With huge international corporations finally taking a turn to the digital, SMB owners lag and risk losing customers and revenue. The Internet has long since stopped being only a means of communication or entertainment; creating an online presence can breathe in life back into struggling local enterprises.
Online business is more than just a website or a Facebook page; the marketing tools alone can take a few tomes to describe. Today we talk about the first step of taking the business online and discuss the best open source CMS for SMBs to start their digital journey.
Content management system (CMS) is a set of tools that helps develop, design, organize, update, and publish information online.
Content management system (CMS) is a set of tools that helps develop, design, organize, update, and publish information online. User-friendly CMS platforms do not require in-depth knowledge of programming languages to create a website. Open source tools provide access to their source code and are supported by thriving development communities. They are free, unlike proprietary CMS that can put a dent in a budget. Our list of the best open source CMS includes:
With over 18 million installations, 54,000 extensions, and thousands of templates, WordPress holds 60% of the CMS market worldwide, outpacing its closest contender by the factor of 10.
Why choose WordPress
Top blog websites rely on WordPress. Ease of installation, use, and maintenance are the causes of its tremendous success. WordPress websites take a few minutes to set up and are ready to go without the need to delve deep into technical documentation and handbooks. The GUI is intuitive, and while the basic setup features might be limited, extensions and plugins are easy to integrate and run. The thriving community helps update and customize WordPress for multiple uses.
Despite its many benefits, WordPress has its fair share of shortcomings. Being the most popular CMS software makes WordPress the target of hacker attacks, and while the core is updated regularly to tighten up the gaps in security, outdated plugins cause the majority of the breaches. As a result, thousands of websites crash and their owners lose business because of the lengthy downtime. While WordPress is perfect for small business, it does not handle high traffic well.
The CMS performance and stability under excessive load is limited and can hinder future scaling of the online presence.
WordPress is a robust CMS choice for businesses that wish to showcase their projects or support a customer community through sharing latest news and achievements. Landscape, interior, or web design studios, local manufacturers, freelancers, designers, copywriters, photographers, and a variety of other entrepreneurs can make most of this free website builder to establish their online presence.
With over 5% of the CMS market (2+ million installations) and over 7,000 extensions, Joomla is the second most popular open source CMS beloved by US-based companies.
Why choose Joomla
Easy and quick installation and setup are among the critical advantages of the platform, along with a thriving community and an extensive library of designs. There is also an in intuitive template editor that enables users to create new modules.
Extensions might be Joomla's critical advantage, but they are also a pressure point. Most of them are free, but those that benefit business most can be pricey. Moreover, most modules require manual implementation, increasing website maintenance time. Medium-sized and large projects can also suffer because of the rights management system deficiencies that cannot always be helped by extensions.
Compared to WordPress, Joomla is a little more complicated, but more versatile at the same time. Its modular structure ensures design flexibility vital for businesses that want something more than a simple blog or online portfolio, such as an e-commerce website.
Drupal boasts over 1,000,000 installations worldwide with over 36,000 extensions and 1,000+ pre-configured distributions for typical applications. This website builder comes with a slim core code that makes installation quick and easy.
Why choose Drupal platform
Modular architecture enables users to add extra features through extensions, though major community features are available within the base core. Unlike WordPress that struggles with multiple domains, Drupal easily handles online portals with multi-domain structures.
On the downside, the use of Drupal extensions can be overly complicated for inexperienced users, as it requires manual installation via FTP. Considering the lean nature of the Drupal core, the number of installations can be unmanageable for most business owners. Additional complications arise whenever updated extensions are incompatible with the platform's backend.
Drupal requires more technical know-how and experience than WordPress and Joomla, but its benefits often outweigh the shortcomings. In-built community features, such as forums and tag clouds, make it the best CMS for small business owners looking to start a conversation with their customers.
With over 250,000 installations, Magento is the ultimate solution for 12% of the running e-commerce websites. This content management system possesses all features necessary for running a successful web store, including product catalog, checkout and payment systems, mobile optimization, and content globalization tools.
Why choose WordPress
Similar to other CMS, Magento relies on a modular structure that enables users to install and run extensions to increase the website feature set for administrators and customers. Admin dashboard can support several stores at once and integrates with a variety of business solutions, including popular ERP and CRM systems.
The staggering variety of features and extensions is great for experienced users but can put off beginners. Similar to all open source web platforms, Magento trades usability for functionality. As a result, business owners have to spend extra time learning how to make a website work using handbooks and guides. Additionally, Magento's premium features come at a price. Few companies are willing to invest the money in the system that requires so much maintenance with no income guarantees.
Magento is tailored to the retailer's needs and offers a variety of e-commerce features. It is a perfect choice for SMBs that wish to increase revenue by increasing the reach of their offers and enter new markets.
What Is the Best CMS for Small Business?
All CMS platforms above share the same advantages businesses can reap. They enable business owners to:
Test online promotion through the website with minimal time and budget using thousands of free or premium templates.
Develop the first iteration of the website and learn from its mistakes when creating a custom solution.
Experiment with different layouts, themes, colors, and more without hiring web designers and developers.
Similarly, besides individual drawbacks, all CMS share common shortcomings:
Few business people have time to waste on making sense of the ins and outs of the CMS tools.
The CMS-based websites will never be 100% unique.
The site will not be tailored to the business needs because of the limited feature set.
Some CMS-powered websites lack adaptive design suitable for mobile devices.
CMS vs CUSTOM WEBSITE
Once the website gains traction, attracts traffic, and breaks even, SMB owners have two options: continue with the chosen open source CMS or hire an IT vendor to design and develop a custom site that will build on the success and help bring new business and increase revenue. The choice of the best open source CMS or web development company depends on the owner's budget and ambition.
If you are unterested in creation modern and creative web design for strong online presense, check FreshCode portfolio on Dribble or Behance! You are welcome to contact us for detailed discussion of your ideas.