What Content Management System (CMS) Should You Use?
Content Management System (CMS) is a product installed on a web server
that allows managing pages, blogs and articles online, without storing them
on a desktop computer and uploading each time when you need to make changes.
You simply login to your website, write or modify content, and your website
is instantly updated, unless you set a specific schedule for your content to
be visible to website visitors. CMS products also allow multiple
administrators or editors to maintain online content without conflicting
with each other. And most importantly, CMS products provide separation
between articles and web design, thus allowing you to focus on writing
content and not worry about copying the web design from page to page. CMS
products can also automatically update menus and links between pages based
on the list of articles you create, therefore you don't need to worry about
your website becoming broken when you rename pages.
Many CMS products have
emerged over the last few years and sometimes it is difficult to
choose the right one for your needs. In this article we’re going
to talk about what you need to keep in mind when choosing a CMS. We will cover
a few of the more popular CMS products used today.
Please note that some of the topics, pros and cons provided here are
based on personal opinion and experiences of our staff. Other people may
have a different opinion about CMS products based on their prior experience
and comfort level with specific technologies. Therefore this guide is
provided only as a general overview of popular CMS choices for those
unfamiliar with CMS products or concepts.
There are 5 questions that you really need to keep in mind when
choosing a CMS for your site.
#1 Does the CMS match your
Your choice of CMS mostly depends on the kind of website you want
to create. There are numerous types of websites:
company, commercial, entertainment, news, blogs, forums, personal
and educational, etc. Hybrid websites have also gained
popularity. For example, a business website might have a
dual purpose; one to promote its product as an e-commerce site,
and another purpose to serve as an industry blog, providing
additional useful information, such as analyst reviews, reports,
Unless you know what you need your site to do, you’re going to
have a hard time selecting the correct CMS. The first thing you
should do is to sit down and list out what you need your website
to do for you and what you might want it to do in the future. Then
compare your list to the features of the CMS and the 3rd party
plug-ins available for it. Who knows, in some cases, you might not
need a CMS at all and be better off with just a static HTML site.
#2 Will it allow for growth and
extensibility as your needs grow?
For this you will need to think ahead and envision what direction
might go in the future regarding functionality. You don’t want to
start with a
CMS that you can’t extend later. So you want to check and see if
plug-ins and add-ons exist that will let you extend the
functionality of the CMS. In fact many people often choose their
CMS just so they can use certain plug-ins.
#3 Is there a Support Community?
This is especially important if you are going with a free CMS
platform and are doing it yourself. There is generally little to
no support on most free products, so there needs to be a strong
community that you can tap into when you need help and
#4 What is the learning curve?
This is very important if you are newbie. If the CMS is too
complicated you might get overwhelmed and never get the site up
and running. A simple CMS that suits your needs, that you can get
up and running quickly, is better than a CMS with advanced
features that you don't need.
#5 How much does it cost?
How much is your budget for your site, or do you even have a
budget? The good news is that there are many popular Free CMS
platforms that will fit most needs, though you might have to spend
a few bucks on a couple of plug-ins, or add-on tools to get the
exact functionality you want.
The CMS Market
There are literally hundreds of CMS out there that do pretty much
anything you can think of and they range in price from free to
thousands of dollars.
In this article I’m going to take a look at the most popular CMS
that are free and supported by Artisteer.
Chart Data Source:w3techs.com
As you can see over 70% of the web still uses no CMS at all, however,
they may use custom developed programs to display content. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS used on the web holding 15.7% of CMS usage, with the others trailing behind.
The advantage of using a popular CMS such as those above is that
there is a plethora of support communities, articles and forums to
go to when you need help trying to figure something out and tons
of plug-ins to add functionality to your site. Obviously the more
popular the CMS is, the larger the community and selection of plug-ins.
A few years back using a CMS was more complicated than it is
today as now most hosting companies have made it very easy to
use the above popular CMS products by offering one-click installs through
their hosting panels that sets up the basic CMS installation for
you, including the database, in about 5 minutes. Then you only need
to install your template, plug-ins, widgets and start adding your
Artisteer also supports all of the above CMS products, therefore no
matter which of the above CMS products you choose, Artisteer can design templates for
your CMS and if you choose to use none at all it can also create
standalone HTML websites as well.
A Closer Look At The Most Popular Website and CMS Platforms
By straight HTML we actually mean a system that does not use an online
CMS but rather comprises of a set of loose HTML pages, often managed with a
desktop software such as Dreamweaver or Artisteer. And for some sites this
may be an acceptable choice, especially if you are just putting up a few static pages.
The market share of websites using straight HTML is continually decreasing
due to the difficulty of maintaining large number of pages.
There is no complex set up beyond
just using a HTML editor and publishing the site to your host via FTP.
Since version 3.0 Artisteer creates simple HTML sites
based on templates that you create. Therefore it’s very easy to create
an HTML website and get it online in literally minutes if
you already have your content ready to go.
The web was based on straight HTML websites when it first
started. CMS products evolved out of the need to make things easier and
allow more flexibility.
