Content management system comparison is a very important task, often misguided by not fully understanding production cycle, hidden long term costs and other factors. Usual choice before development team and a client is selecting open source and customizing it vs custom CMS application. Custom CMS applications are proprietary and tie hands for the client. Open source systems are bulkier, and do not work well for very specific tasks. Typically smaller to medium size websites are opting for open source with more complex systems being built on proprietary platforms. Comparison between the content management systems can’t be done without thinking about cost and popularity.
The easiest to use by far, very developer and user friendly and most common CMS on the market. Used by 50-60% of the market, about 20% of all websites powered by WordPress. Superior usability and ability to extend make WordPress #1 choice for any small to medium size website. It is not the best choice for complex systems requiring unique logic, API integration, complex registration functionality. Many plugins however are designed to enable these features.
Powerful CMS platform used for small and large content based websites. It is oriented toward more content heavy sites then WordPress. Joomla is in the middle between WordPress and Drupal offering good multilingual capabilities. Good choice for websites managing volumes of content. It is relatively easy to use for end user, no long learning curve.
Complex, powerful platform used to develop complex websites and enterproise level content management. It is harder to learn for end user, more developer oriented. Is not easy to use right away, requires experience and training. Development cost is much higher for smaller to medium sites compared to Joomla and WordPress.
Custom CMS applications are always more expensive than commercial or open source CMS in short term. Depending on the complexity of a project, this can change, bringing costs closer together. On larger and more complex projects, cost of customization of open source can run higher then mid-range or even higher end CMS.
Enterprise level CMS applications such as SiteCore, Vignette, Ektron are popular choices for corporate world, but carry heavy price tag. Costs range from $40,000 to $250,000 and blend cost of license and customization to fit organizations needs. Mid-range systems such as Kentico, LightMixCMS are in $2,500-$20,000 range depending on integration, offer more benefits in customization. $300-$1000 range systems such as Expression Engine offer good choice for solid out-of-the box functionality, yet are not as flexible for custom development. Open source free CMS systems such as WordPress and Drupal and Joomla are best option to start, yet carry more hidden long term cost in security, higher customization and bloated code, mixing plugins from many different developers without real control or optimization.
WordPress remains the most popular and used CMS application by far. Ease of use, flexibility and low integration cost are making WordPress the #1 choice for various organizations. Custom CMS applications are tiny fraction compared to top open source.
Comparing the two options is a long discussion with many tools available to help determine benefits. Final selection however is best communicated by the development team to the client knowing all details of the project. Content management system comparison is not a task to be done by unqualified non technical personnel. Not understanding all trade offs will lead to making a wrong selection.
Contact our web design company for detailed analysis and comparison of CMS options for your organization.