Last Updated: 2017-Apr-26
Many website content management solutions have evolved into robust, feature-rich and affordable online publishing systems. But they are not all the same, in fact, many aren't even playing in the same game. Choosing the right CMS by weighing in on your unique business requirements and making sure the solution will do what you want today as well as what you might want tomorrow.
As similar as the end product may be there is usually some kind of trade-offs to picking any one solution, they are worth investigating. Below you find a listing of some of the more popular systems along with some of their pros and cons.
ExpressionEngine is a commercially available solution with a fantastic reputation for security, ease of use, flexibility. What you pay in licensing is easily absorbed by a decrease in development costs which means it is easily competitive with the many free software solutions such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
ExpressionEngine is perfect for simple small businesses or a complex enterprise level organisation. It can serve both purposes well. And a good developer can build in optimised simplicity and easy to follow instructions at the form field level.
WordPress has become a very popular website content solution, in fact, it represents about half of all the websites out there. It's so simple to install, that most website hosting companies offer and install it for you, for free - all you have to do is pick a template (in most cases for a cost), come up with the content, publish it and you’re done. WordPress is a pretty fantastic solution for many small businesses, it’s relatively easy to use, and you don’t have to be a fluent website coder to get it up and running.
Customization, however, is another issue, WordPress doesn’t always give you exactly what you want, which I would liken to trying to fit a full-sized fridge into a small compact car, it's doable but it potentially diminishes the integrity of the car. Customization requires PHP back-engineering that is awkward, sometimes coding intense and potentially costly.
Knowing whether WordPress is right for you really, depends on what you want regarding implementation speed and plugin requirements. In the long run, it’s probably worth running it by someone who knows its limitations before you pounce on it as a solution.
Joomla is another free open-source software platform. You can access hundreds of extensions, plugins, and modules to get the exact look you want for your website. It’s somewhat more complicated than WordPress, customization will require a developer to manage its deep levels, and it requires regular upkeep that may be beyond the capabilities of a casual coder.
Drupal was made for PHP developers, it is a free open source platform that is developer friendly. The script has a very specific coding environment that could be described as a programmer's platform than a simple CMS script.
The success of your CMS website depends on a lot of variables. Unless you have a technical staff to support it, you want a stable, secure solution that simply manages the content, not the CMS process itself. There is always some kind of a trade off from one CMS system to anther, which is to be expected, all developers and users have unique needs that may be best fulfilled by a specific solution.
I've used all four content systems above, and I've had clients that have abandoned one system for another, because of some of the issues listed as cons above. Whether you are starting a new site, or upgrading an old one, it's worth talking to an expert first. You want to make sure the solution you choose, will actually meet your requirements.
Unless you need a complicated app or process development, you may want to stay clear of CMS solutions like Joomla and Drupal, they may be considerably more than you need. Wordpress will get you up and be running in almost no time at all, but customization requirements could be cost-prohibitive. ExpressionEngine site development will take a little longer to implement, but it's basically free of the CMS constraints and allows for total design and development freedom.