Website Hosting Firm Explains
There are lots of tools used to build websites. Most use a template system. Choose the template that’s pleasing to the eye, add your text, pictures, opt-in module, and other features, and click LAUNCH. You’re online.
The problem with these template-based web-building tools is simple: they don’t allow for flexibility. You choose a template, and you get what you get.
However, other template-based tools deliver features and flexibility. These content management systems (CMSs) are used by Fortune 500 companies, The White House, and other “big presence” websites with many features.
The most popular CMSs are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. If you want more flexibility and the ability to expand your site in the future, choosing a CMS that fits your needs and skills is an important choice.
The BIG Three Content Management Systems
WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are open-source software (OSS), which means the platforms are free to download. Each of the big three CMSs has support from thousands of programmers who create modules, plugins, and extensions that equip you to quickly build a feature-deep website, though there’s usually a learning curve.
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No matter which CMS you choose, expect to read online tutorials and other “how-to” information to learn how to get the most from the content management system of choice.
Which CMS is right for your online presence? Much depends on how much you know about website design and where you expect to take your website in the months and years ahead. WordPress is your best choice if you build a basic “billboard” website that doesn’t change daily (or yearly). It’s simple to learn and simple to use.
On the other hand, if you have numerous payment gateways, inventory that changes daily, and the need to upgrade visitor accessibility, a membership site constantly, for example, Drupal, is probably your best choice.
Joomla falls somewhere in the middle. It delivers flexibility, a user-friendly interface, and free online support.
The pros and cons of WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are fairly straightforward. However, it should be noted that the loyal programmers who develop plugin modules for one of these three CMSs learn from each other, so the three platforms continue to develop similar features. Which CMS you choose comes down to your business needs and skill set.
You may already have a blog on WordPress so you may be familiar with WordPress themes and other features. WordPress is a blogging platform that many site builders use to create websites like you (and thousands of others) build a blog.
WordPress is easy to install. Sync-up occurs on download, so you’re ready to roll when you click the “Finish” button. This is a big plus if time is a critical factor in the launch of your site.
WordPress also offers numerous themes or templates to simplify site creation. But unlike straight-up template sites, WordPress developers have created over 15,000 plugins – pre-programmed features, like an email module or an easy-to-use checkout, to simplify the sales and purchase processes.
WordPress is the easiest to learn and use daily of the big three CMSs. However, there are some downsides worth considering.
For example, the WordPress platform – the core programming – is frequently updated to accept more and more plugins, so you may spend more time than you’d like upgrading to the latest core version of WordPress.
Newer versions of WordPress aren’t always compatible with existing plugins, so you may find yourself swapping out opt-in plugins more often than you’d like.
And finally, the biggest drawback to WordPress is a lack of flexibility. Indeed, WordPress does a lot of the heavy lifting in site design but at a cost. You’re limited in your ability to customize. And even with 15K plugins, you may not get the look and list of features your online business requires.
Joomla offers an increased ability to customize websites to fit the particular needs of virtually any online business.
Like WordPress, there’s a core program, templates, and thousands of features, called extensions. Joomla extensions are the equivalent of WordPress plugins. Their pre-programmed features are divided into three main groups based on functionality: modules, plugins, and components.
If you’re new to site building, Joomla has a straightforward, user-friendly, intuitive interface that simplifies site construction. However, Joomla itself doesn’t offer themes and templates, though these are available from independent programmers, usually at a small cost.
As a content management system, Joomla handles text using a WYSIWYG editor that makes uploading a breeze, so if you envision a website with a lot of text or text that changes frequently, Joomla’s text management system is something you’ll appreciate when there’s other work to be done.
Of the big three, Joomla falls between WordPress and Drupal in ease of use. Again, there’s usually a learning curve associated with any CMS. Still, you’ll add mods, plugins, and components in a few days, building a site customized to your business needs and personal tastes.
However, if you know, from the get-go, that your website is going to be feature-rich, with complex navigation and the latest in features like a live chat module or a text chat option, Drupal delivers the greatest design flexibility – but at a price: the time it takes to learn Drupal protocols.
Drupal is for serious site builders who want full control over everything from design elements to site visitor features that don’t look like modules.
The upside to Drupal is that it’s designed specifically to accept new modules without updating the core platform. Drupal modules are usually free; though some more sophisticated features may cost a few bucks, these modules won’t break the bank – even for a start-up web business.
This means Drupal is the best choice for complex sites with visitor-friendly features. However, the learning curve for Drupal is longer than that of WordPress or Joomla, and if you’re not tech-savvy, you may find Drupal’s interface a little more complex than WordPress or Joomla.
If you have some basic programming and site design experience, Drupal won’t be more challenging than Joomla or WordPress. Still, if this is your first “go” at building a website, or you plan to make a basic site with standard features, WordPress and Joomla are better choices.
There are thousands of Drupal modules to customize your site and change its look, layout, and features. The fact is Drupal offers increased customization over WordPress and Joomla if you’re willing to take the time to learn how to use the Drupal platform.
Suppose you know your site will be complex and dynamic, often changing with new content and an expanding roster of features. In that case, you may want to outsource the development of your basic site as you learn Drupal basics to maintain and grow your site over time in-house.
Of course, hiring a Drupal programmer is an operational expense that may not work for entrepreneurs working on limited budgets. In this case, they expect to read through the hundreds of free Drupal tutorials online.
- How comfortable are you working with digital technology – even with a user-friendly interface
- How complex will your website be? Will you need a long list of features and customized functionality?
- Will your planned website change often, and if so, who will make those changes? Paying a programmer to update product pictures daily is expensive, so learning to perform this site maintenance chore in-house may require learning time initially, but in the long run, you’ll save money when you DIY.
You have plenty of options when it comes to content management systems to build and maintain an attractive, accessible, engaging website – one that may even be worthy of a visitor’s bookmark.
Check out the big three CMSs: WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, before you start building your site or paying a programmer to make a place for you. All the information is available free online.
Finally, choose a web host that provides these CMSs as part of its service offerings so you’re certain your WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal site will be compatible with host server-side protocols and security.