© Nead, LLC

Menu Close
Close

The 5 Most Underestimated, But Best CMS Platforms for Web Design

Are you trying to decide which content management system (CMS) platform is best to build your website? You have plenty of options, but some of the most powerful platforms might fly under the radar if you’re not familiar with them.

In this article, you’ll learn about the top five website content management systems that are more powerful than you think, but first, let’s look at the important factors to consider when choosing your CMS platform.

Factors to consider when choosing a website platform

Is it secure?

According to Techjury, 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Unfortunately, cybercrime is something that never decreases – it’s been on the rise since the beginning of the internet. When choosing a CMS platform for your website, it’s critical to choose one that will provide you with the best security. If you’re going to store sensitive data, like names, email addresses, birthdates, and credit card information, you can’t skimp on security, or you could end up facing regulatory fines for violating data protection laws.

Although you need a secure website platform, you can’t rely on your CMS platform to fully secure your site. There is a shared responsibility for security, and the majority of security tasks fall on the end user. For example, software developers are responsible for patching known vulnerabilities and releasing updated versions of their CMS software, but end users are generally responsible for:

  • Setting and maintaining secure passwords
  • Configuring databases correctly
  • Setting up MFA
  • Controlling access to accounts and data
  • Hosting the installation on a secure web server
  • Creating, maintaining, and enforcing security policies

The responsibilities vary based on the CMS software, but in general, even when you find a secure CMS platform, you’ll have security responsibilities, too.

Is it user-friendly?

The best website platforms are intuitive and user-friendly. This is important because if building your website is not intuitive and you can’t figure out how to work with the platform, you’re going to get frustrated and eventually give up, which means you will have wasted your entire investment in that platform. You’ll also want to know when choosing the best CMS platform if it allows for advanced users or whether it requires coding knowledge or technical knowledge to address simple fixes.

Is it hosted?

When building your website, you have two options: self-hosted and hosted. The most popular self-hosted platform is a WordPress site. Although, there are others like Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Umbraco. A self-hosted website platform is one that you need to upload and configure on your own hosting account. Nothing is ready out-of-the-box. However, you’ll have the most control when you use a self-hosted platform. WordPress, for example, is free and open source, which means you can have a custom website just about any way you want. WordPress plugins are also ubiquitous, which means they’re supported by a large developer base.

There are pros and cons of using a hosted website provider, and only you will know what’s best for your situation. Hosted platforms are services like Webflow, Wix, and Weebly. When you sign up for your account, there is only one account for you to manage. On the other hand, when your platform isn’t hosted, you need to buy your domain name and a separate hosting account and set them up to work together.

If you know how to set your DNS records and other records for email, then you could go either way. However, if you want the process to be easy, a hosted website account is the best option.

Can I make necessary customizations?

If you don’t need any customizations to your website, you’re in the minority. Most people need at least small customizations to whatever website template they’ve chosen to use. Sometimes these customizations are purely aesthetic, but chances are, you’ll need some custom features.

Can you customize your website’s features? For example, can you add JavaScript? Web forms? Can you integrate analytics programs? While most platforms allow basic customizations, some don’t allow even basic JavaScript. That’s unfortunate, because most analytics programs rely on adding JavaScript to your code.

Is it affordable?

Affordability is a major factor in choosing a website platform. For WordPress, you won’t have to pay for the software, but you will need to buy a theme and pay for any premium plugins and customizations. Still, it won’t cost you as much as other platforms. WordPress has become so popular that good themes can be found for under $100, and there are plenty of free, high-quality plugins that will meet most of your needs.

However, WordPress is self-hosted, so if you’re looking at hosted solutions you can expect to pay a monthly fee to maintain your website. You can also expect to pay a lot more for additional features through paid, premium plugins. Although, it’s worth the cost if you aren’t tech savvy enough to manage your own web hosting account and prefer having everything set up for you from the start.

Is there support?

Access to customer support is critical if you aren’t someone who can manage your own website and hosting account on the back end. For self-hosted options, like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, you won’t get technical support. You can find discussion forums to ask questions and get support from developers who work with those platforms, but there’s no guarantee they’ll have time to help, nor is there any guarantee they can solve your issues.

When you choose a hosted platform, like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Webflow, you’ll have access to official support, and you can open tickets to have your issues resolved quickly.

Will it be around for a while?

An important consideration is whether or not your website platform will be around for a long time to come. You don’t want to build your website on a platform that will disappear for any reason.

