COMPARING THE MOST COMMON CMS SYSTEMS

WEB DESIGN

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CONTENTS

34 min read

With so many CMS systems on the market, it can be a headache trying to work out which one is right for you.

Are you wanting to create a personal blog?

Are you building an online store?

The nature and purpose of your website will influence which CMS system you choose.

And of course, some platforms are a lot better than others.

In this blog post we’ll analyse 6 of the most common CMS systems, weighing up their usability, flexibility, price, security, and their extension options.

But first things first.

Let’s take a look at the difference between a CMS system and website builder…

CMS vs Website Builder

If you’re looking for website building tools and web hosting in one place, go with a website builder. You can purchase a custom domain, customize the appearance of your site, and create rich multimedia pages with advanced elements like animations and scroll effects.

While you focus on design and content, your hosting platform will take care of your site’s maintenance, security, backups, and more.

In exchange for this ease of use, you have to give up some flexibility. Website builders lack the content management features, advanced functionality, and customization options that you’ll find in CMS platforms.

For that reason, website builders are ideal for agencies, artists, restaurants, and other user types looking to build image-rich sites fast.

For more advanced features and customization options, go with a CMS. With a CMS, you can completely control the design of your site, add multimedia in your posts, organize your content by tags and categories, manage multiple users, edit your site’s underlying code, and much more.

The process of setting up and launching your site will be longer but, in the end, you’ll be able to create and manage a larger and more complex site that can grow over time.

If you’ve decided you want to build a site with a CMS, then you can further narrow down your selection with the following criteria.

Criteria of a Good CMS System:

There are lots of things to consider when deciding which CMS system is right for your business, and let’s be honest, there’s plenty of them on the market all claiming to do the same thing.

It can be a big investment, and the product needs to work for you and your employees. If the system doesn’t provide the right level of usability and flexibility your business requires, it can be very frustrating.

A CMS product should enhance your business offering, not hinder it.

That said, let’s take a look at what makes a good CMS system.
women using laptop

Usability

This is a key deciding factor when purchasing a new CMS product. Usability for a CMS means how easy it is for intended users to work and navigate.

A CMS system should be simple in its usability to ensure people, even less experienced people, can effectively use the system.

The CMS will only be a success if authors can actually use the system without needing guidance and training, which many organisations can’t afford. When assessing the usability of a CMS, there are some core principles a usable system should have. This includes:

  • Minimising the number of options available
  • Providing task based interface
  • Hiding implementation models
  • Providing help and instructions
  • Minimising training and resources
  • Supporting self efficiency

Taking the above considerations into account will help you decide which CMS product to purchase. This is important for any business as you need to be able to use and access the system.

We’re taking a look at some of the best CMS products in this blog, including how user friendly they are, so keep reading to find out more!

Flexibility (Customisability)

Flexibility for a CMS means how much you can do with the CMS. It relates to the different options available to you when you’re building website pages and adding content.

Having more flexibility gives users more control over their website as they can choose how to design it and where they want different things to sit.

A CMS needs to be flexible and scalable and be able to meet the demands of the business. Things change everyday in the world of business and your CMS product needs to keep up. It should support multiple websites from a single platform, publish rich content including images and videos, deliver perfect mobile and desktop experiences, and allow for quick edits with multiple contributors.

All of these factors enhance user experience and allow authors to effectively manage their content with ease. You might find yourself needing to quickly restructure your website or being tasked with adding new product pages or headers.

You need a CMS which can adapt to your needs and fulfil business requirements.

Pricing

Pricing is an obvious one, but it can be complicated to quantify. For example, you can download free software such as WordPress, but you then need to consider other costs such as website hosting and buying a domain name.

Web hosting is a type of internet hosting service that allows your website to be accessible online. A domain name is your address on the internet that people will search for. Both of these things are key to your overall web presence so they need to be factored into your budget.

What seemed cheap at first can quickly stack up, if you don’t consider the different costs before making your purchase.

For this guide we’ll look at complete costs, including any additional add-ons that you would need for a successful website. This includes things like adding forms, live chat, SEO optimisation, and adding event listings.

Different CMS products offer different add ons at very different prices so make sure you do your research first.
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Security

Cybersecurity is vital for any business, because it protects your data from theft and damage. Whether it’s personal or business, every company will hold lots of information on their database about employees and customers.

