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Which CMS is best for my project?

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content management systems

Different projects, different requirements. In the jungle of content management systems (CMS), you can quickly get lost as a beginner. In this article, I would like to introduce some systems and give an insight into the topic of content management.

CMS – what is it? Do I need that?

Content Management Systems (CMSs) or CMS are software packages that enable administrators to easily manage the contents of their Web site. Texts can thus be written and changed in most cases without any programming knowledge and just as comfortably as in a word processor (eg Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer).
Since most users are familiar with these systems, content editing is easy and fast. This saves not only time, but also money: most changes are so easy to make that an agency after the first set up is usually no longer needed.

Maybe one or the other will ask at this point: If all this is so easy, then I can not immediately save the cost of creating my website by an agency? – This question can only be answered with “yes”. Of course it is possible: there are many ready-made and free themes and extensions, also the configuration and contents can be created and adopted. However, the end result is often sobering: you can see that lay people were at work. Not only that many themes come along with outdated software, the configuration options too often overwhelm beginners. If you want a reasonable end result and also be found by search engines should you prefer to give the work in professional hands and save the time and effort.

Current content management systems – an overview

There are big differences among CMS. Some are designed to be very user-friendly, others have a huge range of features. Which content management system is suitable for which project will be described in the following sections.

According to wappalyzer , the global distribution of market shares in June 2016 was as follows:

global distribution of CMS systems

  1. WordPress
    Everybody’s Darling – Originally intended as a blog system, WordPress, which has been under development since 2003, dominates the worldwide CMS market. With a staggering 67 percent, it ranks number one in the most used systems. Even assuming that three out of four websites are blog-only, WordPress is still well ahead. How come? WordPress is user-friendly and there are countless extensions. As a result, many freelancers and agencies have specified this system. Most installations of the software seem to be quite “rigid” in the structure and the trained eye usually recognizes WordPress systems at the first (or second) view. The system is suitable for smaller corporate websites with a static layout.
  2. Joomla! 
    Our darling. Joomla is historically the successor of the CMS Mambo and has its roots in the year 2000. Since then, a lot has happened: you can find in forums and blogs still entries that the handling of the content management system difficult to learn, it is in our experience the one with which our customers can best cope. Joomla impresses with its high flexibility and is behind WordPress with about 12 percent the second place in the global ranking. Also for Joomla there is a wealth of free and paid extensions. The system is suitable for any kind of website, from the blog over the company portrait to the online portal with several thousand users per hour. The software is used by many others including eBay, IKEA, Sony, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
  3. Drupal
    The third big player: Drupal has been available since 2001 as an open source system. Not particularly widespread in German-speaking countries, it is particularly suitable for creating platforms with social components, eg communities. Also for Drupal there are many extensions. Content management is extremely flexible and very user-friendly. Unfortunately, Drupal is often underestimated and is also like Joomla for any type of website. The software is used by, among others, Pfizer, General Electric, ebay, greenpeace and Verizon.
  4. TYPO3
    TYPO3 is a powerful CMS in every sense. On the one hand the most flexible content management system, on the other hand very large and resource hungry. At least two percent of the global share comes for the most part from Germany. TYPO3 is developed since 2001, describes itself as Enterprise CMS and that’s it. For beginners and small businesses, I recommend this system, because no matter which user group, whether administrator, editor or programmer – TYPO3 requires much more willingness to learn and training period than comparable systems.
    Things are different with the little brother of TYPO3: Neosout. This CMS impresses with its user friendliness. The fact that Neos was only released in 2011 and 2015 more or less out of the shadows of TYPO3, the user community and thus the number of extensions is still relatively small.
    Known users of TYPO3 include: Penny, Airbus, Lufthansa, Sixt and Leica.
  5. DNN – Dot Net Nuke
    We do not yet have any personal experience with DNN, but in the English-speaking world it has quickly gained users since its release in late 2002. In recent years, however, the trend is declining and DNN is losing more and more customers to TYPO3 and Concrete5. The CMS has a market share of about one percent. Unlike all the other software platforms introduced, DNN does not rely on PHP, but uses (as the name implies) Microsoft’s .NET framework. The system thus sets a niche. In Germany DNN is almost not common. Suitable for the DNN is mainly for larger companies, which at best have their own IT department and an existing IIS infrastructure.
  6. Contao
    Contao describes itself as “Accessible Open Source Content Management System” and has been in development since 2006. Of course, accessible websites can be created with any CMS. Known earlier as TYPOlight, the page-based content creation and operation is a bit reminiscent of TYPO3. So what makes Contao so special that despite its less than one percent share of the global market, it’s mentioned here? Contao is relatively widespread in Germany. Thanks to its small but active community, Contao has managed to assert itself in this country and is increasingly used by small companies and microsites.

So what does the conclusion look like?

In most cases, especially for small to medium sized businesses, choosing a widely used CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal is the right choice. In case of problems you will find many instructional videos and books. Also, there are several agencies in this country that deal with these systems. You should choose the system that works best for you. On the pages of the developers are demos, in which the operation and operation can be tested.
If complex websites are required, assuming a willingness to learn, TYPO3 is also suitable.

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