TOP CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

There are dozens of great CMSs out there. Regardless of what type of site you’re building, there’s probably one perfectly-suited to it.The problem is that most designers and developers don’t want to spend time learning a bunch of different CMSs. They want to learn one, or maybe two, and use those for all of their sites. That means they need something that’s both flexible and powerful.The CMSs below fit that bill pretty well. Some have practically become household names (in designer households, at least), while others are a bit more obscure.The first three, WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal, are pretty unarguably the best CMSs out there. The next nine are a bit more subjective, but have a good combination of support, features, and ease-of-use.Try them out, and decide for yourself which one best fits your needs and the needs of your clients.

WORDPRESS

Free, PHP-based
A couple years ago, it was widely debated whether WordPress should really be considered a CMS considering its roots as a blogging platform. That debate has pretty much fallen by the wayside at this point, as WordPress now powers plenty of non-blog websites, including everything from simple multi-page brochure style sites right up to full-fledged social networks (using plugins like BuddyPress).There are thousands of themes available for WordPress, as well as thousands of plugins and widgets to extend its functionality. WordPress also has an incredibly active community surrounding it, meaning it’s easy to find tutorials or information about nearly every aspect of developing for WP.Through plugins and custom themes, you can turn WP into a social network, forum, e-commerce site, and much, much more. There’s also built-in functionality for creating blog networks or other multi-blog installations from a single core installation. WordPress.com offers a hosted, less-versatile version of WordPress, though the basic functionality is all there.Strengths

  • Huge developer community with plenty of documentation and tutorials available
  • Free and paid plugins and specialized themes make it possible to create virtually any kind of site with WordPress
  • User-friendly dashboard for managing content

Weaknesses

  • Can be overkill for basic sites
  • A standard installation can have a lot of security issues, and is very vulnerable to attack without additional security measures
  • No official support outside of user forums, where you may or may not get an official response

 

JOOMLA!

Free, PHP-based

Joomla! is used by some very prominent companies as the CMS for their websites, including MTV, Harvard University, and IHOP. It’s suitable for back-end networks, too, and is used by Citibank for just that purpose. Joomla! has been used for everything from inventory control systems to reservation systems, to complex business directories, in addition to normal websites.

Joomla! has a long development history and a very active developer community (with over 200,000 users and contributors), so finding information and tutorials is easy. There are also tons of plugins and add-ons for Joomla!, so extending Joomla!’s functionality doesn’t necessarily require any custom coding.

While there are plenty of themes out there for Joomla!, the quality for many doesn’t compare to what’s available for WordPress. There are some great themes, available, though, if you’re willing to look for them.

Strengths

  • User authentication can be done with OpenID, Google, and LDAP, among others
  • More than 7000 extensions
  • Very active user community and tons of documentation available

Weaknesses

  • Back-end isn’t as user-friendly as some CMSs, though it’s still very usable
  • Lack of high-quality themes when compared to some other CMSs
  • Can be overkill for simple sites

 

DRUPAL

Free, PHP-based

Drupal is another very popular CMS, used by a number of high-profile companies including the New York Observer, Popular Science, MIT, Sony Music, Fast Company, and others. It includes a bunch of features for building internal and external sites, and a ton of tools for organizing your content.

Drupal has a very active community, with a number of IRC channels, forums, and even face-to-face Drupal events. There’s also community-generated documentation that is constantly being updated and improved. This documentation includes all you need to know about installation, building sites and modules, designing themes, and more.

There are more than 6,000 add-ons (“modules”) available for Drupal, making it easy to extend Drupal’s functionality to do just about anything you want. This means you can spend your time focusing on design and content, rather than having to code a bunch of complicated features.

Strengths

  • Robust community support, including IRC channels and face-to-face meetups
  • More than 6,000 modules, making Drupal highly extensible
  • A large number of companies offering commercial support for Drupal

Weaknesses

  • Can be overkill for simple sites
  • A lack of really high-quality free and commercial themes (there are some, but not nearly as many as there are for some CMSs)
  • Theming system is fairly complicated

 

EXPRESSIONENGINE

$99.95 to $299.95 depending on license, PHP-based

ExpressionEngine is an interested hybrid of commercial and open-source software. The base code for the ExpressionEngine core is built on CodeIgniter, which is their own open-source PHP framework. But the commercial aspect of the CMS means that there’s committed developers and technical support people focused solely on EE.

