Content marketing has consistently proven itself more cost-effective than traditional advertising. And to make content marketing work online, you’ll need a suitable content management system (CMS). However, investing in the wrong CMS can be costly, damaging, and hard to reverse. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to choosing the right CMS for your business.
Open-source CMS vs proprietary CMS
The first decision you’ll come across is whether to use an open-source CMS or a proprietary CMS. In our experience, open-source is almost always better.
Using a proprietary CMS is like renting the software from a third party. If that third party goes out of business, you no longer have access to the CMS. While it’s unlikely that a company like Adobe will go under soon, it isn’t a risk worth taking.
Besides this flaw with proprietary CMS, using an open-source CMS has a host of benefits as well.
• Limitless CMS flexibility
Open-source means the CMS source code is open to the public. So with the right CMS development expertise, you can modify that code however you want. You aren’t limited by what another company has done before. Your CMS can be truly unique.
And because open-source code is so available, you’ll be able to find many highly qualified CMS developers to help.
• Better value for money
“Open-source” doesn’t necessarily mean “free”. You’ll still have to spend time and money on setting the CMS up properly for SEO, security, and UX.
However, this investment is typically less than the monthly fees you’d pay for a proprietary CMS. And open-source gives you more flexibility for your money.
• Faster updates and fixes
Literally millions of people use, develop, and support open-source CMS. In contrast, the proprietary CMS user base is comparatively small.
For this reason, open-source CMS users tend to report any bugs in the code more quickly. And that accelerates the fixes as well.
• More eyes on security
You might think that open-source software is more vulnerable, because hackers can study the code. On the other hand, being open-source means that thousands of developers worldwide are constantly testing the code for vulnerabilities. Famous names like The New Yorker, Sony Music, and Beyonce all use the open-source WordPress CMS, for example.
CMS customisation case study
Helping a fintech company adopt Umbraco
A financial services company engaged Influential Software to rebuild its website with Umbraco. The result was a marketing team empowered to make changes without costly developer support.
How to choose the best open-source CMS
We’ve covered the benefits of choosing an open-source CMS rather than proprietary. But there are still dozens of open-source CMS to choose from. There is no universal answer to the question “What is the best open-source CMS?” It all depends on your business, your marketing goals, and your workforce.
Overall, the points you should consider when choosing a CMS are:
- How will this platform effect your business?
- What is the full cost of owning this CMS?
- What ongoing requirements will there be?
- How well does the CMS fit into your existing technologies?
- Is the CMS easy to use for your teams?
- Does the software have adequate security built in?
- Will it be easy for non-technical staff to customise?
- Does the platform help marketers with SEO?
- Are there reliable support options for the CMS?
Comparing the top open-source CMS
Among the open-source CMS crowd, there are two stand-out leaders: WordPress and Umbraco.
WordPress is the most widely-used CMS today, powering 39.5 percent of all websites.
Umbraco has a much smaller market share, less than 0.1 percent of all CMS.
However, the number of users isn’t necessarily the most important factor for your business. Let’s dive into some more comparisons that will help you in choosing the right CMS.
Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework is the tech behind Umbraco. For companies with in-house Microsoft development expertise, this familiarity will be to your advantage.
With Umbraco, you start with a blank-slate CMS and develop the functionality you need. In that sense, Umbraco doesn’t immediately give non-technical staff as much as WordPress does. Umbraco is more suited to a company that needs high customisation and has a reasonable development budget.
While there are Umbraco plugins, you’ll need a developer to code them into your site. This means more time and effort, but also the ability to alter plugins however you want. To do that, you’ll need a team with bespoke software development skills.
Microsoft invests heavily in protecting its solutions and languages, including ASP.NET. You can rely on Microsoft’s frequent penetration tests to spot and fix any issues with the code underlying Umbraco.
A major reason for WordPress’s popularity is its ease of use. Because it started off as a blog platform, WordPress guides users through the publishing process. An ever-growing ecosystem of plugins and templates adds styling and functionality at the touch of a button.
WordPress famously has a large ecosystem of plugins. These cover essentials like contact forms, site analytics, SEO, caching, chatbots, and much more. However, these premade plugins don’t offer the same flexibility as you’ll find in Umbraco’s coded plugins.
The downside of the WordPress plugin ecosystem is the possibility of poor design and security flaws. It’s best to use only plugins from trusted providers and get help from a WordPress expert when installing them.
Summary: choosing the right CMS
We can sum up this comparison as follows:
- while WordPress is more user-friendly, you have to rely on third-party plugins for customisation
- while Umbraco is designed for customisation, you’ll need to invest in development time
For these reasons, WordPress is often more suited to SMEs that want to get a website up quickly. Umbraco, on the other hand, may suit large enterprises with a need for high security and customisation.
Need help choosing the right CMS and customising it to your business? The good news is that we have a software development team that specialises in PHP and ASP.NET. So whichever of the leading CMS you choose, you can rely on our experts to achieve the results you need.