Best of 2011 - Content Management Systems

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The right content management system (CMS) can make all the difference in the world when it comes to Web success, especially for small businesses without big budgets to dedicate to IT and Web development (although some of the largest brands in the world utilize content management systems as well, so it’s hard not to stress their importance).

If you’re not already using a CMS, you probably should be (considering it, at least); and if you are, are you sure that it’s the best option? Here are five CMS companies who had great years in 2011, and could be your saving grace in 2012.

You’ve probably at least heard of Joomla before. Because it is a free open source website creation tool, it often gets compared to Drupal as a sort of knockoff, but in reality it is a much better system. Like both WordPress and Drupal, Joomla allows you to build websites and Web applications, and you can increase their functionality and flexibility by adding “extensions” (feature add-ons similar to WordPress plugins). As a plus, the most updated version of Joomla is even easier for new users to manage thanks in part to refined admin panel, which makes it ideal for some not-so-savvy business owners looking to make it big on the Web.

Though aimed at marketers, this free open source CMS is a useful tool for any Web professional, specifically because users are able to edit content on the site directly from the page. This primary feature provides “blocks” that can contain text, images or more complicated content like image slideshows, comments systems, file lists, maps and more. The CMS also allows users to connect their websites to the concrete5 Marketplace to automatically upgrade software and downloaded or purchased add-ons.

This simple, secure and flexible community-developed CMS is a great fit for businesses of any size. It is database-driven and fully modularized so that users can install the modules that possess the features they need and don’t have to bother with those that they don’t. It also features multi-byte language support, a theme-based skinnable interface and worldwide support through the ImpressCMS community.

CMS MadeSimple
CMS MadeSimple is a free, lightweight content management solution that is especially applicable for smaller sites. Its robust user interface includes a Web-based administration section for theme, template and stylesheet development, the installation (and updating) of add-on modules, configuring blocks of content on a page and managing user groups and permissions.

For those who need to bolster their SEO practices, Etomite is the ideal CMS. Because it allows the end user to control almost everything about a website, from layout to meta tag generation, users can more easily optimize their sites for search engine results pages. Some of the key features include: Word processor-like (WYSIWYG) document editing to add tables, images and formated text to a page without HTML knowledge, a modern and intuitive interface, template-driven page design and free support. In addition, this CMS can also be incorporated with AJAX functionality without any AJAX system knowledge through a backend editor.

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HaroldV 12-29-2011 12:33 AM


DanielP 12-29-2011 9:41 PM

Michael, you had an opportunity to write a really great piece and you dropped the ball big time. You start your supposed "Top CMS Platforms of 2011"' with Joomla? Really?

Joomla's "growth" year over year has declined significantly (in 2010 downloads DROPPED by nearly 40%). And you make only passing mention of WordPress. According to Water & Stone's 2011 CMS Market Share Report, WordPress dominates the CMS market in key metrics. An analysis of the top one million most heavily trafficked websites by W3Techs revealed that 53.6% of those sites are powered by WordPress, compared to Joomla's 9.6%.

Here's a link to the whitepaper for full analysis:

And here's a post I wrote last summer when WordPress broke the 50 Million download milestone:

If you need to omit the link to the post I wrote I'm Ok with that, but do yourself, your readers and your credibility a favor and share the whitepaper.

Michael Garrity 12-30-2011 2:53 PM


I just wanted to get back to you about your concerns with WordPress being left off this list. First, I think there may be some misconceptions about the purpose of the list, which admittedly I didn’t necessarily make clear in my post. This is simply a list of CMS platforms that proved useful for businesses (based on various testimonials, user numbers, features, etc.) in one way or another in 2011 and a rundown of why a company may want to consider adopting one of these platforms in the upcoming year.

I made this list with the intention of trying to help Web professionals who may not be as familiar with the many options they have when it comes to choosing a CMS (this is why I ask, “If you are [using a CMS], are you sure that it’s the best option?”). WordPress is, as you’ve pointed out, incredibly popular and anyone with any sort of Web knowledge is probably going to be aware of it. It’s such a widely used tool that we probably write about it nearly once a week here at Website Magazine. It seemed redundant to write a post and use one of just five spots to reinforce and remind our readers of how great WordPress is.

Granted, that may not make this a traditional “best of” list. Thank you for your input, and it’s great that you shared the Water & Stone whitepaper for our readers to check out, as it provides some excellent information about WordPress’ dominance in the CMS market.

RandyC 12-30-2011 6:36 PM

I'm glad you gave credit to Joomla.  I've been following it for three years now, and I'm excited by the significant advances it has made in 2011.  It is well suited for corporate projects. And it is more than just a CMS - it is a framework from which powerful applications can be built to extend the platform. This is lost on the do-it-yourself website crowd, but for those of us who work with the CMS at the code level and develop tailored solutions, this is a big gain - and perhaps why you wrote "in reality it is a much better system."

"Popularity" can suggest widespread use by the non-technical masses and not necessarily the more capable system.  (Facebook is the most widely used publishing system, but who would argue it is the most capable for business websites?!)  Rather, check the opinions of developers world-wide, and you have more telling numbers:

DougM 12-30-2011 9:43 PM

Daniel - I believe that you are "right on" with Joomla as #1.  WordPress numbers are bloated due to the online blog version. Download numbers are inconclusive because Joomla Developers that build from templates download Joomla from the many template provider websites instead of proper.  As a developer that has built hundreds of Joomla sites in the last 5 years I can tell you it is best for my business and our number one CMS.  I have also built WordPress sites and was just not impressed, although in the past WordPress seemed to be the better choice for SEM/SEO, not as much now starting with Joomla versions 1.6 and beyond.  

Daniel, I think you are right on the money.  As a developer, I appreciate your post.

DougM 12-30-2011 9:50 PM

Opps - meant "Michael" above, sorry Daniel.

Gary Jay Brooks 12-31-2011 6:30 PM

The Joomla community is like a family and we take care of each other.  

Joomla has and will continue to be the first pick for web developers. We have a awesome new product and a since loading our platform into GITHUB the community has been very active in helping the project improve.

Join the action.

AyeshaS 09-11-2013 2:07 PM

How about Drupal?

I had been working on Drupall CMS from the past 5 years and every year the number of users are increasing even without any promotion. If you consider Magento, number of users are actually reducing, probably moving to Drupal.


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