There are a ton of great websites built on ExpressionEngine, and they’ve set up a showcase site, Show-EE, specifically to share them. Some sites built on EE include A|X Life, the Canon Ixus site, and LivingSocial Adventures.

ExpressionEngine doesn’t have as many add-ons and plugins as many other CMSs, with only 22 add-on modules and a little over 100 official plugins. But, the plugins and add-ons they have are some of the most likely to be used, and include a wiki, discussion forum, member manager, mailing list, e-commerce, statistics, and more. There are also community plugins, if you can’t find what you need in the official plugins. The core feature set of EE is impressive, too.

Strengths

  • Commercial support
  • Focus on security, with no major security breaches ever
  • No restrictions on how a site can be designed

Weaknesses

  • Cost is high, especially for commercial sites
  • Can be overkill for simple or smaller sites
  • No interactive demo to try it out before you purchase

 

TEXTPATTERN

Free, PHP-based

TextPattern is probably one of the more overlooked CMSs out there. TextPattern is a highly flexible CMS, though, that’s easy to use out of the box and easy to customize by designers and developers. It uses a tagging system to make content retrieval and display easily controllable. TextPattern uses Textile to quickly convert plain text to valid XHTML in your articles and content, which makes it very user-friendly for less technical users.

TextPattern doesn’t have the huge variety of themes or templates available for WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla!, with only a little over 120 front-end themes readily available. They also offer back-end admin themes, for customizing the user experience for content creators.

There are nearly 700 plugins for TextPattern, and another 50+ mods. Plugin categories include image galleries, integrations, e-commerce, custom fields, archives, articles, admin features, navigation, and more. The mods and plugins available greatly increase the functionality of TextPattern and can make it a much more powerful CMS.

Strengths

  • Really easy to use interface
  • Well suited for sites of all sizes
  • Really great documentation, including a full online manual

Weaknesses

  • Smaller community
  • Fewer plugins than the more popular CMSs
  • Relatively few high-quality templates available

 

CONTAO (FORMERLY TYPOLIGHT)

Free, PHP-based

Contao has a user interface that incorporate Ajax and other Web 2.0 features to improve usability. It includes advanced editing features for content, including editing multiple records at once or rolling back to prior versions of content.

It also includes a number of common built-in modules. The calendar module supports multiple calendars, all-day and multi-day events, open-ended events, and syndication via RSS or Atom. The built-in newsletter module supports double opt-in emails in either HTML or plain text. You can import recipients from a CSV file, and even personalize newsletters being sent. The build-tin news/blog module includes support for multiple categories, archives, featured posts, comments, and RSS or Atom syndication. Tons of additional modules are also available, to further extend Contao’s functionality.

There are a few premium theme marketplace for Contao, though there appear to be even fewer free themes available. This isn’t really an issue for designers who plan to create all their sites from scratch (and Contao includes a built-in CSS framework to make this easier).

Strengths

  • No restrictions on how you can design a site
  • Not much learning curve for content editors and authors
  • Good built-in modules

Weaknesses

  • Hardly any themes available, high-quality or not
  • Back-end is sluggish and not particularly well-thought-out
  • Because of back-end setup, it’s probably better-suited to smaller sites without dozens or hundreds of pages

 

SILVERSTRIPE

Free, PHP-based

SilverStripe is an open source CMS that is well-suited for developers and designers who are comfortable with code. They have recipes and tutorials for beginning developers, and plenty of modules for things like blogs, forms, and forums. Code is isolated in Sapphire, so designers can use whatever HTML and CSS they want to style their sites. It also supports multiple page templates to support different needs.

SilverStripe also has powerful content authoring tools. You can set up your own content approval process, as well as publish or unpublish content on specific dates, and have differing permissions levels for different parts of the site. That can be very useful if you have multiple editors or authors who only need access to a specific part of the site.

SilverStripe has been downloaded over 350,000 times and there is a robust development community. SilverStripe LTD. manages the development of the code, so there’s always someone you can call on if you need help. At the same time, though, they have partners in over 30 countries, meaning you’re not locked into a single vendor like you are with many enterprise-level and commercial CMSs.

