The Guide to DIY Content Management Systems
There are hundreds of ways that today's digital-focused enterprises can establish a website.
While the focus of Website Magazine over the past 10 years has been to guide 'Net-based businesses (of any size or experience) to take advantage of enterprise-grade content management systems and e-commerce platforms - as well as technology solutions (e.g. frameworks) for developing a custom presence - there are alternatives for those that want to do it (build and manage a website) on their own - without the assistance of a qualified designer or developer.
These DIY platforms have come a long way. The leading solutions (which include Wix, Weebly, Squarespace a and others - as seen below) are now relatively powerful development environments, supporting numerous integrations and offering up a sound back-end for creating a 'Net presence. Of course, that's not always the case. Let's take a closer look at some of the leaders (and losers) in the space and what you as a Web business can expect from their use.
Wix: A free website builder (paid options plans available) with hundreds of vertical specific templates, a recently retooled back-end that has done away with Flash in favor of an HTML5-based approach, and an extensive application market for websites to integrate additional functionality - from email to analytics. Wix, which gained wider adoption thanks to a series of high-profile television commercials, is currently the leading option for the DIY web design set.
Weebly: Another popular option for designing websites with relative ease, Weebly (founded in 2006) users can not only create a websites, but roll out their own online store, weblog, and even their own mobile application. The solution is available in 12 languages and offers a range of pricing options including a free plan and premium plans from $4 to $29/month.
Jimdo: Entering the "second-tier" of these DIY website solutions, Jimdo is an affordable, somewhat feature-packed service for those looking for a simple solution to their digital design challenges. While a free plan is available, the company's premium plans (ranging from $7.50 to $20/month) are proving ideal for both startup freelancers and emerging businesses.
Squarespace: Positioned more as a "SaaS-based content management system" than a DIY site builder, Squarespace provides a fully hosted environment for creating a website without all the hassle (just like the rest of those listed here). The code that results (again, just like the others) is a little clunky/messy, but it does apparently serve those that use it quite well.