Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | July 29, 2014

The Advantages of a Web CMS

Today in the technological free market, if your business does not have a website, you are likely losing out on a large portion of potential profit. Websites are essential for marketing and interacting with consumers.  Unfortunately, creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing website takes knowledge and experience –  two things many businesses don’t have the time or money to invest in. So how can a business create a marketable website without investing their whole budget into building and maintaining it? A web content management system, or a web CMS, can do just that.

A web CMS is an online web application that provides website authoring, collaboration and administration tools designed to allow internet users with little (or no) programming knowledge create and manage website content with relative ease. These applications not only make maintaining the website more efficient, but keep the cost down on web development expenses. Web developers charge up to $100/hr to edit and develop websites. With that hourly wage, keeping the website development as simple as possible can save thousands of dollars. Starting from scratch, a full website with a web CMS might only cost $5,000, while the same website without a web CMS could cost three times or more. Note that while I’m not mentioning future additional edits, you can be sure that they’ll cost less on a web CMS platform.

So you’ve decided to save money and invest in a web CMS? Good choice. Now, which CMS should you choose? There are hundreds of web content management systems to choose from, but not all of them meet the criteria for a well-rounded web CMS. A solid web CMS typically includes two things: good documentation and an open-source community. Through my personal experience, I have found there to be a few web content management systems that outshine the rest.
WordPress Logo

WordPress

WordPress is the thousand pound gorilla in the web CMS sector of the internet. With 22.7% of all websites using WordPress, you can feel comfortable with the quality of the product. WordPress features the largest community of open-source support for developers and non-developers and is very well documented in an understandable (and massive) online manual.

One of the big advantages to the WordPress CMS is its extensibility using community-provided “Plug-Ins” (extensibility basically means planning for the future in computer-speak). There are thousands of plug-ins used to expand the capability of the CMS which typically can be downloaded for free. Another advantage includes the thousands of pre-made themes that can be easily installed onto a WordPress CMS. In-depth WordPress themes typically have a fee around $50 associated with them (still far less than it’d cost for a developer to build a theme from scratch!).

Drupal Logo

Drupal

Drupal is a web CMS that provides features and capabilities to manage a large, beautiful in-depth website. Like WordPress, Drupal is well documented in an online manual and has a large open-source support community. The open-source community supplies access to thousands of modules that enable additional features for the Drupal CMS, as well as installable themes.

Drupal’s most notable feature is the user roles system, which allows for multiple contributors on one single website without giving administrative access to all users. Another excellent feature is the use of an automated 301 redirect module. This module automatically redirects old URLs to new URLs given to “nodes” or content pages. Drupal is pre-built to appease search engines with many universal SEO features, including the url-redirect module.
Magento Logo

Magento

Magento is an eCommerce web CMS application which comes pre-installed with extensive eCommerce features. Magento is the most in-depth open-source web CMS available. Because Magento is so extensive, it does have a larger learning curve to grasp. However, don’t let that turn you away from this eCommerce solution. I doubt you’ll find a better open-source eCommerce web CMS available for free.

Magento is connected with a large open-source community and is well documented in a single manual. Magento’s coolest feature is the use of static blocks, which allow you to create a block of content and use it in multiple areas of the website. Another outstanding feature is the advanced browsing and sorting capabilities for products. This enables a user-friendly storefront for an eCommerce store with thousands of products. Magento can also support more than one website on a single installation and supports many other pre-installed features no other web CMS platform can.

Deciphering exactly what you need for your website, and which web CMS can handle these capabilities with the smallest amount of work, can save you thousands of dollars in web development expenses. Having a website is critical for your business – but don’t allow yourself to get trapped into an internet money pit. Find the right web CMS and your web development problems might not seem so bad.

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