How to Choose the Perfect blogging Platform: 5 Leading CMS Compared
Are you planning to create a new blog? Have chosen the niche already? That’s great. The next step for you is to select the platform you will use for creating your blog.
When it comes to choosing the platform, you have several options. You need to choose the perfect one based on your experience, skill, budget, time and other things. As it is a bit complicated to move a website from one platform to another, you should take your time and choose the platform which is most appropriate for you.
To make things easy for you, I have decided to create a complete beginners guide to the 5 most popular Content Management System (CMS). By the way, I will use platform and CMS interchangeably in this article.
I will provide a brief intro to each of these CMS, describe their strength and weakness and what skills and/or experience you should have for choosing that CMS.
After reading this post, you will have a clear idea about these 5 CMS. You will also be able to decide which platform should be the perfect choice for you. Sounds good?
Okay, without further ado, let’s take a look at the CMS’s we will be discuss today –
That list was somewhat predictable, right? You may have heard about the first three platforms already. And if you are really tech-savvy, then you might be familiar with the other ones too.
However, let’s see what these platforms have to offer. We will begin with number 1, WordPress.
Without any doubt, WordPress is currently the most popular platform for creating new websites. Starting its journey as a blogging platform, WordPress has gradually emerged as a mature and dynamic CMS over the years.
According to Recent Statistics, 23% of the world’s top websites are powered by WordPress. In total, there are more than 76 million WordPress powered websites out there.
Now, let me introduce some of the key points which have major contributions in WordPress’ immense success.
1. Easy to Start: WordPress has one of the easiest installation processes among all the CMS. Most web hosts(including A Small Orange) offer one-click WordPress installation service. The famous five-minute installation feature of WordPress lets you install and get your website started within only five minutes. Even the manual WordPress installation takes less than an hour to get the website started.
2. Easy Customization Options: WordPress offers a huge number of free and premium plugins and themes. It is a clear fact that WordPress’ customization options easily outnumber any of its competitors. Being the most popular website creation platform, WordPress also enjoys a steady flow of new plugins and themes. Most of the new designers and developers want to target WordPress as their initial market base.
3. Freely Available: Using WordPress is totally free. You don’t have to pay anything for using the WordPress.com hosting or using the platform in your self-hosted account. You will also find numerous free plugins and themes available for beginning your website. That means you don’t have to break your bank to get started.
4. Huge Community: Due to its multi-million user base, WordPress has a very active and helpful community. It does not matter whatever problem you are facing, you will always find a solution. There are lots of websites which regularly publish WordPress tutorials, how-to’s and beginner’s guides. The official Support forum is also an excellent place for getting quality help.
Those were some of the key advantages of WordPress. But WordPress is not only about pros, there are definitely some cons too. Let me focus on some of the main disadvantages now.
1. More Server Space: A common complaint against WordPress is it requires lots of server space for large websites. Once your website gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every day, you will notice that your website is using a lot of server resources.
2. Complex Back-end: Also, the WordPress back-end is not very beginner-friendly. If you want to make changes to the back-end, you have to hire experts to do that.
However, these issues are valid for large scale websites only. For beginners, WordPress is still the best choice to develop their website.
Last but not the least, even if you are running large websites, you can still make things work with WordPress. The platform has become so powerful and versatile that a lot big brands including NBC, TED, TechCrunch, CNN, Time, UPS, Intuit, USA Today, Spotify etc. are using WordPress to power their websites.
Drupal is considered the second most popular CMS for creating websites. The fully open source platform is specifically popular among the technical people who enjoy raw power over their platforms. Besides being a powerful platform, Drupal also requires a lot less server space than WordPress.
It is possible to use Drupal for creating anything from small sites to large, enterprise-level websites without putting any serious impact on the website performance.
Here are some of the key advantages of Drupal.
1. Technical Superiority: Among all the five CMS compared here, Drupal is the most superior one in terms of technicality. This technically advanced platform does not require as much server power like WordPress. Therefore, you will be better off with Drupal for large sites.
2. Better Performance: Due to its superior structure, Drupal loads pages faster and has a faster response time than any other platform. However, the speed will be compromised once you start using third-party plugins and change the default settings.
3. Easy Customization: While Drupal does not have that much themes and plugins like WordPress, it has some of its own. Besides these, Drupal allows the users to edit the core files too. Therefore, if you have the necessary technical expertise, you can easily customize Drupal to deliver the exact look you want.
4. Free: Drupal is also available for free. However, there is not any native solution for hosting your website in Drupal servers. That means you will need a domain and hosting plan to use Drupal.
Out of the box, Drupal is the most powerful and dynamic CMS out there. However, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks now.
1. Requires Technical Knowledge: In order to make the most of Drupal, you will need at least a basic understanding of HTML, PHP and other programming languages. You should be able to troubleshoot the error messages and identify potential problems.
