When it comes to content management systems, it’s pretty hard to beat WordPress in terms of popularity. Over 20% of all websites use it, which translates into 75 million websites! And one of the reasons why it’s so massive is because of its impressive versatility. It works equally well when powering portals for large corporate entities, small personal blogs, and even e-commerce websites.
Another reason why WordPress is the main CMS for so many people is its plugin library, where you can find just about anything you need for the expansion of basic WordPress functionality. As a result of that, and the size of its community, you can pretty much get support and find instructions and manuals on almost anything you want. The same goes for the selection of pre-made themes and templates, and SEO features.
Then there is the ease of use, which enables you to put together a website without any real knowledge of coding, or any of the programming languages. However, WordPress is not the only CMS out there. There are plenty of competitors which offer similar functionality, such as Joomla, Drupal, Wix, and Squarespace, among others. Let’s take a look at what each one brings to the table and how they stack up against WordPress.
Joomla! Is the second largest CMS. 2.8 million websites powered by Joomla! Is a lot less than WordPress’ 75 millions, but it’s still an impressive number. Like WordPress, it’s easy to use and setup, and requires no advanced technical knowledge. There are also over 1000 free themes and 5000 plugins for you to choose from. While WordPress also enables you to set up an e-commerce website, Joomla! Might have the upper hand here, since it’s so easy to build an online store where you will sell your artisanal products, or set up an essay writing service online.
Just in case you were wondering, Joomla! is also self-hosted and free to use. As you can see Joomla! and WordPress are fairly similar. The only difference is that WordPress offers a lot more, because you get to pick between 3000 themes and over 44.000 plugins.
Drupal powers over 1.3 million websites, and with more than 2000 free themes and 26.000 plugins available, it is a lot closer to WordPress in terms of flexibility than any other CMS. It is also free and self-hosted. But, the difference between Drupal and every other CMS is that it’s the perfect platform if you are looking to build something very complex. The tricky part is that it requires you to have some sound coding fundamentals, which puts it out of reach for most casual users and beginners. The benefit of this approach is that you will become less dependent of plugins, which can be very resource-consuming, and as a result, your websites will perform better.
WordPress and Drupal have been released with only a few years apart, and WordPress’s ease of use clearly appeals to the majority of users and website owners, whereas Drupal is reserved for those which have a more in-depth technical knowledge.
Wix is the easiest to use of the bunch, and that’s why it has been used to build over 1.2 million websites. Since it is a hosted cloud-based service, you won’t have to install anything on your computer. Just like the three tools above, Wix is also free. However, that is true only if you are interested in creating a website which has fairly basic features and functionalities. Of course, you can expand upon it with plugins and themes, but the number of free ones is limited. That could be a problem if you are just starting out and you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
Also, why would you pay for something on Wix, when you can get it for free on WordPress? It has, however, one feature which stands out, and that’s eCommerce support, which would enable you to receive payment from your customers via PayPal.
When it comes to ease of use, Squarespace is on par with WordPress, Wix, and Joomla. Similar to Wix, it provides you with hosting, too. But, you only get the basic plan for free. For everything else, you will have to pay. Every time you need to add a feature, it will cost you, and sometimes, you won’t be able to get the exact functionality that you want. You get all of that for free, apart from hosting, with WordPress, which is also easy to use, and offers so many themes and plugins.
If you are more interested in a solution that would meet all your blogging needs as opposed to a full-sized CMS, then you might want to look into Medium. Medium’s popularity has been growing in the past few years, not just because of the ease with which authors can publish their articles, but also because it functions like a community. From a blogger’s point of view, Medium has a clean and simple writing interface and the ability to present their ideas to the right people.
When it comes to user-side interface, it is pretty much the same, and its responsive, which means it will read well and look good regardless of the device. But, all the simplicity and clutter-free interface come at a price. We are not talking about hosting, because Medium provides that. But, we are talking about the lack of themes, plugins, or any other features which would allow you to customize or expand the functionality of your blog. You don’t even get to create your own custom domain, although Medium has promised that it would change that in the near future.