Strengths

  • Basic functions in the back-end are easy to perform
  • Designers are free to use HTML and CSS however they want to design their site
  • Developed on open standards, so it plays well with others

Weaknesses

  • Not everything is intuitive in the back-end, which increases the learning curve
  • Only a little over 150 extensions/modules
  • Not many high-quality themes available

 

UMBRACO

Free, .NET-based

Umbraco gives designers full control over design aspects, and focuses on web-standards and a completely open template system. There are starter kits and skins available to make it faster to get started. It’s also easy to integrate Flash and Silverlight content into your Umbraco-based site. A number of high-profile sites are built on Umbraco, including the Heinz and ABBA sites.

On the content-creation side, Umbraco makes it easy to manage content by using a tree-based view of your site. It allows for user-defined presentation of information about your content, so you only see what you need to. It supports versioning, scheduled publishing, and previews. One advantage Umbraco has over many other CMSs is that it works well with content created in Microsoft Word, which can be a huge advantage to users who are used to dealing with Office products. (How many times have clients sent you documents with detailed Word formatting that they expected you to recreate perfectly?)

Umbraco has support for developers and designers to customize the back end with custom applications. It has an open API so that developers can easily access every aspect of Umbraco that can be accessed via the back-end. This opens up a ton of custom application options for developers.

Strengths

  • Free and paid tutorials and support
  • Powerful and flexible for both websites and intranets
  • An open API

Weaknesses

  • Primary add-ons are paid
  • No demo available to try before you download
  • Not really any prebuilt themes available for the front-end

 

CONCRETE5

Free, PHP-based

concrete5 is not only a powerful CMS, but can also be used as a framework for developing web apps. Designing sites is easy, and can be done at a variety of levels. You can start with a theme and then override styles without touching the code. Or you can code your own themes with HTML and CSS. If you’re comfortable with PHP, you can use custom templates that can override the way any block looks.

One advantage concrete5 has over some other CMSs is the in-context editing. They’ve attempted to replicate the functionality of a word processor, while also making it simple to edit pages as you view them. It makes it very user-friendly for non-technical users, who may be the ones managing the site’s content.

According to the 2010 Open Source CMS Market Share Report, concrete5’s developer community is the fastest growing among any open source CMS. They have a very active community, with how-tos geared toward designers, add-ons and themes with actual support, and even support ticketing if you run into an issue that can’t be solved on the forums. The community and support surrounding concrete5 make it a very appealing CMS for users at the beginning and intermediate levels.

Strengths

  • Easy to convert a basic HTML site to a concrete5 site in minutes
  • Active and growing developer community
  • Offer business-class hosting that includes support

Weaknesses

  • Many useful and basic plugins are quite costly
  • Almost all of the best themes are paid
  • Paid support is expensive if you don’t host with them ($125 and up)

 

CUSHYCMS

Free – $28/month depending on feature set, hosted

CushyCMS is the only hosted CMS on this list. There’s a limited-feature free version that includes an unlimited number of sites, pages, and editors, but doesn’t let you use your own logo or your own domain name for the admin panel, or customize the admin experience. If you don’t care about your own branding in the admin panel, it may work for your business. The paid version, which is $28/month, has many more features, including branding support.

The main thing that sets CushyCMS apart from most others is that it’s specifically meant to make it easy for your clients to edit their own content. You design the website however you want, and then add it to the CushyCMS account. From there you can define which parts are editable and give your clients access.

Because of the nature of CushyCMS, there are no plugins or pre-defined themes. But for designers who might not be used to working with a CMS, or who design a lot of basic sites that don’t really need a full-featured CMS, but do need to be editable by their clients, CushyCMS is a great option.

Strengths

  • Incredibly easy for content managers to edit their content
  • Free plan is suitable for many users
  • Very easy and quick to get started

Weaknesses

  • Paid plan could be pricey if you’re not using it for multiple sites
  • Email support only available for the paid version
  • Too basic for many types of sites or particularly large sites

 

Sitecore

Depending on feature set, .NET-based

Sitecore – WEB CONTENT MANAGEMENT. Content is central to the customer experience. Deliver a unique web experience for every customer with Sitecore web content management.

Shape every experience

The Sitecore web CMS helps you manage your content for each and every experience your customers enjoy. Customize what content you want and the system will take care of how it’s displayed.