2. Expensive Support: If you don’t have that much expertise, you will need outside help, which will cost you money. As the platform is very technical and complicated, you may also have difficulty in finding the appropriate Drupal experts.
Despite its technical challenges, Drupal has got some really heavyweight users in its pocket. Starting with the White House and then Harvard University, Oxford University, Govt. of Australia, Tesla, The Weather Channel, Twitter Dev, eBay Inc., Rotary International etc. That’s quite a mouthful there!
Once upon a time, Joomla used to be the market leader of CMS. But with the rapid growth of WordPress and Drupal catching up, the platform gradually lost its place.
Despite being a fairly powerful platform, Joomla does not require that much server space. You can run Joomla without any problems in most common web server packages. It also does not require as much technical expertise as Drupal, but still offers a flexible and feature-rich interface.
Here are some reasons why people prefer (or used to prefer) Joomla –
1. Social Network: A special feature of Joomla is its easy social networking site creation facility. It could be said the Joomla offers the easiest way to build social networking websites among all the other platforms. Joomla lets you start your own social networking site very quickly.
2. E-commerce Friendly: Besides social networking, Joomla also allows you to create e-commerce websites very easily. While other platforms allow you to create online stores too, Joomla comes with several built-in features for making your job easier.
3. Technical Balance: According to many people, Joomla has found the sweet spot between WordPress’ super-easy website management and Drupal’s raw technical power. While it is possible to manage a Joomla website without requiring any technical expertise, you can definitely make use of your technical skills.
4. Free Help Portal: Joomla has an excellent Help portal for asking and technical questions and getting the necessary help. Though it is not as active or as vast as the WordPress support portal, it is still better than Drupal’s help service.
Most of the Joomla lovers like the platform for its simple but powerful features. By combining the best features of WordPress and Drupal and by adding some of its own, Joomla has successfully created a dynamic and powerful platform for creating new websites.
Nevertheless, the platform still lacks a distinct identity of its own. Other disadvantages include –
1. Not Beginner-friendly: Joomla is not suitable for the absolute beginners. Before using the platform, you need to go through a steep learning curve. It is not very intuitive too. It also takes a lot of time to install.
2. Not SEO-friendly: Joomla is the least SEO-friendly platform among the top three. The platform does not offer anything special for boosting up the SEO rankings. The complicated content structure is a nightmare for the beginners too.
Before we finish the discussion, let’s take a look at which sites are using Joomla. Starting with Heathrow Airport Shopping, Barnes & Noble and General Electric, a couple of other renowned brands including Peugeot, MTV Greece, Leonardo Di Caprio, Villarreal Football Club, Maersk Training, IKEA SA etc. are also powered by Joomla.
Blogger is a simple blogging platform created by Google. However, despite being a Google product, Blogger didn’t take off as a major CMS at any point of its lifetime. Previously known as Blogspot, it has remained as a platform for creating basic level blogs.
When using Blogger, you will get free hosting from Google. You won’t have any limitation in bandwidth or disk space. Blogger offers some readymade templates and also allows the users to create their own templates. As a Google product, the platform offers some solid SEO features. Also, the platform integrates closely with other Google products like AdSense, Analytics and lets you have a total overview of these services.
However, unlike most other platforms, Blogger does not let you own your website. Rather, your site is only rented to you and is actually owned by the platform itself. On the contrary, all of the top three CMS allows you to have total control over your website.
If you are only looking for creating a quick blog and don’t have any big plan for your blog, then you may want to give Blogger a try. Otherwise, I will strongly recommend you to stay away from Blogger. While the platform did not do anything wrong, it lacks most of the useful features that the big three offer.
Unlike most other platforms, Weebly is not known as a platform for creating blogs. Rather, it offers a complete solution for building full-fledged websites. Being established in 2006, Weebly was one of the pioneers of the very popular drag and drop designing concept.
Recent reports reveal that more than 12 million people use this platform for their blogs or websites. Like WordPress and Blogger, Weebly also offers a sub-domain to host your blog in its servers. The platform has a decent amount of readymade templates in its arsenal. If you can spend some time, you will find something suitable for your website. It supports third-party code too.
However, the simple nature of the platform did not allow it to grow up as a powerful blogging platform. The basic and primary features offered by Weebly are no match to the ones offered by the top three. In the world of competitive blogging, you will not get any specific help from the platform.
Therefore, if you want only a simple website for your business and/or personal purposes, you can try Weebly. But if you are serious about your website, Weebly is certainly not for you.
Even though WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are all CMS, act as blogging platform and is created with almost similar technologies, they have a huge difference in features, capabilities, ease of use and specialty.
I hope the above discussion provided you with a clear idea about these three and the two other platforms for creating new blogs. And if you ask for my opinion, I will stick to WordPress. The simple and beginner-friendly user interface, unlimited customization options and huge community support are some things which you cannot ignore!
So, did you make a choice? Have you decided which platform you are going to use for your blog? Let me know by leaving a comment below.