The Best Content Management Systems (CMS) - 2020 Guide

Staff Writer
Last Updated
December 29, 2023
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Building your website is just the first step, once it’s up you’ll still need to constantly create, update and delete content.

Even developers won’t be able to keep up with the changes with the need for continual content marketing in today’s world if they were to delve into the code to do so. Plus, having a developer on hand just to make such minor changes is simply a waste of budget.

Hence, content management systems (CMS) were created to enable marketers to easily manipulate the website content, design, integrations and even code via an user-friendly interface.

With your website being one of the most integral parts of your digital marketing efforts, we can not over-emphasize the need to keep it constantly updated for your audience.

Especially in today’s post-Covid world, your website is now the new face of your brand. Like how you expect your colleagues to be dressed well and differently everyday, your customers expect the same from your site!

Your content management system is therefore akin to your website’s wardrobe and dressing room which you’ll likely be using on a daily basis, you definitely want it to be reliable, extensive and easy-to-use.

So how do you select your Content Management System (CMS) platform?

You’ll have to consider several factors, but first off you have to be aware of the two main categories which content management system softwares fall under: open-source or proprietary.

Open-source systems are those which have their source code available to the public for review and modification. What this means is that any developer can build on top of the system and make adjustments as required.

On the other hand, proprietary systems of content management systems are considered as the intellectual property of a company or individual and therefore the source code is not available for viewing much less changes.

This means you are not allowed to make any changes or get external parties to edit the software for your needs, any changes will have to be made through the owner of the system, effectively locking you down to them.

Other CMS factors you should consider:

  1. Ease of use: If you can’t use it, the most powerful content management system (CMS) platform is useless.
  2. Breadth of plugins / extensions / templates: This determines the flexibility of the content management system to give your site desired features or looks.
  3. Level of control given: Some content management system platforms are easy to use, but do not give you control to make certain changes which restricts your flexibility.
  4. Reliability / Support: The best content management system which breaks down often or has no support when issues occur is basically a useless web content management system.
  5. Price: We’re sure this is pretty self-explanatory!

Top 5 Content Management System (CMS) Softwares

1. Webflow

Webflow is a great all-in-one web hosting, design, CMS platform.

It stands out in its ease of use and great customisability without needing coding knowledge. While it’s a paid proprietary service, it has a free to use version for you to get started.

It stands out in their ability to craft great designs, immersive animations and interactions easily, and has a large library of premium templates which will save you a lot of time in managing your site.

2. Wordpress

WordPress is the reigning king of free open-source web content management. Since it was first launched in 2003, WordPress has been the hot favourite for anyone ranging from bloggers with zero experience to IT professionals to create and manage websites with.

While it does not have extensive built-in features, WordPress has an enormous developer community which has built millions of plugins for almost any functionality you can ask for. The best part is a large number of these plugins are free as well!

Furthermore, whatever you can’t find on WordPress itself, you can probably find on the hundreds of popular platforms integrations including Hubspot, Salesforce, Marketo, Zapier, Google and many more.

On its own, WordPress is also extremely simple and modifiable, allowing you to develop anything from a simple blog to a marketplace or forum on it.

As a top content management system, WordPress is also frequently updated and upgraded, ensuring a high level of security and stability.

3. Joomla

Joomla is another open source content management system which was extremely popular and is still used by many government sites and international corporations.

Unfortunately, this content management system platform has steadily declined in recent years given the lack of substantial upgrades since its early days. That said, it’s still considered a stable and usable product.

Like WordPress, Joomla is free and there are thousands of extensions and themes readily available for you to use.

It is easy to use even with zero tech experience, however it requires extensive customization to get all the features you would get in premium CMS. For tech-savvy users, Joomla might feel limiting as it is targeted mostly at basic users.

4. Hubspot CMS Hub

Better known for their CRM and marketing platform, Hubspot CMS Hub (a paid add-on) also gives you a simple website builder and content management system on top of all their existing services.

If you are an existing Hubspot user or you are intending to make use of their marketing services, Hubspot’s CMS hub is definitely a convenient choice if you have the budget for it.

5. Magnolia

Magnolia is very different from the other content management system platforms on this list as it is “headless” which means it does not generate an actual site like the rest. Instead it creates “pure content” which is then delivered to different channels like a website, mobile, other platforms and more via REST APIs.

This allows you to easily manage your digital brand from one platform if you have many different channels.

It is also great to develop enterprise sites and networks (external or internal). However as an enterprise CMS, it has a high complexity and requires a knowledge of Java making it inaccessible to regular users and requires.

Furthermore, this is a proprietary paid CMS, hence we only recommend it if you have specific enterprise needs or have a large-scale business with multiple digital channels to manage,

Other options you can consider

If you are looking into setting up an e-commerce, you can check our article on e-commerce platforms which basically all have in-built content management systems.

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