Tumblr has been around for quite some time now, and while Yahoo hasn’t managed to turn it into something bigger, it’s a platform which many people use. Mind you, nearly all of the functionality is built-in, and the only thing you can really change is the theme. Just like Medium, it is not really a CMS, but it’s a viable option for a personal blog, especially among the younger crowds. Plus, it’s really easy to develop a following. If you just want to share images and publish short posts and not much else, then Tumblr might just be enough.
It’s extremely easy to use, free, and there is no technical knowledge needed. But, there is not much in the way of flexibility, and Tumblr is pretty much free to terminate your blog at any point, which all of your work will be lost. With WordPress, you get all the features that you need for free, as well, and it’s not too difficult to use either.
Ghost is a platform which doesn’t offer the same in terms of flexibility as WordPress does, but it does use the latest technologies, and it’s mostly aimed at professionals oriented to toward blogging and publishing. You don’t get to choose between thousands of plugins, but you do get to have your choice of themes. When it comes to hosting, you can install Ghost on your server, or you can opt to have them host your blog for you. If you are only interested in blogging and nothing else, Ghost might be a viable option, but if you need more than that, WordPress is the way to go.
One of the platforms which doesn’t get mentioned all that often is Craft CMS, which is a mistake, because it does offer something different. Craft CMS enables you to customize just about every single aspect of your website or blog, and in that aspect, it is even more flexible than WordPress. The catch is that it’s primarily aimed at developers. For instance, while Craft CMS does act like the back-end for your website, it does not come with a front-end like WordPress does. You don’t get themes, but you do get a template builder, which you can use to build your own website.
Also, content types are not predefined either. With Craft CMS, you can create as much as 18 types of fields. And it’s also important to point out that it is a CMS used by Netflix. It’s pretty obvious that Craft CMS is not meant for hobbyists or casual users, but it does provide a lot if you are an experienced professional. The platform itself is free to use for personal projects. For commercial projects, you will need to select one of the premium plans.
Shopify is not a CMS, but we have put it on this list because of WordPress plugins, such as WooCommerce, which allow users to create their ecommerce store. This means that these two platforms are competing against each other. So, unlike most of the solutions listed in this article, Shopify was built to help you design your own online store in order to sell your products. When it comes to hosting, there is only one option, and that is to let Shopify host and maintain your website. You do, however, get to choose your own customer domain.
What’s good about Shopify is that it allows you to change or expand the functionality of your online store with plugins and apps. Shopify is an interesting option if you are looking to build an online store and nothing else. If you require any additional stuff, such as blog or an official website, WordPress is a better option.
Google Sites is a decent option if you are looking to design a small website and not much else. It is comparable to platforms like Wix and Squarespace. But, it is very simple to use, and it comes with free hosting. In addition to that, you can set up your own custom domain. Its has a WYSIWYG editor and there is no knowledge of coding required. But, the ease of use comes at a price, because there is not really much you can do in terms of customization, which is why you might want to turn to WordPress if you require a more complex website.
Just in case you were wondering, Blogger is still around, and as far as simple blogging solutions go, it’s pretty hard to beat. While WordPress beats it in terms of features and flexibility, it has some things going for it when compared to similar blogging-only platforms. You can choose between using subdomain or your own custom domain. You can also change the appearance of your blog with themes and templates. There is also the comment section and built-in social media features. But, the best part about it is the fact that you can add Google AdSense to your blog in order to monetize it, since Blogger is owned by Google.
Pulse CMS is not huge name, but it is unique in one aspect. What sets it apart from WordPress and most of the solutions on this list is that it’s a flat CMS, which means it doesn’t rely on a database. That also means that all websites you create with Pulse CMS will be static. It also enables you to add stuff, like back-end editing, in case you are e developer. When compared to WordPress, Pulse CMS appears to be more of a niche platform, designed to be used in very specific circumstances, while WordPress does pretty much everything else except that.
As you can see, there aren’t many reasons why you would choose any other CMS over WordPress. The only option worth exploring is Drupal, because of the level of customization and the performance, but for that, you will need to be skilled when it comes to coding. Also, there are some niche solutions and those aimed solely at bloggers that might work, but it’s still nothing that WordPress can’t do. If you are a user which is not a developer, and you don’t want to bother with coding, then WordPress will provide you everything you will ever need.