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Jun 5, 2020

Best Content Management Systems in 2020

by Connor DeBlieck
Content Management System, CMS, Marketing, Development

What is a CMS?

In the context of operating a business, Content Management Systems (CMS) are the backbone or, in essence, the lifeblood of how a company organizes and manages all incoming and outgoing projects. These handy systems give users the tools to create, manage, and deploy website content.

Understanding the Importance of a CMS

Content management systems have become integral in our day-to-day lives in the digital marketing realm in the same way that we breathe. We are taking those breaths, but we aren't always self-conscious that we are doing it.

Related: Does My Business Need a CRM or a CMS?

A perfect example of a CMS would be Wordpress. On the surface, it might appear to be a simple blogging platform, and that was how it was originally designed, until it became a full-on CMS platform that now extends roughly 35% of active websites out there. Making web development easy is the name of the game, and that is why platforms like Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal are so widely used. While CMS platforms remove the difficulty of coding an entire website from the ground up out of the equation, there are still many elements that go into making the website stand out from the rest.

Things to consider that make up your CMS:

SEO: Search Engine Optimization is crucial as digital marketing continues to grow and expand. Achieving a high SERP rating is the result of integrating SEO best practices into your CMS.

Content Creation: Often overlooked, but just because the backend of the CMS may be fully built doesn't mean the website would function as intended if there were no content displayed on it.

  • Asset management

  • Integrations

  • Development options

  • Deployment

How do I know what CMS is best for me?

With so many to choose from, it is easily overwhelming to decide what CMS is right for you. In the case of having a platform similar to Adobe Business Catalyst, that announced its end of life earlier this year, there is the issue of adding site migration to the checklist.

Wordpress

The most widely used CMS platform currently, Wordpress is easy to use and allows for a wide range of customizations.

Pros: A free, open-source application that allows you to customize and fine-tune its code to suit your website's requirements.

  • Wide range of customization options

  • Variety of free and premium themes

  • Allows for the use of plugins that enable you to integrate different applications into the website to automate workflow.

  • Offers an open-source e-commerce plugin called WooCommerce to set up an online store on your website.

  • Utilizes Shopify plugin for e-commerce

Cons: Due to its popularity, Wordpress is prone to security vulnerabilities. The best way to avoid these issues is to keep the CMS and plugins updated regularly.

  • Not ideal for complex access control workflow

  • Teams that require the use of Wordpress UI themes

Drupal

Another free and open-source CMS software used in a variety of industries from entertainment, education, healthcare, media and publishing, and many more.

Pros:

  • Over 44,000 free modules (third-party integrations)

  • Over 2,800 free themes to extend the website's functionality

  • Excellent security, taxonomy support, and multilingual support

  • Custom CMS creation

  • Plugin integration with Shopify, Google Analytics, Hubspot, Salesforce, Mailchimp and Tableau

Cons: While Drupal offers several excellent features, its main issue is that it is not a beginner-friendly CMS.

  • Need an experienced web developer to manage

  • Difficult to manage and update from a technical standpoint

Joomla

Similar to Wordpress and Drupal, with being a free, open-source CMS, this platform offers a lot of the same conveniences as well as other perks that make Joomla a powerful CMS for a diverse content mix strategy.

Pros:

  • Supports multilingual websites

  • Multi-level user permissions

  • Mobile-friendly CMS

  • A vast number of features without the need for third-party integrations or extensions

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve and not beginner-friendly

Hubspot CMS

This platform is well known for being a marketing automation provider. It can also be a CMS platform that perfectly integrates the two services to consolidate everything into one place.

Pros:

  • Consolidates marketing automation and CMS into one service

  • Can create, manage and track the performance of blog articles, landing pages and emails from one place

  • Offers SEO features and mobile-friendly themes

  • Creates a more personalized experience with smart content, chatbots and live chats

  • Built-in analytics tool

Cons:

  • Designing and developing the CMS is different than other platforms and has a learning curve

  • Difficult site migration if you choose to switch CMS platforms

Magento

A widely used open-source CMS for the e-commerce industry.

Pros:

  • Features a drag-and-drop page builder

  • Schedules website updates

  • Personalization features such as customer segmentation, visual merchandising, etc

  • Manages multiple websites from one backend

  • Launch multilingual sites

Cons: If you want to take advantage of customer reward programs and targeted promotions, then you will be forced to use the premium service, Magento Commerce, instead of the free version, Magento Opensource.

  • Magento Commerce offers more features and targeted promotions but comes at a hefty yearly price tag of $22,000

  • Needs a lot of updates and attention

  • Site migration is not smooth when the time comes

Contentful

A new, headless CMS platform that works great for large teams. Contentful is the current CMS tool we use at Watermark as it does wonders for our business model. A headless content management system is a backend only system that makes content accessible for display on any device. Where other CMS platforms are focused on presentation first, a headless CMS such as Contentful focuses purely on content with no focus on presentation layers, allowing the content to display on any device functionally.

Pros:

  • Great for complex page layouts that have multiple sections per page

  • Offers great functionality for multi-stage content creation and review processes

  • Simple web interface for editing content

  • Organized, flexible data models (i.e., form fields and WYSIWYGs).

  • Intuitive user interface

Cons:

  • Not ideal for managing user-generated data such as comments

  • Not the option if your company requires all tools to be on-premises

  • Not suitable for teams that need access control restrictions

  • Cannot be installed locally

Knowing what is best for you

There are several more factors to break down when choosing the CMS that is right for you, from the most basic of information, pricing, SEO friendliness, and usability to the more technical jargon of technology stacks, coding language, and backend management. Choosing the right CMS all comes down to what you believe is the best fit for your company and what features you would most commonly use. There is no wrong choice at the end of the day, as long as you have a CMS that works for you. With Adobe Business Catalyst coming to an end, Watermark is here to help you figure out all your CMS needs.

Related: Are You the Jelly of the JAMstack? | Developing for the Future