Without cybersecurity your business will not be able to defend itself against cyber attacks and security breaches meaning all of your data is vulnerable and can be exposed by cybercriminals.

In the wrong hands this could be detrimental to your business. Regardless of whether you’re a small, large, or independent company, you will rely on computers everyday.

Therefore its key is that your data is protected and is able to recover from possible cyber attacks.

Extensions

Add-ons can slow down your website’s loading speeds, so installing add-ons should really be an important value add. In this section we will account for how lean the ‘necessary’ or preferable extensions, plug-ins and add ons are.

As we’ve already covered, different CMS products offer different types of extensions. It’s about choosing the ones that truly add value and can benefit your overall offering.

The great thing about many CMS platforms is the flexibility to choose which add ons work for your business. This means you’re not restricted with ‘out the box’ solutions that don’t fulfil your requirements.

WordPress

WordPress was released in 2003 by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, and is one of the most popular CMS platforms used by both small and large businesses.

We use WordPress to build most of our sites at Canny.

The software can be used to build websites, create blogs, and develop apps, offering businesses variety when it comes to reaching out to customers.

WordPress offers many features such as themes, plugins, and template systems to allow users to customise any website to fit their business.

How User Friendly Is WordPress?

WordPress offers users lots of functionality, whilst still being user friendly.

This can be a hard thing to balance, but they’ve managed it!

Regardless of the issue, there tends to be a solution for it in WordPress whether that’s using a template or installing a new plug in (there are over 58,000 free WordPress plugins)!

Even if you’re not very tech savvy, WordPress is easy to use. I’m honest about the fact that I find tech overwhelming, and will be the first to admit I’m put off by terms which sound very digital.

But WordPress makes it so simple.

Even with limited technical knowledge, you can easily install and customise your website using this platform.

It almost walks you through the process so you’re guided each step of the way. From adding new blog posts and webpages to choosing your design, there’s options for quite literally everything.

And, even better, if you’re stuck with your design, there’s a variety of themes you can choose from to suit the personality of your business.

WordPress makes it easy for everyone to set up their own website, regardless of their prior experience.

How Flexible Is WordPress?

With 58,000 free plugins, you can’t get much more flexible than that!

WordPress is one of the most flexible CMS products, offering users the freedom to customize their website build to suit their needs.

By being able to create and choose your own theme, it allows users to tailor the aesthetics of their website without being restricted. And even if you choose a theme, there is still the option to customise it further without the need for any coding, allowing you to have fun with your web design.

Therefore whether you’re a whizz with code or have zero experience, you can still enjoy setting up and building your own website, experimenting with different designs until you find one that works for you.

With WordPress, you can also choose any hosting provider that you like. Furthermore, if you choose to change hosting providers, you can easily move and migrate your website over, without losing any files.

Although we usually think of blogs when we look at WordPress, it can also be used as an ecommerce platform. By simply adding a WooCommerce store to your website, you can start selling different products and services.

This CMS product is built on flexibility to allow authors to tailor their website and content to suit their individual preferences. Whether it’s a personal blog or a huge ecommerce site, WordPress is multifunctional and will grow with you.
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What does WordPress cost per month?

There are various pricing plans to suit your budget and the needs of your business.

As we’ve mentioned, you can download WordPress for free without signing up to any sort of subscription service. This is ideal if you have a limited budget and only have a small business or personal blog.

Although there aren’t as many customisation options with the free package, you can still build a professional looking website that fulfills your requirements.

If you want to get the most out of your website, there are different packages on both a monthly and annual basis.

The price depends on the type of website you need and the different features available.

  • Personal – £6 per month or £3 per month on an annual basis
  • Premium – £13 per month or £7 per month on an annual basis
  • Business – £27 per month or £20 per month on an annual basis
  • Ecommerce – £47 per month or £40 per month on an annual basis

Something to note is that if you opt for an annual subscription, you get a free domain for one year. This allows you to choose your own website name which is important to building your online presence and getting your brand recognised.

How Secure are WordPress sites?

WordPress has good security practices in place for its core software.

However, there are numerous things which users can do to keep their website safe and secure.

