What is CMS? (AKA Easy Website Builder)
All websites require a content management system, a CMS. In its primitive years, a website had to be developed from scratch. Designers, developers, and programmers used to come together and write thousands of codes to develop a website. Such exhaustive procedures have become obsolete today. With different kinds of content management systems out there, developing a website has become much simpler, affordable and convenient.
Free Website Builders
Content management systems are essentially free website builders.
The programs are written, the codes are already there and you simply need to use the various sections or features of a content management system to create your own website.
For instance, you don’t need to write codes or know a programming language to upload a piece of content onto a website. You simply use the upload tool in a content management system, attach the file you wish to upload, set the fonts and layouts and your content will be uploaded in a matter of seconds.
From publishing all contents to editing and removing, pulling in plug-ins and creating the interactive features of a website, everything can be done using a content management system or CMS. The free website builders have made developing a website much more affordable, easy and controllable.
One doesn’t need to be a software engineer today to develop a website. But more important than being free website builders, a CMS is a handy tool for website owners. You don’t have to rely on a technical person or a web designer to do everything. A website owner can have the CMS log-in details and manage the entire website and the hosting account.
Types of CMS
There are many types of CMS and quite a few have become brands.
With several free website builders at your discretion, you will certainly want to choose the best. But choosing the best CMS is not that easy a task. You ought to know the options you have and you must be able to distinguish between different CMS solutions.
Here are the most popular CMS solutions that people use today.
Choosing a CMS
Before you get down to choose a CMS, you must know a few basic things. You need to know on what basis you will be comparing one CMS with another.
- Your CMS should be able to match your needs. You may want to develop a company website, a news site, a blog, a personal website or an entertainment website. You may want to have a hybrid website. You may want e-commerce features on the website. You need a CMS that is best for the type of website you will host.
- Scalability is an important element. You would certainly want your website to grow and the CMS you choose should be able to allow that kind of scalability. It shouldn’t have a dearth of resources or put up hindrances in your growth story.
- You need a CMS that has an active support community. The larger, more interactive and supportive the community, the better it is for you.
- You need a CMS that is simple. Complicated CMS solutions will not be in your best interest and you will waste a lot of time and energy to just understand what is required of you and how the CMS functions.
- Finally, you should consider the cost of the CMS and see if it fits your budget. Don’t have the price as the sole criterion, however.
Pros & Cons of CMS
All the free website builders or CMS solutions have their share of pros and cons. It is necessary for you to know which CMS offers what and which one is the best solution.
Straight HTML has a few advantages. There is no elaborate setup process, you can upload your content simply and don’t have to do anything else unless you want to make some changes, there are very few security issues and the CMS is quite invulnerable to threats. There are some limitations as well such as there is no blog or any feature that supports commenting, the layout is quite stiff and cannot be changed easily, it relies on Artisteer for some of its functions, you cannot add or upload any content for any kind of web-based interface, it is not appealing visually and requires additional graphics program as well as HTML editor. Also, you need to be aware of HTML to use this CMS completely.
Joomla has a simple interface and is quite easy to set up and install. There are many plug-ins which you can use on the site, the CMS is very easy to operate, it can support heavy traffic and you can build thousands of pages on a website with this CMS. Joomla works well for e-commerce sites and for multimedia contents on websites. There are a few shortcomings of Joomla such as the custom features are not very easy to add and the functionalities cannot be customized. Many plug-ins that are available are outdated and not very necessary.
Drupal is a free CMS, it is stable, scalable and you can create hundreds of pages and manage unexpectedly high traffic. The shortcomings of Drupal are that you need to be trained to carry out the setup and there aren’t many plug-ins. There are various versions which overlap one another creating confusion, there is an exhaustive guide which one has to go through to understand the system and use it and there is a small community to offer support which often is not sufficient.
DotNetNuke has very lucid documentation and a very helpful support community, it is also good for developing custom applications, security is not an issue and the contents load up pretty fast. The CMS is however limited to Microsoft Windows Server, the setup process is quite complicated, plug-ins have to be bought or developed and a lot has to be learned to manage the CMS.
Blogger is free, it is easy to use and install, it is mobile friendly and you can get some help with search engine optimization. However, Blogger has very limited functionalities, there aren’t many plug-ins that you could use and the endless terms of service will confuse you and bind you in more ways than you can imagine.
Artisteer.net is free and you can have your domain name, the configuration is simple, you can manage more than one website with ease, there are Google Analytics support and some widgets which can provide some additional functionality. The shortcomings of Artisteer.net include lack of plug-ins, very little space and you don’t get all the control you need in your free website builders.
Last but certainly not least, WordPress
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and it has a plethora of advantages. It is one of the simplest free website builders right now. It is very easy to install. You can enjoy one-click installs if your host supports such a feature. The community of WordPress is massive and there are developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and companies on the network. You will never have any dearth of help when you use WordPress. There are books, classes, courses, blogs, videos and various kinds of endless informational resources which you can use to acquaint yourself with the CMS and to find solutions if you have any problem. If you need to hire a developer, technician or programmer to manage your CMS then there are plenty of professionals with desirable expertise and experience. WordPress has innumerable themes and it is one of the best free website builders when it comes to templates. The WordPress control panel is very easy to operate. There are a few shortcomings of WordPress. A few core functionalities cannot be customized without having substantial technical knowledge. Very large sites are not ideal for WordPress.
Our Recommended CMS
If you have to choose one CMS among the ones mentioned here, then WordPress should be the indisputable choice.
- WordPress is the world’s largest content management system. It is the most popular, has maximum outreach and name recognition. If you take into consideration the top one million websites that use a content management system or have employed free website builders then a majority of those sites use WordPress. In other words, all other content management systems or free website builders, including all those that are mentioned above, collectively fall short of the market share of WordPress. If popularity and statistics are proof of the credibility, convenience, and efficiency of a CMS then WordPress wins the battle without any need of further debate.
- WordPress is extremely easy to use. Those who are absolutely clueless about a CMS or what free website builders can do would find it convenient to use WordPress. There are no major hassles and no hiccups at all.
- You get to control WordPress. You have your own control panel and admin access. You decide what you want to do, when you want to do and how you want to do it, often with simple one-clicks.
- WordPress supports blogs, plug-ins, and customizations, there are numerous templates to choose from and it is supported by every web host in the world.
Conclusion: What CMS Should I Use?
Among all free website builders, WordPress has clearly emerged as the best and the most popular choice over the last five years.
The collective preference of millions of bloggers, developers, businesses and even news organizations and e-commerce sites cannot be wrong and WordPress has consistently evolved to ensure scalability is not a problem.
If you want the simplest and the most useful of free website builders then you can unquestionably and unworriedly opt for WordPress. You will enjoy simplicity but also have state of the art features, have convenience yet have unmatched efficiency.