Whether you are developing a standard blog, corporate website, e-commerce store or just making your presence known on the Web, the days of hand-coding HTML-based pages and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) have passed. To setup a website, you will need to purchase a domain name, set up web hosting and install a content management system (CMS) to the server. Within minutes, you can have a simple website that can display your content. Of course, your new website can be used a number of ways from displaying images, to your latest insights on your special niche, to operating a technical support page or advertising services. Due to their flexibility at being able to manage all of these tasks, the use of CMS platforms will only get bigger.
There are over 1200 content management systems out there. Three of the biggest CMS platforms for building websites are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal. We’ll also take a look at Magento, an e-commerce CMS. These CMS offer the versatility needed to appeal to a range of requirements. The biggest advantage of these four CMS platforms is their ease of use. A newcomer to creating pages can have a basic website created in only a few minutes.
What began as a blogging platform in 2003, has become one of the most popular and accessible CMS platforms available. The biggest difference between WordPress and other content management systems is that the software is extremely easy to use. No special technical or programming skills are required to have a basic website up and running in a short period of time. To use WordPress, it is as simple as installing it to the database and configuring the options you want. The other greatest advantages of WordPress are the quick installation procedure and the colossal user and developer backing resulting in an endless number of plug-ins (adding functionality), themes (designs) and other enhancements for the platform. In addition to these diverse aspects of the CMS, WordPress boasts a huge theme library, as well as simple CSS and PHP file editing.
Additionally, the visual editor is a helpful feature that allows you to create and edit as you publish by pressing a few buttons and viewing the results instantly. WordPress also has a flexible framework that has an endless amount of customizations. “For a beginner, this is probably the most suitable platform to build a site.” Well-known corporations such as CNN, Forbes and Sony use the WordPress platform. The WordPress community is known worldwide for its community of fellow users. It is clear why WordPress is the CMS of choice for many websites from personal blogs to ecommerce websites and everything in-between. Recently, Entrepreneur.com published an article discussing the “25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress” thus creating more buzz for the platform.
Joomla currently runs millions of websites around the world due to its extremely customizable GUI, which is suitable for all developer needs. If operating a website that is heavy on content, the Joomla platform can easily manage it. The administrator section of the software is easy-to-use and contains numerous options including styles and templates, which allows for the addition of feeds, menu management tools and content blocks.
Joomla supports PHP and MySQL to ensure all database preferences are met. In addition, you have the ability to clean up the URL’s, advertising management, contract management, scheduling, hosting services, image resizing and meta data customization. For those looking to run an ecommerce site Joomla has a number of plug-ins and add-ons that can improve the consumer experience. This variety of options is the reason why Joomla is a popular choice for businesses.
Similar to WordPress and Joomla, Drupal offers many common tools and can be scaled to accommodate personal blogs and enterprise mega-sites. Thousands of modules exist that can be integrated to improve user and developer functionality. For instance, Drupal gives you complete control over the permalink. Also, there is a global redirect module that provides a 301 redirect from the internal Drupal URL to a custom URL.
Also, user management is simple to use within the platform. Originally designed as a community-based website offering users custom access levels, it has taken this functionality and expanded to blogs and forums. One unique feature of the platform is the content construction kit, which provides flexibility when creating a content page. You simply create the categories and notify Drupal on how they should be displayed. The White House website is built on the Drupal platform.
Magento is another open source CMS, but one that is created specifically for ecommerce sites. Although not as well known as the previously mentioned systems, it is just as powerful. Magento utilizes a web template system, which creates a variety of similar-looking pages followed by customization. When developing a site, the platform provides a customizable basic theme, which can be changed by editing the PHP, HTML and CSS. However, additional user-generated themes are available for download and installation to improve functionality and aesthetic appeal.
Magento also offers plug-ins which extends the standard functionality. These plug-ins can be installed by uploading them to the server or applying the Extension Key using the Magento Connect Manager. Furthermore, the software allows for the integration of several domain names into a single control panel. This allows you to manage several storefronts simultaneous from a single administrative panel.
Which one to chose?
WordPress ease of installation, ease of use, flexibility in design and functionality, and a truly awesome community put it as the CMS of choice.