For example you should always keep your WordPress plugins, themes, and software updated. Furthermore, you should only ever install plugins from reputable sources.

When it comes to passwords, you can never be too careful.

Use strong passwords for WordPress including your hosting accounts. Never use ‘admin’ in your username and try to include a mixture of numbers, letters, and special characters.
website applications

What are the Best WordPress plugins?

There are various WordPress plugins available to allow you to add more functionality to your existing website.

Some of the best plugins include:

  • WPForms – Every website needs contact forms as it allows customers to reach out and get in touch with you. WIth WP forms, it only takes a few minutes to create contact forms, email subscriptions, online order forms, polls, and surveys.
  • Live Chat – This is so easy to use for both small and large businesses. There are lots of customisation options and it can be integrated into existing software, CRM, and email marketing.
  • All in One SEO – When it comes to content marketing, you need to stand out in order to get more visitors to your website. All in One SEO is a popular WordPress plugin and offers you lots of features such as adding meta tags and optimising your content for social media.

Other considerations

When it comes to weighing up the pros and cons of WordPress, we can’t help but be drawn to the pros. With so much functionality, this CMS is easy to navigate for even the most novice of users.

My favourite feature is being able to ‘preview’ posts before publishing them. This allows you to see exactly how your content will look and make any alterations before going live.

Wix

Wix was founded in 2006 by Israeli developers Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplanis, and over the last few years has become very well known as an effective website builder for professionals.

It hosts over 160 million websites worldwide, and is most commonly used by small businesses, restaurants, online stores, and photographers.

As a website builder, it utilises a drag and drop service to help small companies build their own websites quickly and efficiently.
man using laptop

How User Friendly Is Wix?

Wix is a user friendly and intuitive website builder which utilises a drag and drop service to allow users to build their site through easily building blocks.

In contrast to other website builders where you can only drop blocks in predetermined areas, with Wix you can drop elements wherever you want.

It is one of the few website builders that allows you to animate texts and different elements to bring your design to life.

Although the existing structure is already there, you can choose your own theme as well as being able to add different media.

The process of using the website is also explained through a series of short introduction videos which outline how to use different functions on the platform. There is also a great FAQ section where you can find lots of answers to some of the common enquiries from users.

There is also the option to use Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). This essentially builds the website for you, but limits your freedom and flexibility when it comes to your personal preferences.

How Flexible Is Wix?

The website builder has a lot to offer both in its free and paid for plans (which we’ll cover a little further down).

From properties such as SEO, blog building, and connection to social media networks, Wix provides users with a whole range of features.
For additional features, users can access Wix’s app store which has lots of free and paid apps including live chat options and newsletter widgets.

These different services make Wix suitable for lots of different websites whether it’s a personal portfolio or a large ecommerce site.

Wix is also known for its responsive website design as it offers features for mobile optimisation, allowing authors to see how their content will be displayed on different devices. There is no need to have two separate sites as the correct version will be displayed to the customer depending on what device they are accessing it on.

When it comes to adapting your content there are lots of options from embedding videos to uploading your own fonts. However, a down side with Wix is that there isn’t an easy way to change templates. If you want to switch your template, you will have to copy all your content over.

Time consuming work!

What does Wix cost per month?

Depending on the nature and size of your business, Wix offers different payment plans to suit your requirements.

The level of functionality differs in each plan so you would need to make sure your chosen plan contains all of the features you need.

  • Free – £0 per month but contains Wix ads and you don’t get your own domain name
  • Connect domain – You can connect your own domain with your Wix website. However, your site will still show Wix ads
  • Combo – this option is great for smaller websites. There are no ads and plenty of storage
  • Unlimited – This plan is great if you need lots of web space (includes up to 10GB)
  • Business and Ecommerce – this is the best plan to create an online store or premium apps

How Secure are Wix sites?

All websites created with Wix automatically come with HTTPS security protocol and can be validated with an SSL certificate.

Wix also has a team of security experts and external consultants who maintain the security of every Wix website. They create defense systems, develop security processes, and build a security infrastructure.

person searching on Google

What Are The Best Wix plugins?

Wix apps extend your website and enhance its functionality. They provide new features that would otherwise be unavailable with your standard version of Wix.

By picking the right apps, which add value to your website, you can improve your offering and appeal to more customers.

