Which CMS to choose: guide for choosing a "engine" for the site

When you plan a web project, you have to answer thousands of questions. One of them concerns the choice of "engine" for the site. It's a shame if you spend a lot of time on solving this simple problem. It is better to devote an extra minute to more pressing issues, such as planning to buy a new yacht, which you can afford if the project succeeds. And from this guide you will learn how to correctly and quickly choose a CMS for the site.

Why choose the "engine" for the site is difficult

The answer to this question may surprise you. The fact is that for the implementation of almost any web project you can use almost any CMS. For example, you can take Joomla! and open an online store, content project, blog, portal, web service, business card site, whatever. See, you can hardly find a type of resource that, in principle, cannot be done on "Jumla". Moreover, you will not immediately reply that it is fundamentally impossible to implement using Drupal, WordPress, 1C-Bitrix or another “engine”.

Choosing a CMS, you will surely come across people who say that Joomla! and Drupal is complete nonsense, and your project can only be done well on NetCat or 1C-Bitrix. By the way, the names of the "engines" in the previous sentence can be arbitrarily changed. So, do not believe such people. In most cases, their commitment to CMS is associated exclusively with personal preferences. I am accustomed to working with Jumla, I know her well, and she is afraid of other “engines” or simply does not want to understand.

Does this mean that you can not listen to anyone, take the first CMS and make a site on it? Of course not. Firstly, if you trust the development of a site to a specific specialist, it is better to allow it to work with your favorite “engine”. Of course, if it does not create inconvenience for you and your audience. Secondly, the specificity of the CMS to different types of sites still exists. It does not always appear. But if you are in the third year of development of the project you will not be able to realize any function due to the wrong choice of the “engine” at the start, it will be insulting. Therefore, it is better to spend an hour studying information today than to lose time and money when transferring a resource to a new CMS in the future.

This guide will help you choose the "engine". Be sure to discuss the data with the developer of your site. This will help you make the best choice.

Which engine does not suit you

Never settle for so-called self-signed CMS. They can be used only in one case: if you write them yourself. Also, you will not fit the site without the "engine". Read about the reasons in the guide for site customers.

Which CMS to choose: paid or free

The answer to this question is obvious: if you can, use the free "engine". Agree to a paid CMS only in the case when the functionality of free products does not meet the needs of your project.

Sellers of commercial "engines" will try to convince you to buy the product using different arguments:

  • "Our studio has developed the most functional and secure CMS in history. For only 1000 rubles a year, you will receive regular updates and free technical support." The guys forgot to say that their studio can change its specialization in three months. And when you supposedly show the most functional CMS to other specialists, they will tell you that your “engine” is outdated, and the site should be transferred to the CMS, with which the new studio works.
  • "Because of the open code of free CMS, any novice hacker will hack into your site. CMS has a closed code, so they are safe." It is a myth. You can hack the engines with open and closed code. Moreover, in practice, open source programs are more secure as they are developed by communities of experts. Numerous enthusiasts find and fix software code vulnerabilities faster than a few experts working on closed-source projects.
  • "Sites on free CMS - for schoolchildren. And solid businessmen work with paid products." If you accept this argument, then go on vacation to your grandmother.
  • "Search engines give more traffic to sites on paid CMS, and free traffic is viewed with suspicion." It is a myth.
  • "Paid CMS is more functional. It is better suited for solving your problems, provides you and your customers with more opportunities." This is the only argument you can take seriously.

"Engines" are combined into groups suitable and unsuitable for the implementation of your project. At the same time, both groups include both paid and free CMS.

How to evaluate the functionality of the "engine"

As noted above, almost all CMS have sufficient functionality to create almost any site. All developers "engines" call their product functional. Therefore, it is difficult for a non-expert to objectively assess the compliance of the content management system functionality with the project needs. To do this, compare the capabilities of the CMS with the basic set of features discussed below.

Convenient visual editor

A simple content editor is what you abandoned the HTML site in favor of the “engine” for. Through the editor interface you can instantly publish and edit content.

Most users need an editor that allows them to work with visual objects. This type of interface is called WYSIWYG. The acronym is formed from the first letters of the English sentence. What you see is what you get - what you see is what you get.

