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Your Complete Guide to Web Content Management

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Published: May 17, 2021

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We are living in the information age, this means that every day a lot of information is exchanging hands. Billions of people go online in search of information that will help them make better decisions and educate themselves.

When you are doing business online, you build your online presence through content that enables the customer to understand your business better.

Once you started creating content, you need a system to use in developing, storing, managing, and publishing it to those who need to access it.

This is where the role of content management systems becomes important. You can share and distribute the information from one platform.

The software that powers that functions to showcase your value to the world, is what we call a web content management system. Lets us define it.

What Is a Web Content Management System?

A web content management system is a software that helps you to create,  manage, and publish content on the internet. The type of content can be text, audio, graphics, video, etc. The software also enables you to present information in an order that is accessible and usable.

A web content management system allows the user to do all the above activities without writing a code or creating it from scratch. The user interface where visitors interact with the content produced is called a website. So basically a web content management system allows you to build your own website.

Using a content management system makes building websites easy. Before the advent of content management systems, websites were expensive to build because they had to be coded. Each website builder had to create a code which is a set of rules that controls the operation of the website.

How Does a Web Content Management System Work?

A content management system works by using the pre-written codes that are HTML files to help you translate what you are creating into a  readable format that is accessible to online users. This is what makes a content management system unique; you do not have to write the website codes yourself; it is already pre-written.

What are HTML codes?

HTML in full means Hyper-Text Markup Language. It is a language that is built of codes used for creating web pages. It describes the structure of a webpage and tells the browser how to display the content of the webpage.

Web content management systems are made up of two parts:

  • Content Management Application( CMA): This is the aspect of the web content management system that allows you to create, edit and publish content online.  It is usually called the backend of a website.
  • Content management delivery application (CMDA): This is the part where the code files are stored, one that actually controls the functioning of your website.

Advantages

Why should you use a web content management system to build your website? What are the advantages? Let us look at some of them:

  • Reduces the cost of building a proprietary website for your business.
  • Cuts down the time to market for most businesses.
  • Makes website building simple.
  • Provides capabilities that would have been difficult to get with a proprietary website.

Types of Web Content Management Systems

Now that you know what a content management system is and why you should use it. Let us explore the different types of content management systems that are out there.

1. WordPress

Image source: WordPress.org

WordPress is the most popular of all the content management systems out there. It is by far the most versatile amongst all the content management systems that are available. It powers about 41% of the whole website on the web and dominates the web content management system market by 60%.

Source: W3techs.com

WordPress has two formats, WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The content management system is WordPress.org because it allows you to build a website using its interface. It was originally built for blogging but has now become the major platform that people use to build their websites. WordPress.com is a  free platform that can be used for blogging, too, but it does not have the functionality control like WordPress.org.

Features of WordPress.org Open Source Platform

WordPress is an open source platform that has the capability to allow others to contribute to its development. This means that you don’t have to be the original owner to develop capabilities that enhance its functionalities. This has made WordPress be in a leader. It is continually being improved by thousands of software developers that create a lot of functionalities for it.

Plugins

The use of plugins in WordPress is what has also made it quite different from other content management systems. What is a plugin? A plugin is a software that allows you to introduce a desired capability to your website without necessarily creating a code for it. The use of WordPres s plugins makes WordPress versatile and easily adaptable. For example, a WordPress site can be turned into an ecommerce site via the use of a Woocommerce plugin.

Ease of use

WordPress is one platform that is easy to use because of how the creators made it easy even for a non-techy person to easily figure out the ins and outs. A WordPress platform can be installed with a single click. The step to install it is not difficult so even if you do not understand anything about building a website, you can easily follow the prompts and build a website.

Huge knowledge base

WordPress has been around since 2003, and it has a huge knowledge base you can tap into if you are struggling with issues. If you are building with WordPress and you run into a problem, there are thousands of online videos that you can watch and learn how to fix the issue. WordPress also has stand-by customer service agents to help out in case you cannot find what you are looking for online. They also have online support forums that answer questions when you ask them. All the resources provided by WordPress make it unique and popular.

SEO friendly

WordPress was built with SEO compatibility. The content management has a plugin that guides writers and website builders alike to set up their website in such a way that enables posts written on it to rank on Google. The use of those plugins is what WordPress incomparable to other types of CMS types.

Popularity

WordPress powers about 60% of all known websites online, which means that they dominate the world content management systems market. The popularity of WordPress gives it the ability to continually innovate and get better each day. WordPress has developed capabilities that make it different from other content management systems.

