A few days before New Years Eve, I came up with a number of resolutions that I would be adopting, with the majority of them related to my sugar intake and exercise levels. However, I also decided upon a few work-related resolutions, one of which was to write about topics outside of my comfort area of SEO, in particular link building - so I decided to do a two-part review of a few popular content management systems.
There are countless content management systems (CMS) out there today, some free, some paid, some open-source, some built for bespoke projects, I could go on but I’d be here all day.
Part one of this blog post will be focused on three different CMS platforms, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of using each – the systems are:
Part two of this article will be focused on Magento, osCommerce and Shopify.
SilverStripe are headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand and they released version one of their content management system, which is built on the sapphire framework, in September 2006.
SilverStripe is an open-source platform that is often used due to its development versatility and user-friendly back-end admin interface.
Key Advantages of using SilverStripe:
- The software is free
- Open-source code base
- Active developer community
- There are additional themes available (free and paid)
- Extensive support available
- Ajax site tree
- Easy to customise and integrate with software and other platforms
- Good for SEO
- Quick to install
- Version control
Key disadvantages of using SilverStripe:
- Fairly small following, meaning less information is available online
- Not as many modules available as similar platforms like Wordpress or Joomla
- Lack of documentation (because it’s still pretty new)
- Shortage of stock themes
Examples of SilverStripe websites:
SilverStripe is a really nice, easy to use content management system with a really big future ahead of it. SilverStripe is getting more popular by the day and they’re due to release version 3 in the next couple of months, which is promising a number of great new features and an updated user interface.
For me, there are a lot more strengths than weaknesses – I would recommend SilverStripe.
- More advanced non-ecommerce sites
- Aesthetics-focused sites
- Highly customised websites
- Advanced developers
Wordpress is most famous for being the world’s biggest blogging platform, but in reality, it’s so much more than that! First released in 2003 as a piece of code designed to aid typography, Wordpress has enjoyed unbelievable levels of popularity – as of August 2011 it is believed that Wordpress powers well over 20% of all new websites globally!
The undeniable appeal of Wordpress owes greatly to the astonishing amount of themes and plugins that are available to download, currently over 1,450 and just under 18,000 respectively.
I personally am a huge fan of Wordpress, with the ease of access to the code and the simplicity behind what would usually be complex programming changes representing my reasoning – however I have also witnessed one of the main disadvantages first-hand.
Key advantages of using Wordpress:
- Nearly 1,500 themes available + more premium options
- Nearly 20,000 plugins/modules available + more premium options
- It’s free
- Used by millions of people and websites world-wide
- World’s biggest blogging platform
- Quick and simple to integrate with other software packages
- Search engines love Wordpress
- Easy to integrate with social networking profiles
- Manage multiple websites in one dashboard
- Open-source platform
- Built-in code editor within the admin area
- Quick and easy to install
- Simple PHP framework
- Huge development following
- Very easy to customise
- E-commerce modules available and constantly being developed
Key disadvantages of using Wordpress:
- Hackers love Wordpress (If you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t keep up to date with updates, you could be leaving your website susceptible to hackers)
- Lots of updates
- Some plugins and themes are unsecure (I’ve heard lots of stories about unsecure plugins that have lead to websites being hacked)
- Could be outgrown (there are more suitable platforms for larger projects and ecommerce sites)
To be honest, there are very few disadvantages of using Wordpress, it felt a bit like I was clutching at straws. Wordpress is an immensely powerful CMS that really is ideal for users of any experience level. The one thing that I would recommend watching out for though is the Wordpress security – I failed to update an installation on Wordpress last year and was hit by a pretty fatal hack.
All in all, great platform – I love it and I use it!
- Any non-ecommerce project
- Users of any level
I thought I would throw a CMS that I haven'y had much experience with into the mix here, as although I’ve played around with it, I’m not overly familiar with Joomla as a CMS.
Joomla is a PHP-based content management system that, much like Wordpress, has a huge selection of extensions and themes readily available for users. Following their launch in 2005, Joomla won the Packt open-source CMS award in 2006, 2007 and 2011, previous winners include Wordpress and Drupal.
Key advantages of using Joomla:
- Open-source CMS
- It’s free (although there’s also a paid version)
- Simplistic user-friendly admin interface
- Multiple users can edit a site at the same time
- Support for multi-language sites
- Huge development following
- Lots of templates available
- Huge range of extensions/modules
- Joomla release regular upgrades
- Highly customisable
- Can be good for SEO (if developed correctly)
- Lots of support available
- Lots of readily-integrated features (such as polls and user control)
- Appropriate for larger, more complex websites
Key disadvantages of using Joomla:
- Harder to learn than Wordpress
- Changes can often require development support
- Requires work to make it SEO-friendly
- Wordpress has more plugins (and more free plugins)
- Wordpress is better for blogging
Joomla is a very powerful system with lots of great extensions and a really easy to use admin system.
These advantages and disadvantages are based on my limited experience and the views of a few of my colleagues, but I would say that whilst it may be more appropriate for larger websites, Wordpress is a better option for beginners and small sites.
- Larger websites
- Multi-language websites
- Experienced developers
To conclude, I think that all three of these content management systems are different and have their own benefits. SilverStripe has the fluency and intuitive admin system, Wordpress has the range of modules and simplicity and Joomla’s versatility and out of the box quality is a big plus.
I also think that SilverStripe is more suited to larger non-ecommerce websites, due to its versatility, user-friendly back-end and added customisability. Joomla is also suited to larger websites because of it’s multi-user editing functionality, but it’s slower to load and will cost more to host with bigger sites.
I still think Wordpress is the best option for blogging, beginners and small websites. It is also the easiest to get used to and the most time-efficient for small websites.
This is part one of two posts, the second one will be focused on Ecommerce platforms and will look at Magento, Shopify and osCommerce.
There are many other content management systems that I could have talked about (such as Drupal), if there are any that you think should have been included or any additional points that you think I've missed, please feel free to add them in the comments. You can also visit our CMS design or Ecommerce development pages to find out more about the services we offer in these areas.