You will definitely need to publish code on the pages of the site, for example, semantic markup. This task is easiest to solve using an HTML editor.

Choose the "engine" with an editor that allows you to work with content in visual mode and in HTML mode. Some CMS are equipped with a functional editor by default. In others, the default solution is only suitable for publishing an SOS emergency signal. Here are some examples:

  • Default editor Wordpress can be called an ideal solution, the capacity of which is enough for the vast majority of users. It allows you to work with content in visual mode and in HTML mode. And if for some reason you are not satisfied with the default solution, select the appropriate editor in your plugins directory, for example, TinyMCE Advanced.
  • Default editor Drupal will surprise you with its minimalism. If you decide to work with this "engine", you will have to find a module with a full-featured editor. For example, you can install the familiar TinyMCE.
  • "Engine" for stores Opencart has a functional and at the same time simple editor. It allows you to edit content in visual mode and HTML-code mode, select page templates and change publication categories. The editor also allows you to specify the title and meta data of the page.
  • About the possibilities of the default editor Joomla! read our review. From it, you will also learn why it is worth replacing the default editor with JCE.

Choosing a CMS, be sure to try to publish the note in the demo version. Enjoy the convenience and functionality of the editor.

SEO Friendly

This is a set of functions and characteristics that allow to adapt the resource to the needs of users of search engines. If you are used to looking at this problem from the other side, look for a "engine" that meets the technical requirements of search engines.

Please note, all CMS can be called by default or potentially SEO-friendly. It would be strange if the developers of the "engines" did not take into account the requirements of search engines. When choosing a content management system, you should evaluate the implementation of the characteristics of SEO-friendly. In other words, you need to understand whether you have enough of the default SEO-friendliness to successfully promote your site. You also need to appreciate the effort required to extend the SEO-Friendly specification to a level that you consider acceptable.

Evaluate the adaptation of CMS to the needs of search engine users by the following criteria:

  • Canonical url With their help, you protect the resource from duplicate pages, which are negatively related to search engines. The latest version of Joomla! supports default canonical URLs. WordPress URL canonization is provided using SEO plugins, for example, All in One SEO Pack. If you select 1C-Bitrix, you must add the rel = “canonical” tag between the tags and manually. Interesting situation with CMS Drupal. The function of canonical URLs in this engine is enabled by default. However, in Drupal 7 it is implemented incorrectly, so search engines find duplicates on Drupal sites. In the second half of November, Drupal 8.0 will be released. Perhaps in the new version the problem with the canonical URL will be solved.
  • Manage page title and meta data. The engine should have an interface for editing the title and meta tags description and keywords. In Joomla, you can insert descriptions manually or generate them automatically using the SEOSimple extension. In WordPress, editing the title, description and keywords support many templates. You can also install the All in One SEO Pack plugin. To edit the title, description and keywords in Drupal, you will need an SEO module, for example, a bunch of Metatags quick and Page title. CMS OpenCart allows you to edit the title and meta data by default.
  • Locking indexing pages of categories and archives. This option prevents duplicate content. In Joomla and WordPress, the function is implemented using SEO plugins: SEOSimple and All in One SEO Pack, respectively. In OpenCart, the problem of duplicate categories can be solved with the help of the SEO Pack (paid). In Drupal, you can use the Node noindex module.
  • Integration with analytics services. You can use Yandex.Metrica, Google Analytics, Liveinternet.ru or other analytical systems with sites on any engine or without it. In the context of SEO-friendly, appreciate the ease of connecting the resource to analytical services and the ability to track key parameters in the administrative panel. In Joomla! You can connect Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica using Advanced Google Analytics and Yandex Metrika extensions. For WordPress, there are Google Analytics by Yoast and Yandex Metric plugins. Google Analytics by Yoast plugin allows you to monitor key metrics in the administrative panel of the site. In Drupal, you can also use the Yandex.Metrics and Google Analytics modules. For OpenCart you can use paid and free modules. Please note that CMS OpenCart has a built-in analytics system with which you can track sales, product, consumer and marketing performance data.
  • Ability to manage the XML sitemap and robots.txt file. In the context of SEO-friendliness we are talking about the simplicity of creating a site map and editing the robots.txt file. In WordPress, Joomla !, OpenCart, Drupal, these tasks are solved using plugins, extensions and modules.
  • The ability to optimize images. When choosing the “engine”, appreciate how easy it is to resize an image, add a name, description, caption, and alt attribute. In WordPress, these features are implemented by default. For "Joomla" you can use extensions, for example, OS Responsive Image Gallery. For OpenCart there is a SEO Image File Names module. In CMS Drupal, you can enable image optimization without installing additional modules.
  • Code validity There is no convincing evidence of the negative impact of the non-compliance of the code with W3C standards on the position of the resource in issue or there is no traffic. Moreover, some errors can be detected only with the help of special tools, since they do not affect the display of the site in browsers or user experience. However, if there are a lot of mistakes in the engine or the subject, you need to pay attention to them. To verify the code using a validator, you will have to install the demo versions of the selected CMS and template. Evaluate the errors found and discuss with the developer the need and possibility of eliminating them.

