What CMS is right for you? Tell me.

Over the last couple years the company I work for has been working on the development of a site using a CMS (Content management System) platform, a good change in my opinion and something that many companies are moving towards with their sites now as it allows for quick and efficient changes to a site without requiring a full time developer or web designer on your staff.

That said, as CMS platforms become more popular, more choices for systems begin to pop up. It was only a handful of years ago where we were limited to Drupal or WordPress, but now we have a plethora of new emerging alternatives, though in all honesty these are still by far the most popular and efficient platforms to date.

So who are these emerging platforms and why should I care?

For anyone who has to be a decision maker for choosing a CMS, it’s going to happen that at some point, someone in your office will ask you why you chose brand X over Brand Y.

So what are the alternatives to WordPress and Drupal?

The third most popular CMS is probably Joomla, though that popularity isn’t all positive. Many users seem to have a strong love and hate relationship with the platform, but based on the amount of third party modules, plugins, and themes, there are definitely enough users out there to attempt to rival the big two.

While there are others that various groups will mention such as Silverstripe, Radiant CMS, Concrete5 and Frog; I’ve recently taken a look at two I thought may be worth watching as well, Modx and Business Catalyst (BC).

My first impression of Modx was that I liked it, but I liked it for the wrongs reasons. It has a lot of control over the code handled by each page, as well as assigning individual templates to my pages; however, the interface and controls are built based on the assumptions that someone with a web design background who has a good grasp of HTML and PHP would be facilitating the changes. This in my opinion is not always the person behind the CMS. Similar to Drupal, you’d probably end up having to hire a developer to build the initial layout and functionality and then hand it off to someone to manage the content.

Business catalyst on the other hand is much more intuitive and friendly, while still allowing its users to touch the code if needed. Very similar to WordPress in the feel of it, but the thing that makes me hesitate is the price tag. Yes, “BC” as it’s referred to has a free version, but it comes with some limitations and the whole model of the organization is to make a big push for developers to buy into the partnership and then sell it to their customers. While it may work for some, I don’t think BC would be the most appropriate CMS for every customer, but if I’m financially invested in it, it’d be hard in my mind to NOT want to push it on all my customers.

I’ll continue to take a look at other CMS platforms as they pass through my inbox, and I’d welcome users to comment about their experiences with any of these platforms and tell me what they like best about each, or even what they don’t like. In my mind, I’m still a fan of Drupal and WordPress, though for two different groups and two different reasons, but feel free to tell me why others are better.

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