If you’re new to web design, you’ve probably seen WordPress mentioned a lot as the ultimate CMS. But what if you’re not really into e-commerce or building a top-rated Google website, and just want to blog? Is WordPress truly the ultimate CMS for consumers? … What is a CMS, anyways?
What is a CMS?
CMS is an acronym for content management systems. Content management systems make it easier to maintain and organize your content. They also may help make web design easier through the use of templates and plugins.
The first CMS was designed by AOL and was called RAINMAN. It first came out around 1992, and was the first system to allow publishers to use a live hierarchy for organizing their content. RAINMAN was a very complicated system to use, and publishers required the help of AOL representatives to make changes to the hierarchy, though they could easily post to it without any help.
WordPress first appeared in 2003 as a free, open-sourced fork of b2/cafelog. Now it’s ran on almost 30% of the top million websites online. It is the most popular CMS without dispute, and is reported to be running on over 60 million websites today. But what makes WordPress so special that it’s gained widespread adoption?
What Makes WordPress So Special?
WordPress is so special because it is incredibly easy to use for novices while maintaining a sophisticated back end for advanced users. It can be easily and quickly installed without any prior web administration knowledge, and also can be easily modified through the use of plugins and themes without the user ever having to mess with its back end. Almost everything in WordPress has the ability to be point-and-click, right down to upgrading plugins, themes, and its back end.
Additionally, WordPress has more support written for it than any other CMS. The WordPress Codex is a huge official knowledge base full of information for novices up to advanced users, and there is much more tutorials and guides available through 3rd party websites. This is probably due in part to WordPress being one of the oldest running content management systems. It also was the first CMS to become mainstream, long before Joomla or Drupal gained widespread adaptation.
Is WordPress The Ultimate CMS For Me?
The answer to this question largely depends on whether you think your website will grow, and whether you are interested in learning how to manage a website beyond just installing a theme and blogging away. WordPress may be overkill for folks that just want to get and keep a website running, with little interest in that website’s growth or in learning more about web design.
However, if there are specific features you would like your website to have, there is no easier alternative than to use WordPress and find plugins that do what you want them to do. There are over 50k plugins to choose from, so it’s probable that there is a plugin for anything you want your website to do. WordPress also gives you the ability to build your website exactly the way you want it to look, and it’s the easiest CMS to do this with by far thanks to its drag and drop design editor and innumerable number of themes that can be easily installed via point-and-click.
Are There Alternatives To Using WordPress?
If WordPress does not seem interesting to you and feels like it could be overkill for your purposes, there are plenty more CMS systems to choose from that are easy to use and more simple than WordPress. Here are some of your alternatives:
Like WordPress, Weebly can come pre-installed with your hosting plan if you choose a web hosting provider that supports it, like Siteground. You can also go to Weebly’s website to get started on designing a website. Weebly features a completely point-and-click interface that you can use to design your website. It includes a blog as well as e-commerce and social media tools. However, you are limited to using Weebly’s stock themes and plugins, though there is an HTML editor available for advanced users.
Blogger is a CMS that Google created which is incredibly quick and easy to use. It is ideal for people who want to quickly create a blog. There is a good selection of stock themes to choose from, as well as tons more themes online which you can copy and paste in to the XHTML editor. However, there are no e-commerce tools, and there is a very limited selection of plugins. Despite this, Blogger has been appreciated for many years for how quickly it renders pages and its incredible ease of use. It’s also completely free to use, and can be used with your own domain.
Wix is another easy-to-use, point-and-click content management system. It guides you step by step to creating your first website, so it is absolutely ideal for beginners. You can answer a few questions to have Wix select a design for you quickly, or you can take your time to browse through their templates to create a website that is unique to you. The only catches are that you’re limited to Wix’s stock templates and plugins, so this may not be the CMS for you if you would like to create something unique. However, Wix makes it very quick and easy to access your content to modify it, and has a one of a kind unique step-by-step system for setting up a website design.
Magento is a content management system that is specifically geared towards e-commerce. This is a great platform to use if you want a simple no fuss way to set up an e-commerce website. Straight out of the box, Magento has the privacy and security capabilities that meet current payment industry standards and laws. You can set up as many stores as you want from the same platform, and it features an easy to navigate administration panel plus an easily modifiable back end to appeal to novices and experts alike.
Concrete5 is an example of what you would get if Wix and WordPress got together and made a baby. It is just as easy to use as Wix, but it has all the extensibility of WordPress, so you can add your own custom themes and plugins. The only catch is that this content management system is still very new, so you’ll be hard-pressedhard-pressed to find a ton of new themes or plugins. However, the system seems to be very promising, and is growing more and more each day.
Composr is a content management system that focuses on catalogs, galleries, and portfolios. It is perfect to use if you are looking to create an online business resume, portfolio, or would just like to create a website full of family photos. It is a wonderfully unique content management system that is very easy to use and does what it focuses on very well. If you’re looking for an image rich website, take a look at Composr.
Help With Making a Decision
It is easy to get confused with so many content management systems out there besides WordPress. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your choices:
What will you use the website for? If you want an e-commerce website, Wix, Weebly, or Magento are probably your best choices to choose from. If you want an image rich site, Wix, Weebly, or Composr are your best choices. For blogging, go with Wix, BlogSpot, or Composr. WordPress itself is great with all of these.
What is your skill level? If you’re a novice, Wix, Weebly, and BlogSpot are probably going to be favorites of yours. If you’re intermediate or don’t mind learning a little more about web design, Magento, Composr, WordPress, and Concrete5 are good options to go with. If you are an expert, your favorites will probably be Magento, Concrete5, and well, WordPress.
Are you willing to self install your CMS? If the answer is no, you’ll want to go with Wix, Weebly, WordPress, or BlogSpot — which are all available from their parent sites installation-free. If the answer is yes, you can choose any of these content management systems, but just remember that Wix, Weebly, and BlogSpot aren’t installable from your own server — you’ll have to connect with their parent sites to get them set up.
Overall, WordPress is a great option for any situation or user thanks to its extremely flexible design and easy to use user interface tool set. However, if you want to try something different, there are still plenty of other content management systems that you may find yourself very happy with. That being said, try out a few content management systems before you settle for one, and have fun playing with them! The possibilities for your website are endless.