The apps you choose will depend on what type of website you’re building and your budget.

  • Wix stores – this allows you to build an online shop and is perfect for ecommerce websites. From creating product and checkout pages to tracking orders and invoices, it provides you with all the elements an online shop should have.
  • Get Google Ads – this connects your website to Google ads and lets you advertise your product or services online. The app guides you through the different stages of developing an effective campaign.
  • Countdown timer- this is one of the best ways to get more excited and engaged in your offering. You can use this app to remind people to book their seat or to sign up to an upcoming event.

Chances are if you have a particular requirement or service that your basic version of Wix is lacking, you can probably find it on the Wixs app store.

Other Considerations

Although templates are grouped by categories in Wix, such as Services and Business, Music, Entertainment, and Photography, you are limited with usability.

The templates themselves cannot be changed which means you are more restricted when it comes to designing. Elements such as colours and backgrounds can be altered, but the template’s main structure remains the same.

Squarespace

Squarespace is an American website building and hosting service based in New York. It was founded by Anthony Casalena in 2004 and allows users to take advantage of pre-built website templates and drag and drop elements.

Squarespace was initially set up for creating and hosting blogs.

However, it has since developed its offering by adding ecommerce features, creating a mobile version of the service, and adding a logo-creation app.

How User Friendly Is Squarespace?

Users of Squarespace can take advantage of pre-built templates and use a variety of drag and drop widgets to add text and images. This makes building a website and designing webpages easy and you can place different elements where you need them.

Squarespace makes life easy for customers by providing on screen instructions which walk users through different processes. This includes features such as search engine optimisation and setting up an ecommerce site.

The blogging feature is easy to use and allows authors to edit content, images, headers, and sub headers. You can also save and schedule posts so they are published live at the optimum time for website traffic.

There is also a great support team thanks to live chat. Here you can get quick responses to your different enquiries, and the team also upload screenshots to show you step by step processes.
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How Flexible Is Squarespace?

There are over 100 free website design templates available from Squarespace allowing you to easily cherry pick a template which suits your needs.

Each template is optimised for mobile phones and tablets and comes with the option to customise fonts, images, colours, and sizes through the design menu.

The developers of Squarespace also create custom templates at a fee to allow users the freedom to fully design their own website.

Squarespace also has a fully customizable contact form builder with lots of field options to allow you to structure your form in the way you want.

There is also a great range of features and podcast support, which reflects Squarespace’s aim to become a complete, all-in-one business platform.

What does Squarespace cost per month?

As with WordPress and Wix, squarespace offers a range of payment plans to suit the needs of your website build.

Take a look at their different pricing options below:

  • Personal – £10 per month. This is a great option if you don’t have an online store
  • Business – £15 per month. Includes features such as pop-ups
  • Online store (basic) – £20 per month. Allows you to sell online without transaction fees
  • Online store (advanced) £30 per month. Includes all advanced ecommerce features

The above prices are based on one year contracts.

The domain name registration is included for free for the first year.

How Secure are Squarespace sites?

Squarespace has lots of features to keep your website safe and secure.

This includes leveraging SSL certificates to encrypt data in-transit between website end users and customer domains.

They also employ a dedicated team of security experts who are responsible for the implementation of controls, processes, and procedures governing the security of Squarespace and its customer websites.

The team also actively monitors Squarespace environments and uses the information gathered to improve security measures.

What are the Best Squarespace plugins?

You can customise your existing Squarespace website by adding different plugins.

If you want to add advanced features and functionality, this is a great way of doing so and allows you to get more out of your website.

  • Testimonial slider plugin – with this plugin you can showcase your testimonials with style. Testimonials from previous customers add great value to your website so they need to look good.
  • Upsell page plug in – This is a great way of increasing revenue by directing customers to an upsell page after they add an item to their shopping cart.
  • Logo loading GIF – This presents website visitors with an animated GIF which is a great way of preventing them from leaving due to a slow loading page.

Other Considerations

A down side of Squarespace is the user interface is quite minimalistic and takes a little bit of time to figure out. Also, some of the page elements are only represented by an icon and don’t reveal their true purpose without a little bit of digging first.
women on laptop using bank card

Shopify

Shopify is a Canadian multinational e-commerce platform and was launched in 2006 by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake.