Variety of themes

A theme is a compilation of codes that enables you to give functionality to your website and determine the look and feel of your pages. WordPress has a repository of thousands of themes both free and paid, this makes it versatile and fit to be used for any industry that you may want to build your website for. The repositories are being contributed to by different developers. No matter what industry you are in, you will find a theme that suits your needs. You can learn how to install WordPress in this video

2. Joomla

image source: Joomla.org

Joomla launched in 2005 and is almost as old as WordPress. It powers about 3% of the world’s websites and 5.4% of the content management systems. It is the second most popular content management system and competes favorably with other content management systems. Its market share, however, has been shrinking since 2017.

 

Source: Kinsta.com

Features of Joomla Content Management system

The following are some of the most coveted features of the Joomla Content Management system.

Flexibility

Joomla offers flexibility with its extensions. It has thousands of templates that you can use to customize and change the look and feel of your website. Joomla was built with a robust GUI (Graphical User Interface) that allows you to customize the fonts, colors, layout, and features without having to write a code. You can also create custom solutions such as language override, template override, and custom CSS. They have over 10,000 templates and extensions to choose from.

World-class support & documentation

Because Joomla has been around for a while you will find a lot of documentation that supports this content management system to enable you to implement and also find a solution when you need it. Another good thing about Joomla is the support you receive from the online forums and also the training videos that available in their repository to help you out.

Multilingual capability

Joomla was built with a multilingual ability that does not require a third-party extension. This means that if you want to build a website that is accessible to people of different languages. It has over 76 language translation packs.

Open-source

Joomla is also an open-source platform which means that it has contributors to the systems that are not originally part of its creations. Third-party extensions are created by such developers who contribute to the content management system.

Excellent security-conscious architecture

Joomla was created with a focus on security systems that protects the website design on its content management system. It also has a strike team that continuously monitors the platform to stop any time of security attacks.

SEO optimization

Joomla has SEO optimization metrics inbuilt in the content management system. Each menu item has its own meta description, keywords, and robot settings that allow for optimal availability online. This capability increases your chances to be discovered online when you build your website on Joomla.

To learn how to install Joomla, watch this video.

3. Drupal

Image source: Drupal.org

Drupal is a web content management system that evolved from a development of an internal communication site developed by 2 students. The internal site was later uploaded online and went on to become Drupal. It has robust capabilities that include modularity, a core principle upon which it was built.

Features of Drupal

Drupal is hailed for its flexibility, versatility, and structure. It is one of the best choices for creating integrated frameworks and can be extended via the thousands of extensions available in its repository. Let us look at some of its features.

Security

Drupal has an advanced security system that makes the platform quite secure. The platform has a vast pool of developers who continually contribute to its upgrade, maintenance, and upkeep. The web content management system is built with a robust security architecture that is not easily penetrable and not vulnerable to website attacks like DOS ( Denial of service). Drupal is considered the most secure open-source platform when compared to Joomla and WordPress. Statistical comparisons as measured by CVE ( Common vulnerabilities and exposure systems) proved this.

Drupal employs user access control to ensure that random bots cannot access your site. With its data encryption model, your website data is preserved and secure from vulnerabilities. The platform has consistently delivered for over 15 years and has strong standards for its code review process.

Scalable Performance

Nothing is as scary as a website that breaks under a sudden surge of website visitors. Drupal prides itself as a stable platform for building websites that have a large influx of visitors. For example, big organizations like BBC, NBC, GRAMMY AWARDS. Its web content management system is built to withstand sudden surges in traffic.

The scalable performance of this web content management system is enabled by its functionality which is created to work with a modern CDN (Content delivery network) to ensured load balancing when under pressure. Because of this capability, sites built with Drupal render effectively and loads fast whether on mobile or desktop.

Multilingual capability

Drupal has a multilingual capability that allows the system to detect assumed language preference and then translate the entire website into the language. Its modules are designed to enable you to reach intentional audiences in their localized languages hence creating a diverse database of users for your website. It also accommodates languages that deploy right to left translation e.g Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi.

Content as a service model

Drupal web content management systems use the content as a service model to manage and organize content into formats that are easily accessible to the customer. It is able to decouple content creation from site management. this makes it easy for the user to create and arrange content in different formats, customize views for different users. Content can be managed from one source and deployed to many sites.

Personalization

Drupal provides personalization capabilities that make content marketing a breeze. It has geo-location capability, browser history retention option, and user action capability. This enables you to segment users, build profiles and ensure user satisfaction through content service that matches their needs. With Drupal, omnichannel marketing will work excellently because it will maximize its personalization feature to ensure that customers on different marketing channels get their preferred service.