Focus on creating great content

The key to Sitecore’s award-winning user interface for marketers is the decoupling of presentation from content – the essence of web CMS. This makes it effortless to configure great presentation.

The Sitecore® Web Experience Manager™

Take your web CMS to greater heights (and scale) with Sitecore’s rich, fully integrated platform

READ THE BROCHURE

Manage multilingual sites

Site editors can work in their native language, and can create content in any language, ensuring a consistent global message. Easily integrate with language translation services. Generate outstanding SEO in all languages to ensure your site is relevant and discoverable wherever you do business.

Multisite support

For customers with thousands of sites, such as franchisors or affiliate networks, Sitecore provides multisite support and content sharing across all of them, delivering a consistent customer experience on every property.

Forms that convert

Assemble forms without programming. Every form element is completely customizable for an optimal user experience, and  usability reports show how well they’re performing. Deliver form data right into CRM or ERP systems.

SEO optimization

Predefined vocabularies of search-engine-optimized content and guidance on which keywords to use where (and in what density) make it easy for content creators to use the terms that will get you found fast and drive traffic to your site.

Enterprise control

Easily deploy, manage, integrate, and secure your websites with enterprise-class capabilities designed for supporting even the most demanding organizations. Site control, data integration, granular security capabilities, and flexible deployment models all serve the enterprise.

 

EPiserver

Depending on feature set, .NET-based

EPiserver – WEB CONTENT MANAGEMENT.“With EPiServer, we have a solid platform to stand on and feel we are nicely positioned for a digital future.”

Shape every experience

The Sitecore web CMS helps you manage your content for each and every experience your customers enjoy. Customize what content you want and the system will take care of how it’s displayed.

Focus on creating great content

The key to Sitecore’s award-winning user interface for marketers is the decoupling of presentation from content – the essence of web CMS. This makes it effortless to configure great presentation.

Typo3

Free, PHP-based

What is TYPO3 CMS?

  • Open Source Enterprise CMS
  • Scalable Web Application Framework
  • Large, active global community
  • User friendly with unlimited extendability
  • Integrated Development and Editing Workflows

More benefits

TYPO3 Family

TYPO3 Flow is a web application platform enabling the creation of excellent web solutions with fast results and a reliable foundation.

TYPO3 Neos is based on TYPO3 Flow and its editing interface lets you focus on your task for a revolutionary editing experience. More Information

Magento

Magento

Magento

Magento is a popular open-source ecommerce solution that is now owned by eBay. Like WordPress, there are many themes available to choose from (including many great responsive themes). Magento implements “modules” which offer inherently similar usability features to WordPress plugins in that the user is to access a library of plugins. Since Magento is open-source – many different developers have access to the code and can build and improve upon plugins.

Upon installation, Magento is NOT inherently SEO-friendly. It is necessary to comb through the settings and make sure that various settings that relate to managing URL rewrites, setting product meta tags, and product propagation are appropriately designated, or you will run into trouble down the road. There are many resources online that offer SEO best practice tips for Magento, including on Magento’s own support site, as well as from Yoast.

Shopify

shopify

shopify

Nearly a decade ago we started an online store to sell snowboard equipment directly to those who loved the sport as much as us.

We could have listed our products on a number of marketplaces, but we wanted to own our brand and build relationships with our customers, along with selling our goods. Such a tool didn’t exist, so we built it for ourselves. We soon realized a number of other stores were in need of a hassle-free platform to build their retail business, and Shopify was born.

We focus on making commerce better for everyone, so businesses can focus on what they do best: building and selling their products. Today, merchants use our platform to manage every aspect of their business — from products to orders to customers, selling online, in retail stores, and on the go.

So, to all of you out there who think your CMS is the best, I hate to break your heart but it isn’t. Nobody has the best CMS because there is not best CMS nor will there ever be.

So, what content management systems should you consider trying instead of these three? Here are some alternatives. Note that if your CMS is not listed, it’s not a slight, I have chosen a few example solutions off the top of my head to mention. The position in this list is based on my opinion based on experience. Hopefully you find them helpful.

Which CMS do you use? Since the “best” CMSs are very subjective, is there one you think should have been included instead of one of the above? Let us know in the comments!

Sourcehttp://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/10/top-10-content-management-systems/

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