In addition to the listed features, pay attention to the simplicity of creating and editing the menu, the ability to configure static URLs, and the ease of adaptation for mobile traffic. Once again pay attention, SEO-unfriendly "engines" does not happen. When choosing, you should evaluate how easy it will be for you to use the features of a particular CMS required for search engine promotion.

Ability to customize

The “engine” of the site is intended for publishing and content management. Immediately after installing any CMS, you can publish a note or create a page containing this or that content.

Customization in the context of the choice of CMS is an adaptation of the "engine" to the publication of content in accordance with the features of the project and the needs of its audience. For example, if you are creating a blog, the CMS should display the latest publications on the main page, and if you are developing an online store, you should be able to publish product cards.

You can customize any "engine". When choosing, pay attention to the following characteristics of the ease of adapting the CMS to the needs of your project:

  • Customization capabilities due to the default functionality. Standard tools practically do not assume customization of WordPress, OpenCart and Magento. Drupal and Joomla! have more features. For example, the default functionality of WordPress does not allow to go beyond a blog or business card site with basic features. With Joomla and Drupal without additional extensions and modules, you will create a blog, a business card website and even a corporate website or resource for a content project.
  • Possibilities of customization using ready-made plug-ins, modules, extensions. Here is the champion WordPress. First, there are dozens of plug-ins for solving popular problems. Moreover, it is difficult to invent a function or opportunity for which enthusiasts have not written at least one module. Secondly, most of the plugins for WordPress are distributed for free or on the freemium model. Many ready-made extensions exist for CMS OpenCart. Please note that commercial solutions dominate here. Most free extensions are monofunctional programs. The functionality of "Joomla" and "Drupal" can also be adapted to the features of the project with the help of extensions and modules, respectively. There are not so many ready-made solutions for these “engines” as for WordPress.
  • The possibility of customization using themes and templates. Here is also the champion WordPress. For this CMS you can find many ready-made themes adapted for projects of various types: blogs, content resources, online stores. Similar solutions exist for 1C-Bitrix, Joomla! and Drupal. However, for these "engines" it is more difficult to find a quality free template due to limited supply.
  • Integration with third-party services. Almost all CMS can be quickly integrated with social networks and analytics services. Pay attention to the possibility of integrating the selected "engine" with CRM-systems. For example, OpenCart has built-in basic CRM functionality that allows you to track transactions and customer preferences. Integration with CRM is implemented in the "engine" 1C-Bitrix. To correctly integrate WordPress with Salesforce CRM, you will have to edit the template code.

Please note that it will be difficult for you to customize studio CMS independently or with the help of third-party specialists. This task will have to be delegated to the developer.

User Access Level Management

This feature is useful for different types of project: from an online store to a content site and a blog. For example, you can give extended rights with access to closed sections of the site to paid subscribers or moderators of content projects. Owners of online stores can provide special opportunities for regular customers or loyalty program participants.

Below are examples of the implementation of access level management in some CMS:

  • WordPress You can enable or disable the registration of new users, as well as assign the access level of the registered member. After registration, administrators can change user roles manually.
  • In CMS Joomla! You can include users in groups with different rights: from guest to administrator.
  • Cms drupal differs in flexible settings of the rights of the anonymous and registered user, and also the administrator.
  • Opencart allows you to sort users by groups and status "valid" or "former". Also, the “engine” allows you to designate a registered user as an administrator.