Versatility

Drupal serves different industries and sectors. Its versatility means that no matter what industry you want to build a website in, it has different extendable capabilities that will suit your needs. Some of the industries it serves include retail, eCommerce, health, fintech, government, education, nonprofits, etc.

4. Magento

Picture source: Magento.com

Magento is a web content management system that is built with the capability of enabling you to build an ecommerce store that displays products, accept payment, products, process orders and do inventory management. There are two types.

  1. Magento Open source: This part remains free and can be downloaded and customized to suit your needs. Ut does not have a lot of features found in the premium one.
  2. Magento Commerce now Adobe commerce: This is the premium version of Magento has a lot of premium features, including cloud hosting, PCI compliance. It is basically for big businesses and its price starts from $1600 per month.

Features of Magento

Here are some of the features that make Magneto a unique content management system.

Drag and drop feature

Magento uses a drag and drop feature for its page builder, this reduces the need for any technical ability to be able to use it to build an ecommerce site. This capability enables content staging and product accessibility. With the seamless page-building capability, you can create product segmentation and personalization, product recommendation feature, inventory management, and order fulfillment.

Multichannel shopping experience

Magento provides a seamless multichannel shopping experience for its users. It utilizes robust web applications that render well both on mobile and desktop screens. Its responsive theme designs ensure that customers get a well navigable interface on any device. It also offers an integrated option for both B2B and B2C marketing. It provides an Amazon sales channel for users who want to integrate with their online store on Amazon. Finally, it enables a multi-store capability that ensures that users can deploy a global solution to their customers from one source.

Operation capability

Magento offers extensive extensions that allow you to add different user capabilities to your eCommerce store. Some of them include multiple payment platforms, customer ratings, etc. All can be found in the extensions marketplace. Another capability that Magento offers is the scalability of your store due to cloud-based storage systems powered by AWS (Amazon Web Services). This ensures that when there are spikes in traffic to your ecommerce store, the store can withstand it seamlessly.

Security

Magento uses various applications in its content management system to provide security for your ecommerce store. It enforces HTTPS for all pages on the website. It also deploys Content Delivery Network (CDN) to eliminate unnecessary lags when loading the website. It provides protection against DOS attacks and also uses a Web application firewall. The security of data is prominent for most eCommerce stores. Having an eCommerce store that takes security seriously should be paramount for you as an eCommerce seller. Magento deploys a read-only file system that prevents hackers from injecting malicious Malware into the PHP or JavaScript used in building the content management system.

ERP Integration

For big businesses that use enterprise resource planning (ERP), Magento provides a scalable solution that allows it to be integrated with customer’s ERP. This enables seamless reconciliation of customer data, customers profile building, order fulfillment, and real-time data that reduce customer support calls. Furthermore, ERP integration reduces cost and improves efficiency across all channels.

Magento solution partners provide you with knowledgeable solutions providers that guide and help you to integrate your ERP with Magento easily. They have knowledgeable solution partners in almost all popular ERP platform areas, like Sage, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor etc. The APIs provided are well suited to these platforms. They also offer off-the-shelf connectors for most ERPs in their marketplace.

5. Squarespace

Picture source: Squarespace.com

Squarespace is a web content management system that is used for building websites, blogs, eCommerce, and other types of personalized websites. Squarespace — unlike most CMS mentioned above —  is not free. You can get a 14-day trial, and after that, you have to choose a price plan that you want to use.

Features of Squarespace Content Management System

Squarespace is used mainly by non-techy persons. It makes building a website simple because of its well-customized templates that come in different industries and styles. Here is a full list of Squarespace’s features.

Drag and drop

The drag and drop feature makes it easy to create the type of website that you really need without doing much. This feature uses the template-switching modules to enable you easily change the design. It also offers modern templates that deliver well-designed websites that are user-friendly.

Analytics

Squarespace offers good analytic software that enables you to analyze the data that your site generates. This feature comes naturally with your web content management system unlike in WordPress where you have to add that extension. Some of the analytic data you will see include traffic source, location of traffic, sales data, trends with in-depth insights.

Simplicity

The ability to create content, edit, and publish it is quite simple in Squarespace. It has the block feature that allows you to create content in block format, a quality found in WordPress Gutenberg. This capability makes editing easier as you can delete blocks of content without having to use backspace. Blocks also allow you to add multiple media formats.

Extensions

Squarespace has a library of extensions that enables you to add other capabilities to your website. This makes it easily customizable and very easy to use. Some of the extensions include accounting capacity, payment gateways, social media, order fulfillment, and shipping.

SEO

Squarespace has some SEO capability but it is not robust enough to help you easily rank on Google. Unlike WordPress, the Squarespace SEO tool is minimal and limited.

