What is the Best CMS to Use?

Roy McClean
Aug 15, 2016

What is the BEST CMS to use? Our answer might surprize you!

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I recently received an email asking me my opinion of what the best CMS is for updating content daily. My answer might surprize you! Read on.


Hey Guys,

Great article on SE friendly CMS options. I'm looking for a cms that I can host and update daily with text, photos and videos. Which CMS would you reccomend?

Best regards,

The Best CMS to Use


Hi Jake,

Thanks for your email below.

The answer can be very complicated. It's like asking what type of car should I buy. This depends on a variety of factors.

Is WordPress the Best CMS?

We deal with some consultants who insist that WordPress is the best and only CMS to use for almost any application because it's the most used CMS worldwide. There are literally 100's of CMS platforms to choose from. Many are "open source" a.k.a. "free". Others require you to purchase a license. These "paid" CMS applications are most often best for "enterprize-level" use.

CMS Usage Statistics 2016

While we like WordPress we strongly feel that the CMS needs to be selected based upon specific applications. This typically involves doing some "discovery" work to determine your specific requirements.

What About Specific Website Applications?

For example, if eCommerce is central to your requirements Shopify might be a better platform that WordPress with an eCommerce plug-in. (We LOVE Shopify! Our "web dev" team rave about how well the back-end of Shopify is built.) Then again, Shopify might not be the best solution for YOU. If you need a high degree of customization to your website there are often better CMS solutions that WordPress or Shopify.

We have many clients who we have built WordPress websites that love it and it's the right application. We also have some clients that have requested to be moved to another CMS because they do NOT like WordPress. (We have built over 100 websites on the Umbraco CMS platform and the vast majority of our clients find the "back-end" easier to use than other content management systems they have worked with. But Umbraco has some disadvantages too for some users or applications!)

More Than "Just" the CMS Selection is Important

No matter what CMS you select, one thing is certain. In my humble opinion... The setup and configuration are just as important as the CMS you select. Often plug-ins and add-ons are "bloatware" that unnecessarily slow down the performance of your website.

Not All CMS Themes / Plug-Ins are "Created Equal"

Some themes or plug-ins are built much better than others and offer better performance. Using WordPress as an example, we have seen a huge difference in the quality of WordPress themes. WordPress themes aren't built by WordPress. Neither are plug-ins. Designers and developers build these. And the quality varies from theme to theme or plug-in to plug-in and the developer.

After years of experience of working with WordPress, we tend to develop with a small number of WordPress themes that we can "trust" as being reliable and well-built. That doesn't necessarily mean that we can't customize these themes to varying degrees. By being selective with the themes we work with we know that the core development is solid and we won't likely be spending time addressing "bugs" or other issues.

And Speaking of Plug-Ins or Add-Ons!

Other times, you can avoid using plug-ins if you know how to add functionality "manually". One simple example... why add a Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager plug-in when you can drop in the code directly into the theme / template thereby saving yourself adding "unnecessary" code to your site in the form of a plug-in.

FYI... adding ONE plug-in probably isn't going to effect the performance of your WordPress website but we've seen WordPress websites with way too many unnecessary plug-ins. Our philosophy is if we can get away without a WordPress (or any other) plug-in by adjusting the theme or adding some more efficient code that's usually the best alternative.

A Well Performing CMS Needs to Be Built "Right"!

Not to "pick on" WordPress but we've been many WordPress websites built that didn't perform because the WordPress site wasn't configured properly using poorly performing or inappropriate plug-ins, a poorly built theme, etc. The same goes for virtually all other content management systems.

Where an Experienced Web Developer Can Save Time + Money

This is where an experienced web developer can be worth their weight in gold because they have the experience and knowledge to "sift" through the best CMS and the best configurations for specific requirements.

I hope this helps!


Now YOUR Turn!

Do you have an opinion on what the best CMS is? What's the best CMS. Why? Please add your thoughts below in our comments section.

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