It offers customers a range of services including setting up payments, online orders, shipping, marketing, and customer engagement tools.

Around 170 countries use the platform and popularity is continuing to grow. Due to Shopify’s different features, it makes online shopping easy and enjoyable.

How User Friendly Is Shopify?

Shopify can be scaled up on down for small and large businesses.

The platform allows beginners to set up and create their own online stores without the need for coding (phew!). It’s logically structured which allows users to easily navigate their way through the CMS.

Before going live, users can also design and rearrange elements with a preview in the backend so they can be sure their website fulfils their requirements.

As well as helping individuals and businesses to launch their own store, Shopify also supports them to open additional channels including Amazon, eBay and Facebook to reach more customers and maximise their exposure.

The platform also offers customer support tools to help businesses through the process including live chat. This provides customers with instant responses so they concentrate on setting up the rest of their website with minimal stress.

Unlike some platforms, the support team is on hand 24 hours a day which gives customers round the clock advice and guidance.

Also users can relax when it comes to the technical stuff. Almost everything can be resolved in a few clicks, or alternatively there’s beginner guides and documentation to guide users through different aspects of the set-up.

How Flexible Is Shopify?

There are so many functionalities to be enjoyed when setting up a Shopify website.

When it comes to uploading your products, the platform makes it easy to upload all of the relevant information whilst still making your products stand out.

From adding zoom functions to images, to adding picture galleries and video content, the platform offers a range of features to promote your products to customers.

There is also an additional ‘abandoned shopping cart’ feature which allows businesses to remind customers when they have left something in their basket. This helps increase revenue by encouraging customers to complete their purchase.

Shopify offers over 100 external payment processing options including PayPal, so websites can accept a customer’s payment method of choice. They have even developed their own Shopify Payments Gateway which will waive the Shopify transaction fee when selling goods.

There is also huge flexibility when it comes to choosing your Shopify template. The designs cover a wide range of categories including food, fashion, and music, allowing you to choose the one that’s best suited to your business offering.

What does Shopify cost per month?

You can choose a payment plan which suits your business requirements and your budget.

With Shopify, you can also get a 14 day free trial to allow you to experience the platform for yourself before you commit to a subscription.

  • Basic Shopify – $29 a month. This is the best option for new businesses. You can sell an unlimited amount of products and have access to features such as ‘abandoned shopping cart’
  • Shopify – $79 a month. This is best suited to growing businesses with 1 retail store. With this option you can get access to more features including reports and international pricing
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 a month. This payment option works best for growing businesses with 2+ retail stores. You will have access to advanced features such as automatically calculated shipping rates

mobile and computer showing security settings

How Secure are Shopify sites?

Shopify is committed to keeping their systems up to date with security best practices.

All Shopify online stores are PCI compliant which gives both retailers and customers peace of mind when completing online transactions. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) aims to protect cardholder data during transactions.

As a result of being PCI compliant, Shopify conforms to all 6 PCI standard categories.

This includes maintaining a secure network, protecting cardholder data, maintaining a vulnerability management program, implementing strong access control measures, monitoring and testing networks, and maintaining an information security policy.

This helps to reassure all businesses that their website is in safe hands and that their online security is a top priority.

What are the Best Shopify plugins?

Shopify plugins are very useful and can be used to increase functionality, attract new customers, and increase revenue.

One of the many reasons people love this platform is the range of built in tools. However, if there’s something the standard version is lacking, there is also a variety of added extras which can be installed to meet your requirements.

  • Plug in SEO – A key part of an ecommerce website is being visible in search engines. With this plug-in, you can improve the ranking of your online store as well as being able to review meta descriptions, titles, and headlines, which could be compromising your performance.
  • Free trust badge – One of the reasons people abandon their purchases is due to a lack of trust in an online store. With this plugin you can have access to a range of badges including big names such as ‘mastercard’ and ‘visa’ which instills trust in potential customers.
  • Wishlist plus – This makes it easy for customers to ‘favourite’ items they like so that if they leave and return to your website a little later, they can access the items and make their purchase.

Other Considerations

Whilst Shopify is a fantastic ecommerce website, it can be a little more difficult to use this CMS for non ecommerce content. However, it does have it’s own blog and there is the option to create landing pages, so still plenty of scope if you’re a non ecommerce business.