Some websites have brochure style sections created in HTML and then have
in another directory using WordPress, sometimes also having a member’s area in
another directory based on Joomla. So Straight HTML can be part of
an entire solution.
If you are using Artisteer you can design a theme that can then be used
on all sections of the sites where you need HTML pages,
WordPress Blog and Joomla Membership section to make things look
smooth and professional.
No CMS to set up
Upload and forget about it until you need to make changes
Less security issues or vulnerabilities than a CMS
Can be much faster to create an HTML site if Artisteer is used, and
faster to display by the web server.
No blog or commenting capability.
Not easy to change the look or layout of the site without Artisteer.
Cannot add content from a web based interface.
Can take much longer to create a site if a manual HTML editor
Without good design tools it’s very difficult to create a
visually appealing HTML site, which requires both a graphics
program and an HTML editor.
Often requires the knowledge of HTML (not required with
Suggested for …
small brochure style sites, affiliate SEO sites, sales letter
style sites or small personal sites with infrequent updates.
This is also a good choice for ‘upload and forget’ sites, if you
do not have the time to update a CMS for security issues.
In Summary …
when you want a static site without any security holes, or to
merge sections of sites together, straight HTML is a good choice
and a fast one if using Artisteer.
WordPress started out as a blogging platform but has become a
powerful CMS in its own right in the latest versions. You can even
create sites that don’t have a blog at all and just use it as a
CMS to create static pages that don’t resemble a blog at all. We
have even seen people use it for membership sites by enhancing
their system with plug-ins.
WordPress has the biggest usage rate at 15.70% for a number of
reasons. It’s easy to use, has a large community, tons of
templates (of course unlimited templates if you own Artisteer),
and has a huge selection of free & paid plug-ins for
extensibility. If there is something you need to do that you can’t
currently do with WordPress you can bet someone is working on a
plug-in that will add that functionality to it right now as we
speak. And most quality hosting companies offer one-click installs
It’s very easy to add new content, add widgets by drag-and-drop
functionality and of course change the entire look of the site
just by changing or updating the theme.
SEO with WordPress is very good if it’s set up properly and there
are several SEO plug-ins that focus specifically on WordPress.
Very easy to install (Especially with a host that has one-click
Large community of users & developers
Lots of informational resources, books, videos, courses,
Lots of developers and programmers if you need to hire one.
Very easy to find many themes and template designs.
Templates supported by Artisteer.
Easy to Manage.
Can be difficult to customize the core functionalities.
Can be difficult to add custom features.
Not the best choice for large scale sites requiring large number of
Hackers love to attack WordPress sites due to huge market share.
Suggested for …
blogs, small business websites, affiliate SEO sites, or
In Summary …
WordPress is great if your needs can be met by a light &
simple template based site or a simple blog style site with a few
plug-ins for added functionality.
Joomla is one of the most popular CMS products available for medium to
large sites that need more flexibility and features than WordPress
supports. There are more plug-ins for Joomla than any other CMS,
which gives it huge flexibility and extensibility.
Joomla is well known for being the best multimedia CMS and is also
very good for e-commerce. It’s also good for high traffic sites.
It’s not as easy to use or get up and running as a WordPress
site. Even with a one-click install, it will still take you
longer to get everything configured to your liking. It’s also
not as easy to use as WordPress, but if you need advanced
functionality it might be the best choice for you.
There is a huge amount of information and documentation on
Joomla. This is good because you will need it more than you would
with WordPress, as Joomla is more robust and complex.
There are a couple of downsides to Joomla. One is that with the
huge number of plug-ins also come quite a bit of bad quality or poorly functioning plug-ins that if not
properly tested can cause problems in your site. You
don’t want to just load up your site with a dozen plug-ins and
then hope for the best. You need to exercise a bit more care with
Joomla than that, often utilizing help of people familiar with Joomla.
Fairly easy to install.
Massive Collection of plug-ins.
Fairly easy to manage.
Good for high traffic.
Good for sites up to 1000+ pages.
Great for multimedia and small e-commerce websites (using additional
Suggested for …
medium sized business sites, multimedia sites, membership sites,
directories, small e-commerce websites, etc…
In Summary …
Joomla maybe very well be the best choice for dynamic websites designed
for growth and multitude of features.
Drupal is a very solid and robust CMS featuring ACL (access
control levels, for multiple user groups). Drupal is known for
stability, scalability, extensibility and withstanding high
traffic loads with very few issues or problems. It is the hardest to
setup and configure of CMS products featured here. It requires advanced
technical knowledge and experience.
This is not your mother’s CMS. It’s your geeky brother that lives
in the basement, on a diet of energy drinks and hot pockets, while
surrounded by home built server boxes and tech books on CMS products. So
if you’re not up to the challenge, you’re going to need to hire
someone to help you set your Drupal CMS up.
What Drupal has in stability it lack in terms of community size,
ease of use, available templates (unless you have Artisteer, then
of course you have unlimited template options) and numerous
plug-ins. However, unlike Joomla, Drupal plug-ins tend to be of a
higher level of quality and reliability.
Need knowledgeable tech person to setup properly.
