they don’t roll out more innovative features very often, and their blog features could use some work.
Hopefully this helps you understand what a content management system is and how to choose the right one for your company. Whatever you decide, these are all decent options for you to start your first, or even second, website. They all offer great services, so just grab the one you like and jump in, you won’t regret it.