Which Content Management System is Right for You?

Digital Marketing | June 23, 2016

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) can be difficult. There are so many options available that it’s hard know which one is the best to fit your needs. We could tell you how amazing one is over the other, but ultimately only you know what features and benefits matter most. Is there a magical content management system that will solve all of your problems? No. But there are content management systems that will make your life dramatically easier, and save you time not only in the interim, but for the long haul as well.

Here are a few of the more popular CMS’s:

WordPress

WordPress is a really amazing tool for creating a simple blog, or managing a small marketing site. My favorite thing about it is the amount of support you can find for it. There are endless resources on the web that can help with either development, or everyday authoring. And with tons of plugins available, the creative possibilities are endless.

But of course, there is a downside. One of the biggest issues is its security. There have been numerous security exploits within WordPress over the years, resulting in compromised data and inappropriate content being shown. Some of the breaches happen when you are installing a plugin. You have to be very mindful when choosing a plugin, because anyone can submit one to the WordPress site.  Sometimes there are security holes with the plugin you’re installing; be sure you look at the reviews before installing anything.

Drupal

One of the biggest advantages of Drupal is its ability to scale. You can use it for a small business site, and then scale it to thousands of pages as you grow. Drupal’s showcase page shows some popular sites using the system, like whitehouse.gov, Timex, Red Hat, and even Bruno Mars (you know it has to scale with how popular he is).

If you don’t know what you’re doing with Drupal, it can be a nightmare, especially from a development perspective. First, Drupal isn’t object oriented. And second, everything, and I mean everything, is stored in the database: caches, logs, settings, and content. Doing simple theming is pretty straightforward, but if you’re doing anything complex, or want to have considerable interaction with the database – it can be a steep learning curve.

Joomla

Similar to WordPress, Joomla has a ton of support online. There are endless extensions and themes available for anyone to use. One of my favorite things about Joomla, is how developer friendly it is. Joomla is one of the pioneers in open source CMS’s adopting the MVC design strategy. It allows the views to be separate from the back-end logic. Joomla also makes use of Bootstrap in many of its core templates, making your site responsive out-of-the-box.

However, I do find Joomla’s UI incredibly difficult to navigate. No matter how much I use it, I feel like I never know where anything is. There are a lot of menus with somewhat cryptic labels, and I feel like I’m constantly guessing what pressing a button will do.

Another issue is that Joomla out-of-the-box isn’t SEO friendly. You can install extensions to improve that, but in my opinion, CMS’s should be SEO friendly out-of-the-box; especially if so many users are installing and implementing their product.

Adobe Experience Manager

For the average author, AEM is by far the most user friendly. It’s drag-and-drop interface makes authoring pages a breeze. The inheritance model it’s based on is also extremely useful and time-saving. You can author a header or a sidebar, and have it inherited across thousands of pages. You can easily turn it on and off for child pages as well. Check out our blog post on author friendly features for more information.

Another one of AEM’s great features is its ability to integrate with 3rd party APIs, or other integrations like Salesforce or Eloqua. AEM uses sling, which is inherently RESTful, making integrations much easier.

The biggest gripe with AEM is its steep development learning curve. If you’re not familiar with its underlying technologies (few are) such as OSGi, Sling, and the JCR, it can make development difficult and hard to get up to speed. Documentation and support for AEM is growing, but still hard to find, and can make development even that much more difficult.

Choosing the Right One for You

It’s important to know that these are just four of the more popular CMS’s available today. There are of course others available, each with their own set of pros and cons. Every project is different, and it’s important to understand your business objectives and goals before even looking at which content management system to implement. It’s important to consult your IT team or agency to consider their capabilities, or how you might utilize outside support. Partnering with a company like iCiDIGITAL is a good first step in the CMS process. If you or your team needs help with an IT strategy, or has technology needs, feel free to reach out to us.

Gary is a consultant with over six years of professional web development experience. He possesses a broad balance of customer relations, advising, and continuous learning attitude, with an extensive knowledge of front end design and server side coding. His primary focus is in Adobe CQ, Java, responsive design, mobile, and iPad development. He's a huge sports fan as well as an avid runner, snowboarder, hiker, and enjoys any other outdoor activities.