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Marketing Insights

A Guide to Choosing the Right CMS For Your Business Website

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CMS-funnelContent Management Systems (CMS) are getting a lot of buzz. What is a CMS? Good question! CMS is software that is installed on the web server where your website is hosted. Much like you install and run software on your computer.

The common feature of all CMS is an "Admin" area. This is where you can login to modify, add, or edit your website. This is one of the features that our clients have been looking for. It allows you to make content edits to your website without the need to call your ad agency or web designer. This is an advantage when redesigning a website. Migrating to a CMS allows you to consolidate and manage all of your content and resources. If your website is geared for ecommerce you can import products via a spread sheet. Access to all of your files with a Content Management System are through the Admin interface so there is no need to use additional FTP software to upload or modify files.

There are two general flavors of CMS. The first, and most popular, is an installation of the software on your host server that you have complete control over (ie. Wordpress). Most of these are open source projects and have a community of developers who create various plug-ins, add-ons, templates, and are free to download and install. The other, and arguably the easiest to begin with, are the all-in-one packages. These are proprietary systems that are offered as a package of software, hosting, and sometimes technical support (ie. Wix).

The draw back of these all-in-one services is that you will have less control over both the configuration and content you add to your website. Since these systems are proprietary, should this host and CMS fall out of favor, migrating your website, with all it's content, is at best difficult if not impossible. Generally these type of proprietary systems do not have the extensive collections of plug-ins, add-ons, and templates available to open source CMS and make it more difficult to customize the look and function of your website design. If you've been using a template you won't be able to use that template on any other system.

Listed are some of the most common Content Management Systems (CMS) available.

Open source systems that are installed on your existing host server.

Open source systems geared specifically for ecommerce.

Proprietary systems offered as all-in-one solutions.

  • Weebly
  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • LightCMS

Proprietary systems for eCommerce.

  • Shopify
  • Bigcommerce
  • Shopgate
  • Adobe Business Catalyst


  • Often, basic functionality that you get with open source will cost extra with proprietary systems.
  • Do you want to know what CMS a website is using? Try WAPPALIZER, a plugin for your web browser.
  • Most hosting companies offer a free, automated install of many popular CMS.

Still not sure where to start?

Download our free eBook "Building a Better Website" or contact Catalpha for a free project consultation and start building a better website today.

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