A content management system (CMS) is an application that allows users to develop and run their websites accordingly. Featuring an admin panel where you create and update content and subsequent pages with information, posts, images, videos, and others, a CMS can be viewed as a smart and intuitive interface that aids you in designing your online presence.
However, as a cost conscious small business owner, you’ll want to get the CMS for free. Here are a few options to consider.
Most web hosts offer 1-click installs for the most popular content management systems, so you won’t have to worry. Even the cheapest web hosts like bluehost.com offer 1 click installs. Blue Host isn’t free, but they’re well known and have decent customer service.
If you want to change the way your website looks, you can seamlessly do so by using the admin panel and installing themes, afterward altering them as you deem fit. It’s convenient and accessible even for those who don’t have extended computer knowledge –all you need is to click a few buttons, no concern about writing scripts or codes.
What is an Open Source CMS?
Experts often say that the leaders in CMS world are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Not only are these three options free-of-charge, but they are also open-source CMS engines –meaning that their code is open to public knowledge.
In other words, you can edit, customize, or use the core files present on your site, and as time goes by, you can even pitch the developers more efficient ways of upgrading their engine. Here are six options that are guaranteed to spark your interest:
A popular alternative to Google Sites is WordPress, an open-source CMS that is famous that it powers over half of the world’s total number of CMS sites. Of course, the new and updated version has sparked even more talked about how intuitive and comprehensive this tool is, and combined with a committed community of die-hard fans who love the multiple free-of-charge extensions, WordPress is definitely an option to consider.
When it comes to managing your content with WordPress, the situation is quite simple: all you need is to create a page, add it to the existing menu, afterward feeling free to post images, content, videos, and others. Similar to Google Sites, WordPress is free of charge and they’ll do hosting for you for free.
With a simple interface, hundreds of extensions, and a supportive community, what’s not to love about WordPress?
2. Google Sites
Considered one of the most user-friendly CMS around on the market, Google Sites makes it unbelievably easy for you to create and edit a website, possibly as easy as creating a Word document in Microsoft Word.
Featuring an intuitive and fun interface combined with the Google technologies we’ve gotten used to and love (Google Drive documents, Google Maps, and more), you’ll be able to create a website that shares content and information the way you want it to. And while it’s true that Google Sites might lack some of the features that other CMS options in this list have going for them, it’s easy-to-use, quick and efficient –a great place to start, at least for newbies.
Let’s say you’ve already tried WordPress but weren’t head over heels. For those of you who feel that there is a smart alternative you’ll want to know about: Ghost. Developed by former WordPress developers, Ghost has all the bits and pieces you could love about WordPress and then adds the Ghost element on top of that.
Like many of other tools listed here, Ghost is available to be installed on your server. Nonetheless, it’s also available as a paid service, costing only around $19 per month. If you consider that WordPress typically charges around $49 for the same period and similar service, you may start to see already the benefits of switching up your service.
The only thing to note is that Ghost doesn’t offer the option of e-commerce, but it will ultimately depend on what your personal or business needs are.
4. Joomla Content Management System
You can often hear people say that Joomla has found the perfect balance between customization and a user-friendly interface. However, it’s essential to know that this CMS is more intricate than WordPress, thus give yourself some time to get used to it before giving up. Between positional modules on different pages of your website, changing layouts, and assigning plugins, it can be harsh for any newbie and enough to make them want to pull out their own hair.
Nonetheless, Joomla developers have understood that this complicated tool might be too much for some, and are continually trying to come up with inspired solutions to particular design problems –some that are common even with other CMSs.
In a nutshell, Joomla can be viewed as the perfect option for those savvy and knowledge-thirsty people who are eager always to learn more. Yes, it may take some time to learn the ropes, but your efforts will lead to the same love that millions of users have for Joomla. There’s even a start-up course available, where you have all the info needed to launch your first project.
5. Drupal Content Management System
Drupal is a big name when it comes to content management, as users say you can pretty much do anything you want using it. There are multiple options to choose from and provided that you have the eagerness and desire to explore it further, it’s a sight to behold. The base language of Drupal is “free”, but you’ll need specialized labor to do any project implementation.
If you have tried most CMS tools are now shying away from them, Jekyll might just be the tool for you. Featuring comment moderation and other interesting characteristics, this CMS focuses on content more than anything –creating a type of static website.
However, don’t’ be fooled into thinking that you can’t blog using this tool. In fact, Jekyll features some essential import tools for a host of different blogging platforms, ranging from WordPress to Blogger and more.
All in all, Jekyll will offer a CMS that is ideal for start-ups and modest business websites that want to focus on the quality of their content more than anything. A bonus of using it is that you can enjoy free hosting too when you install it on Github –saving you both time and money.
6. CM Systems Don’t Make Content – You’ll Have To Do That
As a bit of a follow on – all of these are content management systems, which means that they’ll manage your content – not make any for you. If you want to produce content – like text articles, videos or images, you’ll need to make it yourself or hire someone to do it. If you’re looking to hire someone to make content for you, consider a company like topcontent.com, or scripted.com. Content production is extremely competitive, so asking around should quickly let you find the best value.
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Image Credit, Sean MacEntee via Flickr.