6. Wix

Image source: Wix.com

Wix is a content management system that was built to give everyday people the opportunity to build a website with minimal skills. Wix content management system comes with prebuilt templates that you can deploy with just one click of the button. Wix website has ADI ( Advanced Design Intelligence) which can build a website for you in a few clicks. Wix powers 1.6% of all websites, with  2.6% domination of web content management system.

Features of the Wix Platform

Wix is well known for being a platform that is user-friendly and easy to manage. Here are some of Wix’s key features.

Simplicity

One of the best features of Wix is the simplicity and ease of use. Its interface is simple to master and a new user can use it to build a website within an hour. The availability of hundreds of templates makes using Wix a child’s play. The use of ADI even makes it easier. Just answer a few questions, click design, and you have a complete website done for you.

Modern designed templates

One of the best things that users of Wix credit it with is the modern designed templates that are available for use. There are over 800 templates for use, so you can find designs for any industry you wish to build your website in. Wix has a repository of free pictures that you can use in your designs and the pictures are attribution-free.  Users of Wix love it for the ability to produce a clean website within hours that is modern and can be published fast.

ECommerce features

Wix provides an advanced and intuitive eCommerce platform. The eCommerce templates have live chat, payment system, and order fulfillment extensions. Using Wix makes selling online easy because it is usually a one-touch connection to import any capability you will need to run your store.

Unlimited trial

With Wix content management system you can create and host a free website if you are not bothered about a domain name or receiving payments from your website. You are only required to pay if you want to connect your domain name or receive payment.

SEO Optimization

When you build your website with Wix, it has an automated SEO plan which guides you so that your website will be search engine friendly. With Wix, you do not have to wonder what steps to follow to make your website discovered. It provides you with a guide that keeps getting ticked until you complete all the steps needed. Wix also uses its extension to connect to Google analytics and provides you with powerful analytical tools.

ADI Feature

Unlike other content management platforms, the WixADI can build a done-for-you website with just a few clicks. The only thing you need to do is to add your domain name and company credentials to your website and you are done. With Wix ADI, those who need an instant website can have cut down the weeks it takes to design and build a business website.

Advanced business tools

Wix has an integrated email platform that makes contacting your customers by emails easy. It also has advanced business tools that take care of your business operational needs, which includes accounting, customer relationship, etc. With Wix, you can set up automated workflows that cut down hands-on work.

7. Shopify

Image source: Shopify.com

Shopify was developed as an eCommerce platform to help small businesses display their products, sell them, receive payment, and fulfill orders. It was later that they began to add content management system capabilities. Shopify remains the most popular ecommerce platform because of the ease of creating online stores. Shopify dominates 3% of the CMS market about powers about one million sites.

Design

Shopify has a simple design system that makes creating your first eCommerce shop quite easy. It has premade templates that you can use and then customize to suit your brand and products. While the templates are usually free, you also have paid templates that define the look and feel of your shop. The menu navigation tab was redeveloped to enable designers to drag and drop its design to improve navigation.

Great eCommerce capability

Shopify was built clearly for eCommerce. It has powerful capabilities that enable you to create products, offer variations of product prices, accept payment through multiple payment channels, get order fulfillment, and take care of shipping. It also integrates with other capabilities like accounting, financials, operations, and logistics. It has powerful analytical tools that help you to create social media campaigns that benefit your business. Shopify is compatible with major social media platforms and ad accounts and will work with the most popular email marketing software.

CMS interface

The Shopify Website CMS interface is uncluttered and simple to navigate. It provides prompts that let you know what you should be working on per time to complete your site build. Its Apps store is huge and can accommodate all types of functionalities in your eCommerce store.

PCI compliance

When you have an online store, security is utmost in your mind. Shopify has taken the time to get the certified level 1 PCI compliant. With PCI compliance, the website CMS has to meet these standards:

  • Maintain a secure network.
  • Secure cardholder data.
  • Implement strong access control measures.
  • Regularly monitor and test networks.
  • Maintain vulnerability management program.
  • Maintain an information security policy.

With the PCI certificate in place, it is easy to see why thousands trust the platform and have made it the online store of the moment.

Other web content management platforms include TYP03, Blogger, Bigcommerce, Weebly, etc.,  but the ones above are those that dominate the CMS market.

Content Management System Ratings Comparison

Content management systems are built to serve different purposes and have benefits and shortcomings in various areas.  To give you a trusted view of what users voted as the best of each system, we will turn to an online platform that collects reviews from verified users who are allowed to rate these content management systems.

