For many new businesses, a website and their online presence is not one of their most important investments to begin with. However, in this digital age, your online strategy should always be one of the first things that you consider and ought to be in the top 5 priorities. An effective digital strategy is the key for any new business and is especially good for unknown start-ups to make a name from themselves within their industry.
What you do online can make or break a new business especially if you get it wrong, remember first impressions count and you only get one chance to make an impression. Your website will not only be your shop window online but a vital business marketing tool going forward allowing you to reach potential customers all over the world. Not only this but your website must be scalable as your business grows and demands to be regulated often.
The challenge for most start-ups is the cost; websites can be very expensive depending on what you are looking for. More often than not, though, businesses save money with a CMS as users don’t have to pay for developers to build the backend of the website which is usually the most expensive part in terms of resource and budget.
Why Use A Content Management System?
Building your website on a Content Management System will not only help you reduce cost but will make it much easier to manage your website without having and design or technical skills. A CMS allows you to manage your website content in a structured environment and allows you to store all your documents, files, images and videos in a central location. An added benefit is it’s easier for users to create, publish and edit content on the website quickly and easily.
Using a content management system will also give users the ability to change the structure and layout of your website easily as this can be done through the content management system using various templates.
Another reason for using an open source content management systems is the community aspect. Most platforms are updated and improved on a regular basis by the community, ensuring that your website is taking full advantage of the latest technologies, is free of any bugs and improves the overall performance and security of the website.
The online community is also a great resource to have should you require any support for your website. Many platforms have thriving online communities which are there to provide support and advice to users.
What’s The Best CMS for My Business?
Open source solutions also come with thriving communities that support the platform and can ultimately save you money. For example, if there was a demand for an events section on your website, it could be implemented with a simple plug-in which, while costing money, are far cheaper and less hassle than a developer who would need to create it from scratch.
So what is the best CMS for your business?
Worpress is a free open source content management system that is based on PHP and MySQL. It is currently used by 60 million websites and powers more that 17% of the web. It’s been used for everything from basic brochure websites to complex enterprise level websites used by some of the world’s biggest brands.
Users can easily change the look and functionality of their website using widely available themes which is a function that has made WordPress one of the most popular choices for those without any design or technical skills.
They also have over 30,000 plug-ins available within their database which allows users to add custom features and functionality to their website without having any additional development costs this has made the platform very popular within the start-up business community.
Umbraco is one of the leading .Net open source content management systems written in C#. Released as an open source platform in 2004 by Niels Hartvig it has quickly become one of the most popular CMS’s systems available today. There are currently over 100,000 websites worldwide running on Umbraco.
It’s also one of the of the most popular choices with many corporate and enterprise level organisations as it provides many of the same features and functionality that you would find within an enterprise content management systems that would normally have to be licensed, such as Sitecore.
Umbraco allows users to manage and update their own website content easily without any technical know-how. It’s extremely flexible, allowing you to manage all of your web content on one platform and integrate seamlessly with other external systems.
Drupal is a PHP based content management system that was originaly created as a message board by Dries Buytaert. The platform became an open-source project in 2001 and as of February 2014 powers more than 1,015,000 websites worldwide ranging from blogs to large corporate sites.
Some well-known sites that are running Drupal include WhiteHouse.gov, World Economic Forum, Stanford University, Sony Music and Examiner.com. Drupal has more than 30,000 free add-ons that have be developed by the community to add additional features and functionality to Drupals core capabilities.
Drupal isn’t as user-friendly as other content management systems like WordPress and is one of the more complex open-source content management systems. Due to its sophisticated programming interface it is recommended that users do have advanced knowledge of PHP and HTML.
In terms of performance and scalability, it does struggle when compared to the likes of WordPress and due to it being a relatively new platform, it doesn’t offer much in the way of backward compatibility so if your website does have to integrate with other 3rd party systems, this may not be the best choice.
Joomla is an award winning and user-friendly open source content management system that allows users to easily build their own websites and powerful applications. It’s written in PHP and stores its’ data in MySQL. It has been downloaded over 50 million times and currently has over 8000 free and paid extensions available via the official Joomla extensions directory making it easy to add additional features very easily without much development work.
Joomla is the second most popular content management system available after WordPress and is used all over the world to power websites ranging from corporate sites, intranets to online magazines and government applications.
With its’ easy to use interface and extensibility, Joomla has become one of the most popular content management systems available.
It’s been designed for the user- making it easy to install and set up even if you don’t have any technical knowledge. There is also a wealth of programmer’s tools and tutorials available online for users should you need any help, and if you can’t find what you are looking for there, there’s also an extensive discussion board which can be accessed by all users.
Similar to WordPress, many web hosting companies now offer a single click install of Joomla allowing business to have the foundation of their website up and running within minutes. Joomla also has a very vibrant community of over 200,000 users and developers who are there to help. Making it a great option for start-up businesses that are looking for a content management system with a bit more under the hood.
Magento is the used by 200,000 merchants worldwide and is one of the leading ecommerce content management systems available on the market today. Customers include Warby Parker, Kurt Geiger, Fred Perry and North Face.
Launched in March 2008, the platform is based on PHP and MySQL and is currently used by some of the web’s most popular online stores. Its’ popularity within the ecommerce space led to it being acquired in February 2011 by eBay who as of June 2011 now own 100% of the company.
There are currently 3 versions of the platform available to online merchants, this includes the Magneto Community Edition which is open source and free to download. Magento Enterprise Edition offers more advanced features and functionalities and has been designed for larger organisations.
Then there is Magento Go which is their cloud based ecommerce solution and has been designed for SME’s who are looking for a platform that doesn’t require installation or software, this is also a direct competitor to other popular shopping platforms such as Shopify and Big Commerce.