Popular hosted platforms, like Shopify and Weebly, have been around for a while and it doesn’t seem like there would be any reason for them to disappear. They’ve been well established and have a dedicated team of developers working on new releases, and the businesses are doing well. The platforms to avoid are ones that aren’t that popular and haven’t been around long.

Here’s a list of the top 5 lesser-known website platforms, in no particular order, that are often underestimated.

1. Weebly

Weebly

Weebly is one of the most basic and simple of all website platforms, but it can be powerful if you don’t need many customizations. If all you need is a simple website to sell a handful of products, or display your company’s information, Weebly might be the best option.

The benefits of Weebly are as follows:

  • Sites load quickly.
  • Basic sites are free with a Weebly domain.
  • It’s easy and affordable to connect a custom domain to Weebly.
  • There is a built-in blog that gives you control over your URLs
  • Weebly comes with built-in visitor statistics.
  • You can integrate Google Analytics into your Weebly site.
  • Weebly offers an email marketing system and other marketing tools.
  • You can sell products with an integrated shopping cart system.
  • Your site will be mobile-friendly.

While Weebly is a simple and easy way to get a website, it’s not extensively customizable. Templates are limited, but if you don’t need much, it’s a good value for the cost.

2. Webflow

Webflow

Webflow is a relatively new website builder, and you might not realize how powerful it is until you play around with the builder. Webflow is the cream of the crop when it comes to visual editing since you can both build your website and edit the content visually right on the page from the front end. In other words, you can visit your website and navigate to the site’s web pages, and as long as you’re logged in, you can edit your content directly on the page.

Even though Webflow consists of a primarily visual editor, you can still edit the HTML code directly. Or you can hire a Webflow developer to create and/or customize your Webflow website.

Some of the top benefits of using Webflow include:

  • Responsive design every time. Traditionally, you’d need to design your site in different ways to make sure it works for smartphones and tablets in both landscape and portrait modes. Webflow automatically creates a responsive version of your site that works for all mobile devices in any orientation. From there, you can customize the design for specific mobile devices.
  • Create interactive animations. There aren’t any other platforms that make it easy to create interactive elements. Normally, you’d have to make your own or hire a developer, and good luck getting a developer to capture your exact vision! Webflow makes it easy to create interactive elements on your own without any programming knowledge.
  • Your content writers can fix typos. When you use Webflow, you can give your content creators an account to publish and edit content directly. This means when they find typos, they can fix it immediately without bothering you or submitting a ticket through your company’s portal.
  • Automatic backups. Every 20th time you save changes to your website, the system creates an automatic backup.

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce

At first glance, BigCommerce might seem like just another hosted website builder, but it’s got a key feature that makes it ideal for some businesses. Namely, BigCommerce integrates with your stores on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and other selling platforms. It can also be syndicated to shopping feeds, like Shopzilla.

Other than this unique feature, it’s pretty standard. BigCommerce sites are mobile-friendly, easy to optimize for SEO, and come with a strong inventory management system. You can also hire a BigCommerce developer to have it customized to meet your needs.

4. Squarespace

Squarespace

Squarespace has the smoothest checkout process of all the hosted website builders out there. If you know the value of a smooth and easy checkout process, then you know this is a golden feature.

Squarespace takes pride in offering a simple and easy website solution for your e-commerce store, rather than complicated features. If you don’t need a fancy website with a bunch of features, Squarespace is a great option.

Although the templates are limited, the aesthetics are high-quality. There is a drag-and-drop editor, so you don’t need to know code, and the templates are highly customizable. Squarespace is an excellent choice for any business that just needs the basics and values ease of use over all else.

5. Wix

Wix

Similar to Weebly, Wix is one of the simplest website builders around. However, if you don’t need complexity and custom features, it might be perfect for your needs. The templates are professional and customizable on a basic level, so you can get a website that represents your brand. You can run a secure ecommerce business on Wix, or you can run a basic business website and a blog – it’s up to you.

Need a website? We’ll build your site on your preferred CMS

Do you need a website? We’ll create it for you, whether you want to use WordPress, Weebly, Webflow, BigCommerce, or any other content management system or web builder. Our team of professional designers and developers are experts in web development and can build anything from a basic website to an involved ecommerce site with thousands of products for sale.

We can create and customize your website on any popular CMS platform you prefer. If you’re not sure which other CMS platforms you’d like to use, we can help you make the right decision by assessing your needs. Once you get your website off the ground, we can continue to maintain it for you, or you can take over the editing yourself. Contact us today and tell us about your project – we’d love to work with you!

Ryan Nead
Top