What CMS should I use?

 

An age old question that has many answers. Content Management Systems will often serve multiple functions that allow it to be suitable for many purposes, Before you choose a CMS, you need to ask yourself a few questions to determine what your needs are.

 

  1. What is the core function of my site?
    1. Ecommerce
    2. Lead Generation
    3. Insight + Blogging
  2. Do I foresee the need to build-out more functionality?
  3. Do I need to be able to edit pages on the fly, such as content?
  4. Do I plan to sell  channels other than  my ecommerce site?

 

Content Management System Overview:

 

After answering the questions, it’s time to dive into some of the most popular CMS choices available. I have found the CMS options listed below to be the most reliable, while offering a supportive community, though this is not an exhaustive list.

 

WordPress: With more than 30% of all websites running off of WordPress, it’s safe to say WordPress is an ideal fit for most businesses. It excels in its ability to manage online content, specifically, blog posts, making it perfect for sites that offer insight and blogging, while providing admin control in managing content at scale. WordPress is highly customizable with thousands of “plugins” that allow it to perform multiple functions, including event management, user forums & eCommerce transactions. WooCommerce is WordPress’s native ecommerce plugin, with a basic, out-of-the-box package that  allows you to sell products with paid add-ons, which can turn a simple site into a robust one. For our client Jersey Cape, our team built-out a drag-and-drop product customizer using third-party plugins. This drastically improve a order process that was handled via email causing articles to take days instead of minutes. With a community of thousands of developers, it’s easy to find support and talent to help you with a build-out. WordPress is an ideal solution for those looking for a multi-disciplinary CMS that is scalable for their business and is personally, one my top choices when my team builds-out websites.

 

Pros:

  • Superior blogging system
  • Thousands of plugins for multiple purposes
  • Can be built to be lightweight with the right talent
  • Robust (and free!) Ecommerce solutions relative to others in the market.

 

Cons:

  • If you use too many plugins, this will slow down your site.
  • Developer will be needed to fully customize CMS to fit your needs.

 

BigCommerce: Best known for its ecommerce solutions, BigCommerce is a powerful, multi-channel solution that allows you to build-out your ecommerce business while controlling inventory feeds from one central location. This means you can have your inventory fed into places like Amazon, Instagram, Facebook & eBay, from the BigCommerce platform. Any changes you make here will be reflected in all of your channels, saving you a ton of time. BigCommerce also shines in its integrations features, allowing businesses to optimize their operations and maximize sales, including abandoned cart e-mails and SEO support. .They also take care of payment and compliance, ensuring the checkout process is secure and lightning-fast. I’ve found that BigCommerce has superior support, with my questions being answered  by real people in a matter of minutes. BigCommerce has never had an ideal system for blogging, but they’ve realized this fault and recently announced integration with the WordPress Rest API, which allows users to manage blog posts from the best blogging system on the market. The BigCommerce platform for product options is superior to competitor Shopify, in that you can create a long list of options for your products, e.g. color, size, material, etc. This is something to keep in mind if you offer extensive product customizations. BigCommerce features are powerful, but they come at a cost. Even relatively basic features like product filtering are only available at the $600/month package, so if your company is not ready for this type of expense, look to Shopify for a more affordable solution. It’s also important to note that BigCommerce imposes revenue limits per plan, so you will have to upgrade as you grow. Ultimately, BigCommerce is meant for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve, with an industry-leading solution that plays well with other programs.

 

Pros:

  • Multi-channel ecommerce solutions
  • Optimized for speed and security
  • Handles all payments and compliance with a variety of vendors to choose from

 

Cons:

  • To access some features that are considered basic, you’ll have to shell-out some cash
  • Not as many integrations as Shopify
  • Revenue limits on lower plans

 

Shopify:

 

Shopify is probably the most popular ecommerce solution available to businesses and for good reason. It’s easy to setup and user experience makes it desirable for teams to build an ecommerce store on top of. It has also transformed into a multi-channel solution similar to BigCommerce, offering  integrations with Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and eBay. Shopify’s price tier is lower at it’s entry-level packages, but leaves-out key reporting features. These are available at higher level plans (I would never recommend the lite plan for any CMS). Like BigCommerce, Shopify has an emphasis on inventory management and provides their users with full ecommerce solutions. They offer more integration than BigCommerce, with third-party apps so that communication between your tools and software is easy.  Shopify does have a payment system preference, so if you have your own merchant,be prepared to pay up to 2% more in fees. Even with Shopify’s payment system, you will still shell-out more money then you would with BigCommerces preferred partners. Shopify does shine in product management. For instance, Shopify is clearly a winner when it comes to product categorization. It has smart categories where you can set-up criteria that dynamically pulls products into categories, useful for shops that need to customize shopping experiences for customers. Overall if you work with a ton of third-party apps and need an easy solution that’s cheaper, than Shopify will be a good option for your business.

 

Pros:

  • Lower priced packages
  • Thousands of third-party integrations
  • Dynamic product categorization

 

Cons:

  • Preference towards their  payment options
  • Limited custom fields for products out-of-box