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.


5 Questions to Answer Before Choosing a CMS For Your Site
The CMS Market Today
The Most Popular Website and CMS Platforms:
Hosting Your CMS
In conclusion

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 needs?

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, etc.

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 your site

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 information.

#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 products that are free and supported by Artisteer.

CMS usage
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 content.

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

Straight HTML

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 a blog 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.



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 of WordPress.

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.



Suggested for …

blogs, small business websites, affiliate SEO sites, or personal sites.

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.



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.



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 help.


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 developers.



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 users…


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.



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.



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 manual.

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…

In conclusion

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 website.