WordPress Wednesday: Top 5 CMS Alternatives
:: By Briley Kenney, Template Monster ::
WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular content management system (CMS). The entire platform can be overhauled to work with any type of site be it a blog, professional online publication, e-tailer or other website business. According to the platform's founder, nearly 18 percent of all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress.
All of that aside, while it may be one of the most used CMS platforms around that doesn't necessarily mean it's ideal for everyone. Worse yet, if you just chose the most popular option without even considering the alternatives you might miss quite a bit. You may even hate WordPress entirely. In that light, we're going to take a look at five CMS platforms that serve as excellent alternatives to WordPress.
Top Five CMS Alternatives to WordPress
Unfortunately, Umbraco is not ideal for personal blogs or smaller websites. That is because it was designed with much larger organizations in mind. It's currently used by brands like wired.co.uk, Vogue and asp.net.
According to the Umbraco site, it "is the choice of many organizations because of its no-cost, open-source licensing, its simplicity, and its unlimited potential.” It was built from the ground up for Microsoft's .NET technology, and as such it is mainly a CMS for .NET developers. Of course, it can also be modified to work more naturally as a CMS too.
Again, it's great for larger organizations and developers who use the .NET framework and related applications on a regular basis. It is open source which means it supports third-party modifications and additions, but even without the added support it works great as-is. The user interface is simple and convenient, and the platform includes support for media and digital assets similar to WordPress.
The .NET support also means that if you have a skilled developer or two on hand you can shape the platform to work exactly how you need it.
Joomla is arguably one of WordPress' biggest competitors. Behind the platform is a very active community of developers and bloggers. Together they've created more than 7,000 extensions for the platform that add all kinds of functionality and features. In fact, you can find an extension that does almost anything. They can be likened to plugins for WordPress.
The downfall of this CMS is that you'll have to pay before you can access most plugins or visual themes. This is similar to WordPress, except Joomla does not have as many free options floating around.
That said, it's a very powerful CMS and will work well for just about any site. You can even use it for a personal blog, or independent publication.
Drupal is similar to both Joomla and WordPress yet it's not quite so full-featured as those two platforms. That's not to say you can't do some great things with it, as you can see on sites such as The Economist, Examiner and even The White House.
The latest version, Drupal 7, is said to be an “easier, more flexible and more scalable” CMS. After installing Drupal you can enhance the platform by installing various themes, modules (plugins), and translations if you need support for multiple languages. There are plenty of helpful guides and tutorials on working with the platform, and most Web hosts offer native Drupal support.
The community behind Drupal is not as active as the one behind Joomla, but you won't ever run into any trouble getting assistance.
SilverStripe is actually a lot like WordPress, however it's better suited for content management as opposed to traditional blogging. The platform also has a positive reputation for SEO, as well.
Like most of the other options on this list, SilverStripe is open source and includes support for add-ons or extensions. The add-ons are independently developed by the community, and like WP the SilverStripe site includes an up-to-date database for add-ons.
The development team behind SilverStripe is currently working to translate their entire CMS framework for more than a dozen languages. After the translation is completed, we'll likely see a huge boost in user engagement with the platform as folks from all over the world get in on the action.
One of the best alternatives on this list, GetSimple is an XML based CMS platform that has a remarkably convenient user interface. The core idea behind the platform is that it's incredibly simple to use, hence the name GetSimple.
It is easy to install and customize once the platform is up and running, which is important for a lot of independent bloggers and developers. Although it's not as full-featured as WordPress or some of the other options in this list, there's enough available that it can be used for virtually anything.
It's open source, support multiple users and has excellent community support. The platform can be enhanced through plugins, visual themes and more. Extensions are easy to install and setup just like the platform, which means anyone can do it - even if you've never used a CMS before.
Each of the Top Five CMS Alternatives Has Something to Offer
To be perfectly honest, it doesn't matter whether Drupal, Joomla, GetSimple or even WordPress is the best platform or not. What matters is that the CMS you choose offers the features you need for your site install. Every one of the CMS options listed work great, and they each offer a unique set of features for the most part. Some of the younger platforms aren't going to offer the kind of robust support you might need if you're doing something out of the ordinary with your site. That said, they may be easier to use overall or may even include a better user interface. It really just depends on what you're looking for.
In the end, you can't go wrong choosing one of these CMS alternatives for your site.
Briley Kenney is a self-proclaimed wordsmith climbing his way to the top, one article at a time. Currently Briley writes for publications such as Template Monster, WebpageFX, and SmartWatches.org. Recently, he served as a valuable member of the Little Killerz dev team producing in-game content for Tales of Illyria Episode One and Two. The team is currently working on the third game in the series. You can check them out on Google Play.