Your Quick and Easy Guide to Choosing the Right CMS for Your Blog.
Blogs are all over the place these days. They are taking over major news sites, and dominating a large part of the top 100 Alexa rated sites on the Web. Blogs range from simple personal journals to large-scale news and information distribution platforms through which millions of people receive news every day.
The culture of blogging is every bit as diverse as any other major area of media. There are editorial columnists, investigative reporters, product reviewers, gossip enthusiasts, and more. Whatever your interest or personal preference, there is a blog out there for you.
So, how do you start your own? You could go with one of many different free blog hosts, but they rarely (if ever) allow for significant traffic or worthwhile monetization. These hosts depend on low-traffic sites and a large chunk (if not all) of the ad revenue generated by banners and other hosted advertising placed alongside your content.
Decent Web hosting is cheaper than ever, and there is no reason you should have to settle for anything less than the best solution for you and your business.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular blogging CMS solutions out there, and why one might stand out as the best candidate for your site.
WordPress is built from the ground up for blogging. It is arguably the most popular blogging platform currently out there, and has an open and easy user interface allowing site managers the option to apply plugins and themes with minimal hassle. In fact, WordPress powers around 17% of the Internet's active sites. That is a pretty significant number.
Its biggest selling point is its ease of use for the writer. You just need to log in and start typing away. WordPress' powerful text editor can be coupled with plugins like JetPack to add advanced proofreading and other functionality to virtually eliminate the need for an external text editing solution. In addition, adding rich media like photos, audio, and video is also fairly easy.
While WordPress is strong in the area of content creation, it falls short in customization on the part of the site owner. Unless you know your way around PHP or CSS, getting it to do something it was not inherently designed for can be tricky. There are a number of useful plugins out there that make expanding WordPress' built-in functionality easier, but it is still limited to a theme's widget positions and other aspects without some tinkering under the hood required.
WordPress scales quite well. You can throw it on a shared server alongside 100+ other sites, or host it on a series of dedicated servers and content delivery networks with relative ease. It also includes a built-in caching mechanism that, while not perfect, is capable of improving site performance fairly significantly given the right set of circumstances.
Joomla is a well-rounded CMS powerhouse. It is a jack of all trades when it comes to content management, and this makes it a very appealing solution to many users. Like WordPress, it features an article style of content management. It also utilizes modules to create a more dynamic and custom user experience. Two sites built with the same template can look entirely different with no real experience in CSS or PHP necessary.
Joomla has an incredibly active and informed user community. If you can not find the answers to a question in an extension's documentation, you are almost guaranteed to find the answer on one of the many active Joomla-friendly forums out there. We host a Kunena forum here at RocketTheme, and have been amazed at the incredible input and responsiveness of the community.
Also like WordPress, Joomla scales very well. It can be easily cached, and when coupled with a performance optimization extension like RokBooster, can serve content at breakneck speeds.
Joomla, like WordPress and Drupal, is open source and entirely free to use and modify to meet your site's needs. Joomla's primary build is largely made up of community-contributed ideas and code. All this without sacrificing security or performance.
What makes Joomla appealing to bloggers is its modular construction. You can add and remove components with a click of a mouse, and just about every component of your site is easily managed from the powerful Administrator area.
Squarespace is a relatively new face in the world of content delivery. While it is not an open and freely distributed platform, it does have quite a lot going for it that bloggers might find appealing.
For one, the CMS and hosting is all bundled together. You can not host a Squarespace site on your own server, so you will need to pay a monthly fee for that privilege. As a positive, you gain the simplicity and reliability of having a platform that is built from the ground up to work properly, regardless of shifts in load or demand.
Squarespace may be more of a hosting play than a CMS. What you lose out on customization and third-party extensions you gain in hosting reliability. For many bloggers, this is a tough sacrifice to make, but one worth considering if you do not want to have to manage the technical aspects of your site yourself.
It is a solution that caters directly to the user that just wants to start writing without dealing with hosting, software updates, or managing third-party extensions.
Drupal is one of the most highly regarded CMS solutions out there among the IT professional community. Its user base is largely made up of people that know everything about the site they are working with, and can troubleshoot through just about any issue that might appear. This could be a big benefit to a blogger searching for answers to a difficult question regarding the platform.
On the other side of the coin, Drupal has a learning curve that is not for the faint of heart. It is made with the experienced site manager in mind, and not so much the blogger. In fact, it may very well be the least blog-friendly solution in this list.
That said: There are many reasons to consider Drupal a viable candidate for your site's CMS. It is frequently used in high-traffic situations and has a multitude of customization points that allows you to turn it into whatever you want it to. It is a powerful CMS, and it is because of this it boasts one of the most loyal user communities in the industry.
If you are searching for a well-rounded platform that was built with the blogger in mind, then WordPress is a strong candidate to consider.
Joomla will give you a bit more flexibility and a more powerful administrative interface without losing the power or intuitiveness bloggers are searching for.
Squarespace is a compromise. You get a break from the hassles of setting up hosting at the cost of customization and third-party community extensions.
Drupal may well be a platform of choice if you are the type of user that wants absolute control over every aspect of your site from stem to stern, and do not mind the cost of a steeper learning curve.
At the end of the day, you should decide on a platform that makes the most sense to you. After all, your CMS should be a tool by which your words are delivered to the world. There is no reason it should be a hindrance to this process.