It’s chock full of some pretty sweet features that will make your content managing life easier, leading its devoted fans to argue it’s even better than WordPress. You can split-test two versions of web and landing page examples, build in easier content transition, take a deep dive with Google Analytics, for truly detailed marketing analytics, and even let HubSpot CMS analyze your pages to help you optimize them for higher search engine ranking.
For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew.
Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
Several of the services included here offer free options, too. If you choose that path, however, your site will include branding from the provider, which necessarily makes your site less impressive to savvy surfers—and shoppers. Free offerings vary greatly in the storage, bandwidth, and site options they allow, so read the small print to find out how much you get with each provider. Strikingly, Weebly, Wix, and WordPress.com are among the most generous with their free offerings, if that's the way you want to go.
The primary reason I’m looking for an alternative to WordPress is its reliance on PHP. A language so awful I wouldn’t let it anywhere near my computer if I didn’t rely on WordPress for my blogging. Using PHP as the substrate for your CMS/blogging platform guarantees you’ll have day one security problems. Just look at all of the WordPress plugins and themes that have horrible security flaws (e.g., revslider).
WordPress (either version) is a blog-focused content management system that accepts plug-ins and themes that extend its capabilities to what most of what the other products here offer, including commerce. In fact, WordPress.com uses plug-ins such as JetPack to provide many of its features. As a whole, WordPress (either .com or .org) is not as easy to use as the other options in this roundup, but if blogging and site transferability are of key importance and you don't mind digging into its weeds a bit, you should consider the platform—especially WordPress.org. Furthermore, the ability to use WordPress is a valuable skill, as some estimates say that WordPress powers 30 percent of the internet.
Some site builders, such as Squarespace, Strikingly, Virb, and uKit, restrict you to placing page objects in spots that won't make your site look garish, which can be an advantage if design isn't your forte. Other builders offer more freedom; if that's what you're looking for, check out Gator or Wix. Gator in particular strikes a good balance between design freedom and reponsive restrictions.
If you’re knowledgeable about site building and e-commerce, you’ll find solutions on this list that give you better extension possibilities, more overall features, and the freedom to potentially do anything you want with your online store (since you’d be hosting it on your own server). That said, if you’re just getting into selling things online and want to do everything yourself, Shopify can often be a great place to start for new businesses and less technically-savvy folk!
Finally, I would like also to draw attention to another interesting CMS that I used a decade ago and really enjoyed using at the time: it was originally known as Article Manager, and its current incarnation is CMS Builder, from InteractiveTools (a company based in Vancouver). At the time I was using it, I remember that the developers were very helpful, and the forum was lively and helpful too. Now that I am using WP, I would not really consider moving to CMS Builder (although I own a license), since WP offers much more in my view. But some people might have reasons to prefer it. However, one should pay attention to the fact that some of the add-ons can make it more expensive than the initial $200 price for a single site.
Joomla is ideal if you’re looking to build a large-scale or complex site, without the need to do any excessive coding. The default platform has a slight edge on WordPress when it comes to group administration and development. For instance, there’s even a dedicated messenger function to enhance collaboration. If you are interested in setting up a Joomla website, check out our Joomla tutorial.
5 open-source CMS alternatives to WordPress