What is the best CMS for your business?

Digital360 on 30 May 2017

Content management systems (CMSs) streamline website development and content publishing for individuals, SMBs and large enterprises alike. There are many CMS options available on the market, each with varying capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Whether you're looking for a simple website to build yourself or you're getting a web development company to build a customised solution, it helps to know what your options are. To help you find the right solution, here is a list of five popular CMS options used by Australian businesses.

1. SilverStripe

SilverStripe is a New Zealand-based company that manages the SilverStripe CMS and development Framework. SilverStripe is regularly releasing the latest CMS innovations, thanks to the skill and expertise of its global community of volunteer developers.

While any business is free to use the SilverStripe framework and CMS for web development, there are a number of SilverStripe specialists in Australia and New Zealand that businesses can look to. With the expertise of a SilverStripe web development agency, a business can access the full potential of the SilverStripe CMS and Framework.

SilverStripe is suitable for all business types, the commonality being that these businesses rely heavily on web-based content and applications. While SilverStripe is a powerful CMS with plenty of flexibility, it is better suited to commercial or public entities – personal and sole-trader sites might benefit from a simpler solution.

The verdict? A flexible and powerful platform ideal for medium-to-large businesses that need custom web development.

2. WordPress

WordPress is the largest blogging platform in the world. Since 2001, it has evolved from a simple blog platform to a full CMS powering millions of sites worldwide. WordPress is best for small businesses and individuals who need a way to manage their website content.

While there are online forums, help settings and worldwide user events, your WordPress site will only look as good as your knowledge of the system, its plugins and themes. That means inexperienced users could be at a disadvantage, at least until they learn the basics.

As WordPress is open-source software, there are millions of contributors worldwide working to make it better. The other benefit of the open source model is that WordPress can be free to any user. In terms of promoting your website, WordPress offers basic data analytics out-of-the-box, offering some basic tools for website optimisation and SEO.

The verdict? One of the most popular CMSs on the market, ideal for sole traders or small-to-medium business with some technical knowledge.

3. Magento

Magento is the world’s leading eCommerce platform. Magento targets both B2C and B2B industries as a leading CMS on the market. Magento is perfect for retail businesses, providing a virtual eCommerce shopfront ready for customisation. Magento’s popularity comes from its out-of-the-box functionality, in that users can drag and drop pre-formulated blocks onto their website.

Magento also offers:

  • Three editions (Enterprise, Enterprise Cloud and Community)
  • Order management tools
  • Business intelligence
  • Shipping functionality
  • Social integration

The verdict? Ideal for large eCommerce businesses or enterprises needing a powerful platform to scale the product range.

4. Squarespace

Squarespace was launched in 2004 and is the most design-orientated 'website builder' on the market. Squarespace is a strong market competitor that offers simple-but-useful features for a sole trader or small business. One highlight is the software's low barrier to entry and ease of use for non-technical users.

Squarespace is best-known for its 'drag and drop' functionality, allowing the user to create pages with no technical knowledge required. Squarespace also offers a content management workflow that's easy to set up, ensuring that all content is properly drafted and reviewed before it is published.

Squarespace works best for users who have a creative flair and rely on imagery and aesthetics to attract consumers. While Squarespace does have an eCommerce capability, it doesn’t connect with some of the most popular payment gateways like PayPal. The closed source platform also means your business is restricted when it comes to customisation and functionality.

The verdict? An entry-level CMS available through subscription, ideal for personal websites and sole traders with no technical knowledge.

5. Shopify

Shopify was launched in 2006 as an eCommerce platform to sell snowboarding gear. Since then, Shopify has grown into one of the most popular eCommerce CMSs, and now hosts over 300,000 online stores worldwide. Shopify's features include a storefront, shopping cart, store management, marketing and SEO tools, products pages, web hosting, analytics, and a 24/7 support network.

Like most CMSs, Shopify supports SEO best practice, allowing users to customise metadata and title tags. It also integrates well with social media: for instance, Facebook browsers can purchase products without ever leaving Facebook.

Shopify is a powerful tool in streamlining eCommerce, without the upfront web development needs of a CMS like Magento. However, much like Squarespace, Shopify is closed source software, offered to customers as a subscription service. If your business grows and changes, there may be less flexibility for customisation and web development.

The verdict? An out-of-the-box eCommerce CMS suitable for small-to-medium businesses seeking a simple web development solution.

The top 5 CMS platforms at a glance

  Technical Difficulty Type Cost Key Strength Ideal For
SilverStripe Expert Open Source Low to Medium Custom Development Medium to Large Businesses
WordPress Intermediate Open Source Low to Medium Blogging Small Businesses
Magento Expert Open Source Medium to High e-Commerce Large to Enterprise Businesses
Squarespace              Beginner Closed Source (SaaS) Low Blogging, Landing Pages Personal & Sole Trader
Shopify Beginner Closed Source (SaaS) Low to Medium e-Commerce Medium to Large Businesses

A great CMS is just the first step

While choosing an appropriate content management system is important, remember that Google has over 200 ranking factors. So, treat your CMS as the backbone of your business – a strong foundation for you to build on. This is where a web development company or digital agency may be able to offer advice in areas such as design, conversion optimisation and SEO.

Need advice on selecting a CMS for your business? Talk to a web development agency about your development needs.