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The Top 10 WordPress CMS Alternatives

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WordPress has made its name as the go-to content management systems (CMS) for businesses to represent their brand, goods, and services online.

10 Best WordPress AlternativesHowever, that doesn’t mean WordPress CMS alternatives aren’t worth evaluating. In fact, you may find that they better support your company’s unique needs than WordPress does. So, how exactly do you determine what the alternatives are and why they may be worth switching to?

Find out in this comprehensive guide to 10 WordPress CMS alternatives. It highlights the most significant advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can make an informed decision about which is right for your business.

Best All-in-One: Sitejet

Advantages

Sitejet all-in-one web design platformIf you’re looking to streamline the processes of building, managing, and launching business websites, Sitejet is one of the best WordPress CMS alternatives for the job. It’s an all-in-one platform that offers all the fundamental functions you’ll need. It’s easy to get your website off the ground with its automatic website generator and easy-to-use CMS.

Sitejet’s templates are fully customizable and are designed to meet a wide range of needs. What’s more, Sitejet includes additional features not found in many other CMSs—such as a CRM, customer portal, and project time-tracking, as well as SSL, CDN, and DDoS protection.

Disadvantages

A drawback of Sitejet is that it offers comparatively fewer templates for use than WordPress and many other CMS options. Sitejet currently offers more than 70 templates, whereas the WordPress community provides thousands to choose from.

This would be less of an issue if Sitejet allowed you to import and make use of third-party templates, but for now you’re limited to only the ones Sitejet provides.

Likewise, you are restricted to using the plug-ins already found on Sitejet. While there isn’t really a need to install any other plug-ins, as Sitejet’s are sufficient, if there is one you really want to use, you’ll need to email their support team to find a solution.

Best for Publishing Content to a Wide Audience: Medium

Advantages

Medium content publishing platformThere’s a good chance that you’ve read articles on Medium that you may not have otherwise come across. That’s because Medium offers publishers the ability to reach new audiences in a way many other CMS options simply don’t.

Not only can people find content by searching through relevant categories, they may also find articles via a unique system that promotes popular content. Basically, the more “hearts” an article receives from readers, the more exposure it will be rewarded with. Additionally, the most popular content will get featured on Medium’s curated lists as well as daily emails to its subscribers.

Disadvantages

The major disadvantage—or, in the eyes of some, advantage—of Medium is that it only serves as a third-party content publishing platform. It does not allow you to do anything more than publish and spread the word about your content.

Consequently, unlike WordPress and most other CMS options, you cannot build a typical website on top of Medium. That is why most businesses that use Medium do so in addition or supplement to their own website.

Another disadvantage is that although you can link to your website in your profile and articles, as everything is hosted on Medium and all links are no-follow; there is no link equity or SEO benefit to publishing on Medium.

Best for Sleek Templates: Squarespace

Advantages

Squarespace website builderIf you’re looking for an incredibly simple way to set up a website, your best bet may be Squarespace. Indeed, if you’ve ever seen a site built on Squarespace, you’ll quickly notice that they all have a distinctively sleek quality to them that many WordPress templates lack.

In short, Squarespace has found the magic formula to making attractive websites that are incredibly easy to put together. The secret to their magic formula is their large library of specific-purpose designer templates. You can use their handy template search tool to find the ideal one to support your company’s goals.

Disadvantages

These advantages come at a cost—literally. Squarespace is comparatively more expensive than many other CMS options, including WordPress.

Additionally, some users have complained that some marketing features—such as SEO tools—are either lacking or difficult to find. For instance, page speed on Squarespace lags behind many other CMSs. With SEO being a huge consideration in developing a strong web presence, its importance shouldn’t be underestimated.

Best for Supporting a Variety of Content Types: Drupal

Advantages

Drupal open source CMSIf you want your website to offer users a variety of content types, Drupal may be the CMS for you. While other CMS options, including WordPress, may be limited in how many types they support, Drupal offers the most comprehensive number in this regard.

From podcasts to discussion boards to polls, this CMS offers a truly versatile experience. It’s no wonder it can boast clients like Wendy’s and The George Washington University.

Beyond this, Drupal offers functionality that arguably exceeds WordPress. If you have a vision in mind, it’s entirely possible to bring it to life with Drupal.

Disadvantages

In order to take advantage of Drupal’s benefits, you’ll need a certain level of technical know-how. Drupal’s advanced interface and system requirements are not designed for those with limited CMS management knowledge, so beginners may find it challenging to wrap their heads around its idiosyncrasies.

While Drupal, like WordPress, allows you to build a fully customizable website, you’re reliant on the modules that Drupal provides. Moreover, while many of these modules are free, if you want more sophisticated ones, you’ll have to fork out to buy them.

Best for Customization: Joomla

Advantages

Joomla Flexible Platform Empowering Website CreatorsJoomla can boast of being the second most popular CMS platform after—you guessed it—WordPress. Why is Joomla so popular? One reason is because it’s completely free to use. But free doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features.

Joomla is open source, and developers are constantly contributing improvements. Unlike many CMS options, Joomla doesn’t constrain users to work within certain parameters to build their website. Instead, they actively promote users to customize their experience using extensions, templates, and more.

Disadvantages

One of the major disadvantages of Joomla is that the add-ons are more limited than those on WordPress. Similar to Drupal, those lacking technical knowledge may struggle to navigate their way through the CMS and use it to its full capacity.