Drupal

Drupal is a content management system used by companies around the world from personal blogs to government websites.

You will most definitely have used a Drupal website at some point as large organisations such as the BBC, Harvard, Cisco, and Twitter use this platform.

Drupal is free to download and can be used by anyone wanting to build their own website. There are lots of customisation options available to allow businesses to modify the platform to fit their needs.
website coding

How User Friendly Is Drupal?

As a CMS platform, Drupal is slightly more difficult to figure out than its competitors such as WordPress and Shopify.

It requires a little more technical knowledge than other platforms in terms of building your website, uploading content, and installing plugins.

In Drupal, these plugins are known as modules. In contrast to WordPress, where users can install and manage plugins without needing help from a developer, in Drupal, these additional features are more complex.

To effectively install and use the modules, it will require the support of someone with technical expertise.

It’s a platform that is better suited for someone who has more experience in websites rather than total beginners who are just starting out.

However, Drupal has an active user community who are on hand to answer questions when they arise. Also recent updates to the platform, including Drupal 8, aims to make building a website through Drupal easier for non-developers.

How Flexible Is Drupal?

Whilst there are some design themes available in Drupal to get you started, it is mostly built for custom design.

The user interface allows you to create and publish content easily and accommodates unlimited content types. This includes adding text and media content, with highly customisable forms so you can capture customer information.

There are also powerful editing tools which allow you to tailor your content to suit your business objectives.

Drupal also has the capacity to handle large volumes of content and can be accessed by thousands of users, making it a great option for large businesses. It has advanced user permissions, including site admins and content editors so it is able to support multiple site stakeholders.

Updates in Drupal 8 have also improved the performance of different web pages by reducing loading times.

As a whole, Drupal is a robust CMS system capable of handling complex projects and is geared towards larger corporations.

What does Drupal cost per month?

Drupal is a free content management system. By checking out the Drupal website, you can try a free demo installation of the platform in less than 20 minutes.

Whilst it’s free to download and use, costs would be incurred if you had to hire a professional website developer to help.

Individual Drupal developers are usually more expensive than WordPress developers for example, as there are less of them. This is something to consider if you choose to use this system for your business.

How Secure are Drupal sites?

Drupal is a secure network and is built with robust security in mind.

As mentioned above, huge government corporations use Drupal so rely on the platform to keep their information and data safe.

In terms of their security team, Drupal has a team of experts, alongside one of the largest developer communities in the world. This ensures a rapid response to any incoming security issues.

Many security problems are identified and prevented immediately by Drupal’s strong coding practices and rigorous community code review process.
laptop screen

What are the Best Drupal plugins?

As we’ve already touched on, plugins in Drupal are known as modules.

These can be added into your existing Drupal website to enhance and extend its functionality.

It’s about choosing the right modules which benefit your website and offer something extra that your existing design doesn’t.

Let’s take a look at some options…

  • Admin toolbar module – This enables better navigation for site builders and site administrators to access the website. The default toolbar isn’t very user friendly but with this option, users can easily access various pages.
  • Webform module – Websites rely on forms to capture customer details and increase engagement, whether it’s a survey or feedback form. This option provides a rich form builder which is easily customisable.
  • Drupal Google Analytics – This adds Google Analytics tracking to your website so you can see how different webpages and pieces of content are performing. This provides lots of insights and can be used to inform your content marketing strategy.

Other Considerations

Whilst Drupal has many features and is used by lots of established companies across the globe, it does take time to get used to. It also requires a certain level of expertise, and is a more difficult system to navigate than its competitors.

To get a website that functions and looks good, you will need to employ the help of a web developer which can be costly and time consuming. If you’re working solo or on a budget, this might not be the most suitable option.

Weebly

Weebly was founded in 2006 by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri.

Both Rusenko and Fanini attended the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) where they were required to keep an internet portfolio as part of their course. They used this concept to create a software that made it easy for anyone to build their own website.

In 2008, Weebly added monetisation features to its platform as well as compatibility with Google Safari and Chrome.

In 2016, Weebly broadened its offering further by focusing on ecommerce, with the release of Weebly 4, and Weebly Promote which is an integrated marketing tool.

