It seems that sitting down and building a content management system for your own specific site is a thing of the past these days. Some may argue as to whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing. Usually it’s web developers who have been put out of business who don’t believe that it’s right to try and shoehorn your project into an existing piece of software versus the average guy on the street who just wants to get his web presence up and running with as little hassle or cost as possible. As a designer and developer myself, I guess I see it from both sides but personally I feel if you choose the right system for the job and you’re able to customise it enough to make it work for you rather than simply using it as an out of the box utility then I think it’s a perfectly viable option.
In this article we’re going to look at a few of the lesser known content management systems in the marketplace in 2017. Sure, WordPress has the dominant market share. and rightly so but there are other solutions out there and some of which might just be a better fit for the job than a traditional out of the box WordPress install.
The best comparison I could draw to Ghost would be to imagine how WordPress started out, a clean, simple blogging platform before it became a monster CMS in its own right. Ghost strips back all that and is what it is, a blogging platform rather than a fully blown CMS. It’s simple, fast (thanks to its Node.js) backbone and doesn’t distract the user with complex menus, features and add ons which when all you want to do is write an article can be quite frustrating. My favourite feature of Ghost has to be the split screen and the fact you can see how your page is rendered as you’re writing it rather than having to publish and then check it like with WordPress.
Another popular open source option in the CMS world is Concrete5. It might not be that easy to get setup with in comparison to other CMS’s but there is help at hand should you be configuring your server from scratch. It’s currently live on over 600,000 websites which although small in comparison to the millions of WordPress sites it still does enjoy quite a market share. It’s fast, fairly lightweight and feature rich. The only downside is that it’s a bit too basic whilst not trying to be basic like the likes of Ghost.
In truth Drupal should be a lot more popular than it is. If you’ve ever used it you’ll know just exactly how scalable and feature rich it is. But, it’s more designed for developers and you need at least some technical knowledge in order to go from an out of the box solution to something of worth in terms of your website build. It’s complex, but if you know what you’re doing you’ll be able to create something fantastic. It is also extremely well supported but given its user base they might not be too friendly towards newbies!
Jekyll is my favourite of the plain text platforms. It uses no database which is a huge plus and you’re able to build pages of content formatted with Markdown as opposed to using the often cumbersome WYSIWYG editors that come with the likes of WordPress etc. You can use Liquid Templates for styling and Jekyll will combine this with your Markdown code and create static “files” to be served. It also comes with free hosting which can be a huge plus for some people.
In truth, your website and its content is far more important that what content management system you’re using to power it all. Your visitors are not going to care and if all you’re doing is blogging then it’s not really going to matter what application you use to manage your content. However, using something as powerful as WordPress with all its bells and whistles might be a bit overkill if all you want to do is output a few pages of content in the easiest way possible.