Another point of consideration that is in equal parts an advantage and disadvantage is that Joomla is regularly updated. It’s a positive that improvements and fixes are continually made to ensure the CMS is the best it can possibly be. However, some users have complained that the updates sometimes cause the add-ons to break.

Best for Developer Support: CMS Made Simple

Advantages

CMS Made Simple Open Source Content Management SystemIf you’re after a CMS that provides significant assistance to developers to do their job well, CMS Made Simple is well worth taking a look at. For instance, CMS Made Simple has selected Smarty as their code of choice, which many developers appreciate due to the fact that it supports the creation of custom-made, responsive designs.

This CMS also actively encourages developers to work effectively with one another. As the company explains in their video, “Our modules talk to each other naturally—there’s no need to worry about whether individual developers support each other’s modules.”

Disadvantages

Although the CMS promotes itself as being simple to use, they note that you need to have a minimum basic understanding. While WordPress is reasonably intuitive for non-developers, CMS Made Simple requires you to possess skills such as basic HTML and CSS, creating databases, and manipulating permissions on remote hosts.

Those skills are generally considered to be at an intermediate skill level, so this won’t be a sound choice if you’re a beginner.

Best Database-Free CMS: Statamic

Advantages

Statamic simple website creatorThe primary draw of Statamic is that it is a database-free CMS. Statamic works on a flat file engine that is based on Markdown and YAML files. Compare this to most CMSs, including WordPress, that will store your content in a database.

So what’s the advantage of a CMS without a database (in their case, the MySQL database)? Statamic explains that they work on this system in order to “unlock the ability to create and support any data structures you can imagine, and provide you with a Control Panel that is flexible in ways you may assume are impossible.”

Moreover, local file storage means that Statamic can boast greater security to users.

Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages is that if you’re used to using a database-based CMS like WordPress, it may take a while to get used to the differences involved in a database-free CMS.
There are also certain functional limitations to relying on a flat file engine that may prove disruptive to the user experience.

Fundamental functions that can be easily done with a database-based CMS, such as sorting out and tracking down content in an advanced manner, can be much harder on a flat file engine.

Best Static Site Generator: Jekyll

Advantages

Transform plain text into static websites and blog with JekyllIn contrast to Statamic’s flat file engine, Jekyll works on a static site generator. The main advantage of static site generators is that they offer users fast load speed and version control.

For this reason, many people consider it to be a lightweight version of WordPress. Although this CMS is commonly associated with personal blogs, it’s powerful enough for use by businesses and other ventures. In fact, Barack Obama’s campaign website used Jekyll.

Disadvantages

Some functions that are standard on most CMSs are not possible on Jekyll. For instance, you aren’t able to schedule posts or edit your photos within the CMS. This gets to the crux of the problem anyone looking to create dynamic, regularly updated websites will find with Jekyll: it is only designed to support static content.

Best for eCommerce Stores: Shopify

Advantages

Best ecommerce CMS - ShopifyWhen you think “eCommerce platform” most people’s minds turn to Shopify. With more than half a billion active stores established on it, including big names like Sephora, Oreo, and Rebecca Minkoff, you’ll be in good company if you set up your store on Shopify.

But why is it the go-to eCommerce platform? Shopify has proven itself to be highly functional, reliable, and relatively easy-to-use as far as eCommerce platforms go. Shopify has managed to make the usually complicated process of setting up an eCommerce store easy by cutting out the need for any technical knowledge in this area.

You also won’t need to worry about hosting or finding appropriate software to set up your store since Shopify provides these built-in.

Disadvantages

If you don’t require eCommerce functionality, it wouldn’t make sense to use Shopify as your CMS.

In terms of its disadvantages as an eCommerce platform, the biggest complaint is its fees. In addition to the monthly usage plan, you will likely want or need to buy additional third-party apps and plug-ins to make your store really shine.

Some users have complained that the fees for these third-party payment apps can be quite high and can add up quickly. Another criticism directed at Shopify by some users is that the learning curve is steep when you first get started on the platform compared to other eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce.

Best for Anyone Who Wants to Avoid HTML: Jimdo

Advantages

Jimdo AI-powered website builderWhether you simply don’t like using HTML or you’ve never gotten the hang of it, you’ll be excited to learn that there are many CMS alternatives that don’t require you to use it. Perhaps the best of the bunch is Jimdo. In fact, similar to Squarespace, you won’t need any coding knowledge whatsoever; they provide a variety of intuitive templates that can be used to set up your site.

Jimdo promises to help you set up an SEO-friendly, mobile-responsive website in just three minutes. How does it offer such speedy website setup? Through its use of artificial intelligence. Simply answer a few questions, pick a template, and you’ll be ready to go.

Disadvantages

The name of the game is simplicity at Jimdo, so if you want to implement more advanced features, this may not be the best choice. For example, the 40 or so templates on offer are customizable, but only to a certain degree. You won’t be able to drag-and-drop everything as you wish, since Jimdo wants to prevent what it considers less-than-ideal placement of certain elements.

This is fine for the average user, but if you want to customize your site at an advanced level, you may find you’re restricted in how you can manipulate the templates.

Conclusion

Obviously, there are many WordPress CMS alternatives to choose from, each with certain advantages and disadvantages. Overall, if you don’t need the ecommerce functionality of Shopify, Sitejet stands out as the best option: it’s easier to use than Drupal or Joomla, is better for SEO than Squarespace or Medium, and doesn’t have the limitations of Jekyll or Statamic.

Finding the ideal CMS to meet your company’s needs will require a bit of research, but this guide should help you get started on the right track.