Not as many plug-in available.
Many concurrent versions with different plug-in requirements.
Big learning curve.
Suggested for …
enterprises sites, companies that have IT staff, large sites.
In Summary …
if this is mission critical and you will have high traffic then
Drupal might be the way to go even if you have to hire technical
DNN (DotNetNuke) is a CMS that runs on Microsoft ASP.NET. It has
a smaller user base and is an open source CMS platform that also functions as a web
application development framework.
This is a more specialized CMS that is geared
toward those that need to develop their own functionality and
application to use on their websites. However, DotNetNuke is based on
ASP.NET and can perform faster than PHP based CMS products mentioned above.
DNN also has commercial versions available for those that need
more functionality as well as over 800 Independent software
Good support community.
Good for custom application development.
Good for enterprise solutions.
Fast performance in terms of displaying content.
Limited to using it on a Microsoft Windows Sever.
Not as easy to set up as other CMS.
May have to buy plug-ins or custom develop them.
More of a learning curve than WordPress or Joomla.
Suggested for …
enterprises sites, companies that have IT staff, larger sites.
In Summary …
if you need a robust solution that will also let you develop your
own applications or are already using a Microsoft server this
might be the CMS for you.
Now a couple of options for novice
Blogger is a simple blogging platform for people that just want
to set up a quick blog. It has predesigned template themes or you
can create your own in Artisteer and upload it to Blogger.
This is not an advanced CMS but really just a free and simple blog.
The problem with using a service like Blogger is that you don’t
own the blog, they do, and if you happen to violate their terms
of service in any way you can lose all of your content and your
blog. If that is not a concern for you and you want something that
you can setup that’s quick and easy, and don’t need advanced
functionality then Blogger might be an option for you.
Internet marketers and SEO specialist often use platforms like Blogger to
create satellite sites that link to a main site.
Very easy to set up and use.
Possible SEO boost over standalone site.
Can use your own domain.
Can post from your mobile phone.
Limited functionality, can only be used as a blog.
You’re at the mercy of their Terms of Service.
Limited plug-ins available.
Suggested for …
Blogs, SEO Satellite sites.
In Summary …
Blogger is good for people that just want a quick and easy blog. With Artisteer you can make a template for you
main website and also a matching one for your Blogger site.
When you purchase Artisteer, you also get access to our free
WordPress based CMS/Blog hosting platform for our customers. It
has much of the WordPress functionality except that we don’t allow
plug-ins as they present a security risk.
A great advantage of Artisteer.net is the embedded WYSIWYG editor
in the desktop application. From the desktop application, you can
create a design, add and remove web pages and posts, add and edit
the content of your pages and posts, and then publish it to the
web – all within Artisteer. Plus, the Artisteer.net CMS
supports backend website maintenance, so most of what you can do
on the desktop can also be done online letting you work from
anywhere you have an Internet connection. And you can even
use your own domain name.
You can use your own Domain Name.
Easier to use and configure than WordPress.
Very easy to create and manage multiple websites.
There are a few widgets for added functionality.
Support for Google analytics.
Suggested for …
personal blogs, small brochure style sites, to test designs or
show designs to clients.
In Summary …
Artisteer.net is an alternative to Blogger and Wordpress.com with
the added functionality of being able to design and edit sites in
Artisteer.net locally on your desktop. For more info on how to use
Artisteer.net please download and read the Artisteer.net user’s
Hosting Your CMS
If you’re using Blogger, Wordpress.com or Artisteer.net you don’t
need to worry about hosting as they are all self-hosted. But if
you plan on using one of the other CMS products mentioned in this article
you should know that not all hosts are created equal.
Special attention should be given to choosing a web host that is
CMS friendly. You should choose a host that makes it easy to set
up your CMS with a 1-Click install which will save you the time
and hassle of manually setting up the CMS yourself.
In the case of DotNetNuke you need to make sure the server you
are running on is a Microsoft sever that will support .net
applications. The rest of the CMS products mentioned in this article run
on the standard LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) servers
configuration that is quite common. If your hosting provider
has one-click installs you know they are compatible with the CMS,
which is why we recommend you use a host that does.
Before creating a web site, we suggest that you…
Make a list of your needs for your site as we mentioned at the
beginning of this article. Then watch some tutorials and read
reviews to learn how different CMS products may match your
needs. Then choose the best match between CMS and if
Visit some of the better sites in your niche and/or your
competitors to see what they are using.
Plan and draw the layout of your website, as
well as write down a list of features and the content you want
to have, and how to navigate the pages of your website.
When a layout of your future website is visualized, and a CMS
is selected, it is time to create a template (aka Theme or
Skin). A template represents the ‘style’ that you want
your web pages to look like. You add your content in the
CMS but you create the way you want the content to look with a
template. That’s where Artisteer comes in. You can
use Artisteer to create beautiful templates you can install
and use in your CMS without having to learn how to be a
professional web designer.
Depending on your needs choosing the right CMS can be very
difficult or very easy. It’s our hope that this article has
educated you about some of the different options available that
Artisteer supports and help you choose the right CMS for your