Ratings from TrustRaduis

WordPress

Overall Rating by Users

 Feature-Based Rating

 Rating summary

Comparing WordPress With Joomla

Users of WordPress score it high on the following metrics: web content management, online training, support, reliability, and scalability. This means that if you value the ability to scale your website when using it, you should consider WordPress. It will handle sudden spikes in traffic without shutting down.

Joomla

Feature rating for Joomla

Overall Rating for Joomla

Rating of Joomla Compared to Drupal

Joomla excels in security, scalability, support, and reliability. However, it has a low score on performance, online training, and web content creation. Given that CMS’s role is to help you create content, Joomla may not be the best option if you are looking for an alternative to WordPress. However, if you value the fact that it has more security than WordPress, you may want to consider it. Joomla beats Drupal in overall rating but not when it comes to security. If the security of your website is the highest need on your list of reasons to choose a CMS, the best CMS to use is Drupal.

Drupal

Feature Rating

Overall Rating

Drupal packs a punch when it comes to the security of its web content management system. It has the highest ratings in security, platform infrastructure, usability, and performance. If you really value the metrics mentioned, you may want to hire an expert website builder when you want to build your website. Another of the lowest score is in support. That may be a red flag if you need to maintain your website by yourself. If, however, you have a maintenance team you may not really need to bother.

Drupal is a web CMS that is built to be used by larger organizations. It is not a web CMS for solopreneurs or small business people that lack the financial capacity and technical ability to use it.

Magento Commerce Ratings

Overall Rating of Magento

Magento Compared to Shopify

Magento commerce as an ecommerce platform does not have some of the metrics as found on other Web CMS. For example, there is no rating for web content management and web content creation.

Its highest score is in reliability and availability, followed closely by performance a real need for a platform that needs to keep its platform working all round the clock for its users. It scores well on support, online training, and implementation. Its lowest score is for the online shopping cart and eCommerce marketing features, which could be a concern since it is an eCommerce CMS.

Magento is built for medium sized businesses that have lots of resources to manage and extend it to create the beautiful ecommerce shop front. If you are a small business, Magento commerce is not for you.

 

Shopify Ratings

Overall Rating for Shopify

Pricing Details

Shopify beats the pack when it comes to eCommerce shopfronts, implementation, usability, availability, online support, and online training. This web CMS is quite popular for a reason. It is an easy DIY online store creator that a non-techy person can use to build an eCommerce site, and this shows in the high rating score in the online storefront and online shopping cart.  Shopify caters to both Solopreneurs and medium-scale businesses as shown in their pricing chart.

Wix Ratings

Wix feature ratings

Overall Rating for Wix

Pricing Details

 

Wix Compared to Squarespace

Wix web CMS scores quite high in reliability & availability, performance, scalability, and usability. We also see that its security is good and the infrastructure quite commendable. Wix is a good platform for beginners who want to put together a website for their start-ups. It requires no updates and is quite friendly to use. Some users struggle with its drag-and- drop user interface, but if you are looking to have a simple website to showcase your business online with minimal stress, Wix is great.

Squarespace Ratings

Overall Ratings for Squarespace

Squarespace squares up when it comes to web content creation, usability, and support. It is still a relatively new CMS that is being adopted. While we have fewer ratings for it, it is good to know that the users consider the likelihood to renew to be high.

Disclaimer: All pictures used here were sourced from TrustRaduis.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Content CMS

1. Use

Before you choose a web content management system to build your website you need to first decide what you want to use it for.  You might just want to have an online presence that helps your customers know where you are located and what your business is all about. This means that your website is not carrying sensitive information neither are you collecting payments nor processing one with it. You may go with a simple CMS that is easy to maintain and does not cost much.

If your whole business is domiciled in your website, for example, eCommerce shop owners, bloggers, etc whose business resides online, the type of content management you use to build your website is important. It is necessary to define what metrics are most crucial to your business before you choose a platform.

2. Cost

Building and maintaining a website costs money,  you should choose a CMS that your business effortlessly afford. This is important because the cost of using a web CMS is a recurring expense that continues to go on as long as that website is online. Sustaining the cost of acquisition is a major factor you should consider before choosing a web CMS to use.

3. Maintenance

Once you have a website or ecommerce shop, it requires maintenance. When choosing a web CMS consider how you want to maintain it and know if you can afford the cost of maintenance. if you do not want to be bothered with maintaining your website, you can outsource it or choose a CMS that requires minimal maintenance.

A web content management system determines the type of website that you build online, your web presence is the first impression people have of your business online hence will determine their continued patronage. When choosing a web content management system for your business, choose the one that gives you the best type of user capability and gives your business every opportunity to impress and convert your website visitors to loyal customers.

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