Bringing these up to the present day, lots of sellers around the world use this platform for their business.
man smiling at laptop

How User Friendly Is Weebly?

Weebly is very easy to use as what you see on screen is exactly what you get.

Utilising a simple drag and drop service, the platform allows users to build a website exactly how they want, and to see this vision come to life in front of them.

There is no need to switch from the back end to the front end to see how different elements will look as you get a true visual whilst you’re working. Simply use your mouse to move boxes, text, images, and buttons – it’s as straightforward as Powerpoint!

This saves time and effort and allows users to have more fun experimenting with different layouts and features.

There is also no code required which is great for startups and non-developers as they can manage the build on their own.

However, lots of platforms use this simple drag and drop service, so what sets Weebly apart from competitors?

Is the system as flexible as it’s competitors?

Let’s take a look.

How Flexible Is Weebly?

In comparison to other CMS platforms utilising a similar drag and drop technology, where Weebly lacks is its customisation.

Whilst it’s very easy to use and authors can play about with different elements, it’s almost too basic. It’s difficult for users to get their website exactly how they want as they are limited when it comes to customisation.

In terms of themes, Weebly doesn’t have the biggest choice. There are around 40 themes to choose from which gives you some, but not alot of options when it comes to designing.

But, the themes they do have are attractive and respond well on mobile. This is great news for any business as we all know how much time customers spend on their phones! This means your website will look great regardless of what device it’s accessed on.

You can also switch your theme any time you like if you have a change of heart!

However, again where this falls short compared to competitors such as WordPress, is that you can’t really customise the the theme.

Sure, you can change colours and fonts which are basic elements, but the body of the theme is quite structured.

This is great for small businesses who might want more guidance when building a website, but definitely a down side if you want full creative control.
pennies pouring out of money jar

What does Weebly cost per month?

Depending on the level of functionality you want your business to have, Weebly offers a range of pricing packages.

The below prices are based on a monthly when paid annually over the course of a year.

  • Free – £0 per month. Free to use but limited features. Your domain would include Weebly branding.
  • Connect – £4 per month. More functionality for your business including a custom domain name.
  • Pro – £9 per month. This option is suited to groups and organisations.
  • Business – £18 per month. This option works well for small businesses and stores.

How Secure are Weebly sites?

All Weebly websites are protected by a DDoS mitigation service for advanced cyber attack protection.

DDoS refers to the process of protecting a server or network from a distributed denial of service (DDoS attack).

Customers can also automatically add an SSL certificate to their website if they’re concerned about security risks. This certificate ensures customers visiting your website are navigating over an encrypted connection.

For ecommerce websites, this enables customers to check out directly on your domain.

What are the Best Weebly plugins?

Weebly offers a range of plugins to add extra functionality and design features to your website.

We’ve taken a pick of some of the best Weebly plugins which can be used to enhance the experience of users when they visit your website and increase sales.

    • Sales pop – This free plugin helps build credibility and trust with potential customers. These pops up encourage them to buy products by letting them know how many other customers have bought this product etc.
    • Mail bot – This helps you plan and send weekly newsletters to customers. Email marketing is an effective communication tool for any business, small or large.
    • Countdown cart – This helps create a sense of urgency for customers. The app adds a countdown timer and a stock counter to encourage customers to complete their purchase.

Other Considerations

Weebly is great for small businesses and personal blogs due to its simplicity as users can build their own website with no hassle. The editor is straightforward to use so it’s a great tool if people have little to no experience.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this CMS product for bigger businesses or those who want more control over their website design. As we’ve covered, you’re limited with customisation options so it can be quite restrictive.

Comparing the Most Common CMS Systems

After reviewing the criteria of a good CMS, and the different CMS products on the market, I think it’s safe to say we have our winners.

Congratulations to… WordPress and Shopify!

Both of these platforms are built with user experience in mind, from the initial set up to customisation and additional features. You don’t need to be a tech guru, or a coding pro to use these CMS systems as they walk you through the entire process.

Building your own website shouldn’t be difficult.

Users should feel confident and comfortable uploading and editing different types of content. What’s more, they should be able to have FUN with their website build and have the freedom to be as creative as they like within their CMS.

Building your website is an exciting part of any business, but you might need some help getting there. Why not get in touch with our team of experts and see how we can benefit your business?