Pay attention to the possibility of managing the rights of users of Drupal. If you create a complex service, social project or online store, this “engine” will allow you to create arbitrary groups of visitors.

How to choose the "engine" for the online store

You can make an online store on almost any CMS. An ideal content management system for online trading should have the following characteristics:

  • Easy to run and manage. According to this criterion, WordPress, PrestaShop and OpenCart remain the best "engines". If you are creating a store on WordPress, get ready to spend a lot of time adapting the functionality of the "engine" to your needs. With OpenCart and PrestaShop you can start trading within 30 minutes.
  • Functionality. If this criterion is important for you, pay attention to OpenCart, Magento, CS-Cart and 1C-Bitrix. Проекты на Magento и 1С-Битрикс легко масштабируются.
  • Кастомизация. Сайты на 1С-Битрикс, Drupal и Joomla! проще адаптировать для решения индивидуальных задач.

Оцените стартовый и потенциальный масштаб вашего проекта. Если количество товарных позиций в вашем магазине будет исчисляться десятками или сотнями, попробуйте специализированные "движки" или интернет-магазины в облаке, например, Magento. Если вы будете постоянно увеличивать число товарных позиций, обратите внимание на 1С-Битрикс, Drupal, Amiro.

На что обратить внимание при выборе CMS для корпоративного сайта

При выборе "движка" для корпоративного сайта оцените две характеристики CMS: простоту использования и необходимые вашему проекту функции. Most likely, on the site you need static pages and publications section.

If you do not have personal preferences, choose WordPress. Do not listen to snobs saying that the future member of the Fortune 500 is not a resource on the blog engine. WordPress has long been turned into a universal CMS, where you can make any resource, including a corporate site. Look at the resources of Digital Solutions Web Studio or Maui College of the University of Hawaii.

Which CMS is suitable for a large content project

You might be surprised, but for a content project, the CMS that you like best is suitable. Naturally, you are unlikely to come up with a blog or media site on the “engines”, sharpened by online trading. And if you choose any universal CMS, the project will work.

The success of a content project depends on the relevance and quality of the content, and not on the editor in which it is created or the “engine” with which it is managed. If you understand this, take any free “engine” and make a new “Lentu.ru”.

Which CMS is suitable for the forum

If you want to create a forum, you need a specialized CMS, for example, vBulletin, IPB, phpBB. The last “engine” can be called the optimal choice, as it combines free use with the functionality of paid CMS, for example, vBulletin.

Please note that you can install the forum engine on the subdomain of the main site or use plug-ins and modules to extend the functionality of the universal engine. You will be interested in such modules for popular CMS:

  • bbPress is a forum for WordPress.
  • Kunena - forum for Joomla!
  • Advanced Forum - forum for Drupal.

You can independently find ready-made solutions for other popular CMS.

What kind of "engine" to choose

If you have the necessary knowledge and skills, you will do well any project on virtually any "engine." Therefore, when choosing a CMS, be guided by personal preferences and experience with certain systems. For example, if you and your employees know Drupal well, feel free to use this “engine”. If you know WordPress like the back of your hand, make corporate websites and online stores on it.

If you do not have personal preferences and experience with CMS, be guided by the proposed table.

CMS / Resource TypeOnline storeBlogMedia website or large content projectPortalCorporate website
WordpressYes. You have to make an effort and take the time to get the functionality you need.YesYesYes. We'll have to work hard to integrate CMS with third-party services.Yes
Joomla!Yes. Customization is required.YesYesYesYes
DrupalYesYesYesYes. Flexible management of user access rights allows you to socialize the project on Drupal.Yes
MagentoYes. You can create a store on Magento cloud hosting.NotNotNotNot
OpencartYes. You can start trading within 30 minutes.NotNotNotNot
PrestaShopYes. Easy to start and manage the store.NotNotNotNot
CS CartYesNotNotNotNot

In the comments you can write comments and suggestions to the article. You can also share your own CMS selection experience. Tell us why you chose this or that “engine” for your project? What kind of CMS would you not use under any circumstances?

Watch the video: How To Choose a CMS, Part 1 (February 2020).


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