CMS Options for Websites – How to Choose
Our Top Recommendations
Once you have decided on whether self-hosted or hosted is best for you (see the previous lesson), you can then decide on which Content Management System (CMS) is the best option for you.
The team behind Ukandoo Academy recommend the following:
For eCommerce Websites:
- #1 Shopify – Best, and easiest, overall hosted e-commerce solution
- #2 EKM – Best UK hosted e-commerce solution
- #3 WooCommerce for WordPress – Best overall self-hosted e-commerce website solution
- #4 Magento – Best self-hosted option for larger enterprise level e-commerce websites
- #5 BigCommerce – Good hosted e-commerce website solution
- #6 PrestaShop – Good self-hosted e-commerce website solution
For General Websites:
- #1 WordPress – Best overall self-hosted website solution
- #2 Drupal – Best enterprise level self-hosted website solution
- #3 Wix – Good hosted website solution
- #4 Weebly – Good hosted website solution
- #5 Squarespace – Good hosted website solution
Self-Hosted Website CMS Options
WordPress is probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website Content Management System (or CMS) in existence today.
WordPress allows complex websites to be built quickly with ease (when you know what you’re doing) and because it’s the most popular website building tool in the world, there are literally thousands of plugins available to extend the default functionality. This makes it an ideal solution for small to medium-sized businesses, but larger companies and even public sector sites are also increasingly having websites built in WordPress.
The software is free to use and open-source, so you can install it on any hosting anywhere in the world.
WordPress also has a very popular eCommerce plugin called WooCommerce which is also free to use and highly recommended. WooCommerce makes it easy to run your eCommerce store and it’s intuitive, extendable, fast, and secure.
Magento is a heavyweight in e-commerce software and is used by many larger sites and brands. It has a free to use Community edition that you can host anywhere and has hundreds of extensions available (usually paid for). You can add multiple storefronts on different domains to the same back-end for easier stock and order management. It has approximately a 29% market share of all e-commerce websites.
Many experienced web developers say that Drupal is the most powerful CMS, however, it is also perhaps one of the most difficult to use. Due to its flexibility and enterprise-level security, Drupal is currently the second most-used CMS in the world. The software is free to use and open-source, so you can install it on any hosting anywhere in the world.
More than 270,000 e-commerce sites run on PrestaShop. It’s free to use, can be hosted anywhere, and has thousands of themes and modules available.
Joomla is easy to use, easy to install, and can easily be expanded using modules (the equivalent of WordPress plugins). The software is free to use and open-source, so you can install it on any hosting anywhere in the world.
Hosted Website CMS Options
Shopify is probably the easiest to use and quickest to set-up of all the e-commerce website options.
Prices start from $29 per month fully hosted and it’s possible to get a basic store set-up with online payments within a few hours, although it usually takes a few days at least to build something more substantial from a pre-designed base theme.
EKM is a UK-based award-winning eCommerce platform and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to create an online shop. Every account comes with your own dedicated account manager to help you get up and running.
Although EKMs’ primary market is UK businesses, they currently operate in 10 countries and have over 50,000 customers worldwide. EKM is a serious alternative to Shopify and with UK based support, they should be a serious consideration for any UK e-commerce business.
Prices start from £27.99 per month, fully hosted.
With Wix, you get the freedom to create a website that looks exactly the way you want – on desktop and mobile. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, Wix has a solution for you.
Whilst you can get started for free with a Wix subdomain and onsite ads, the premium plans where you can connect your own domain name and remove Wix ads start from around $5 per month.
Weebly provides the freedom to build a website limited only by your imagination. All the tools you need to create a site that’s unique to you without any technical expertise.
Whilst you can get started for free with a Weebly subdomain and onsite ads, the premium plans where you can connect your own domain name and remove Weebly ads start from around $5 per month.
Squarespace provides great templates, unlimited hosting, top-of-the-line security, an enterprise-grade infrastructure, and around-the-clock support.
Squarespace only offers premium plans where you get your own domain name (annual plans only) and prices start at around $12 per month.
Customize your site, manage shipping and payments, and list your products on Amazon, Ebay, and Facebook.
BigCommerce only offers premium plans ranging from $29.95 to $249.95 per month.