Businesses looking to market and sell effectively must take advantage of the online marketplace. This means having a website that not only talks about what you do, it is your business’ live presence online. The content you present must be dynamic and fresh, capturing the attention of the curious and maintaining loyalty of clients already claimed.
This means using a Content Management System, or CMS, to skillfully and efficiently get the job done. There are many great CMS platforms available today from which to choose. Choosing one that works best for you depends on technical expertise, the features most important to you as the business owner, and how easily you can find help maintaining your content once it’s up and running.
We’ve listed some of the best CMSs on the market today based on how well they are known, availability of support, and ease-of-use.
What started out as a blogging platform has now transitioned into a pretty powerful CMS. Many debated its ability to provide the resources and capabilities to create and maintain content for a business. These arguments have been put by the wayside today with many websites using it as the foundation to fuel multi-page online brochures and full-fledged social networks.
WordPress comes alive with several themes and plugins, available from a large commuity of developers such as My WP Pro, that allow you to build exactly what you need. It’s supported by a vast developer community, which is supplemented with documentation and tutorials. Be aware that this is the only support you get. Contacting WordPress directly with issues does not guarantee you’ll get a response.
Several prominent companies and entities, such as Citibank, Harvard, MTV, and IHOP, use the Joomla! platform as the CMS for their website. Citibank, who needs reliable back-end networking, gets what it needs from Joomla!
With 200,000 users and contributors, its developer community is strong and active, which means you can find just about anything you need to know about it online, and easily.
Joomla! has been used to create inventory control systems, reservation systems, complex business directories, and your average everyday website. Its functionality is modular and customizable. You can squeeze as much as you need out of this platform.
It lacks in limited themes and a complicated back-end, but makes up for this with strong user authentication in concert with OpenID, Google, and LDAP, making for a very widely accepted and secure portal.
A third popular CMS, it is also used by many large corporations such as: Popular Science, MIT, Sony Music, Fast Company, and the New York Observer. PHP-based, it’s loaded with features to build internal and external sites for your company, backed by tools that help organize content.
The developer community is strong, spread across IRC channels, forums, and Drupal events. Documentation is created and shared by all throughout the community, so you get help from real users, when you need it.
It’s highly extensible, with over 6,000 modules that expand on basic designs. Many private companies also offer support for Drupal, so it’s easy to find technical help, anywhere.
A unique pairing of commercial and open-source software, this CMS is built on CodeIgniter, which is the company’s proprietary opensource PHP framework. Because this CMS is commercial, there is still a large developer community that knows this technology, providing support and information.
ExpressionEngine does not feature as many extensions or plug-ins as the first three mentioned, but those offered do support features that many businesses need, such as a wikis, discussion forums, member management, mailing lists, statistics, and more.
Businesses currently using ExpressionEngine include LivingSocial Adventures, Canon Ixus site, and A|X Life. Upsides to using this CMS are commercial support, tight security, and no restrictions on site design. The cost is higher, because you have to purchase the CMS.
Not often heard of in CMS circles, this platform is oft forgotten as a viable option. It is PHP based and free. That mean upfront costs are minimal and you will find plenty of help in the tech world to build what you need. Out of the box, it is easy to use, which means designers and developers alike can customize and create quickly
It’s based on Textile, which easily converts plain text into XHTML for articles and content, making it extremely user-friendly for non-technical users.
There are nearly 700 plugins with over 50 mods. Between the two, you can create image galleries, integrations, e-commerce, custom fields, archives, navigation, and more. It makes for easy, functional, and affordable content management.