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What are the most popular content management systems?

Do a quick search online for content management systems and you’ll get a whole load of results, pages and pages of them. How do you choose? If you’re busy researching the most popular CMS, this article is for you. We’ll reveal how to choose a CMS platform, take a look at some of the best-loved CMS out there, and recommend how to pick the best CMS for your business. By the end of it you’ll have a good idea of the best-in-breed content management solutions and which might suit your needs most. Why are we making recommendations about the most popular CMS platforms? As an experienced B2B web design agency with years of website design and web development behind us, we’ve done the hard work for you. Read on to discover our top CMS recommendations.

How to choose a CMS platform

A CMS is a tool you use to make it easier to manage a website’s content. It lets you add new pages, blog posts, articles, images and text, video, animations, and every other imaginable kind of content without having to delve into the code. CMS are designed to be intuitive so everyone can use them. Some are easier for beginners to get to grips with than others. But they’re all about saving time, saving hassle, and making the site design and development task easy, fast, efficient, and enjoyable.

So let’s nail the first important information down for you. How to choose a CMS platform? Like any important purchase, it’s about making sure every element of the product suits your needs as well as possible, without going crazy on features you probably won’t need. It involves making sure the price fits your budget while giving you the support and ongoing requirements you need. Useability matters a lot, so check you’ll find it simple to learn and digest. The features are vital too – you need to know the CMS will do all the things you want it to do, ideally as standard. There’s a difference between the kind of CMS you’ll want for an ecommerce site and your needs for an informational site. How much security do you need? If we’re talking about people spending big bucks, particularly good security might swing it for you. And how about add-ons and extras? Will they prove useful or just clutter up your life with irrelevant stuff?         

The most popular CMS platforms

Next, let’s explore our expert take on the most popular CMS programmes. We’ll reveal a collection of popular CMS platforms, each of which deliver greatness: those with the best CMS overall, best features, best pricing, and the best solution for ecommerce. Here goes.

Best CMS - Umbraco & Wordpres 

Umbraco is best known for giving developers supreme flexibility, great security, and easy scalability. It is one of the most popular CMS platforms for good reasons, called the ‘friendly CMS’ because it provides users, content managers and editors a beautifully simple interface with truly intuitive editing capabilities. The CMS is kept up to date by a team of experts at Umbraco HQ, so is always current and always dovetails with search engine needs.

It comes with:

  • No-code content creation – anyone can do it
  • Customised content management
  • The ability to draft and schedule content to go live when you’re not there
  • Multi-device previews to reassure you the content works on every screen size
  • Versioning, rollback and audit trail so your content is never lost
  • A customisable workflow
  • A WYSIWYG editor – What You See Is What You Get means you know exactly how your content will display when you make it live
  • Image auto-cropping to save you time and hassle
  • A customisable media library to stash your essentials
  • Edit content in multiple languages
  • Customisable templates and pre-made themes to use – and razor templating
  • Control HTML, CAA and Javascript markup the way you want it
  • Custom fonts and colours
  • Hundreds of extensions to add to the functionality
  • Integrates with any software or service
  • Open APIs / GraphQL API
  • Clean code
  • MVC based architecture
  • Built-in caching
  • Health checks for your solutions
  • Excellent security
  • Masses of marketing features including SEO, social media, personalisation, its own powerful search engine, marketing automation and a handy no-code form builder
  • Loads of Open Source features
  • The web accessibility features you need
  • Everything you need for blogging
  • Brilliant hosting and support

Umbraco costs nothing for the free version, £9,000 a year for the Pro version, and there’s flexible pricing on the Enterprise version. 

Umbraco is best for more or less every kind of design and development project, most often used to design websites, online shops, intranets, and headless solutions.

WordPress is another of the most popular CMS platforms, best known for being simple to use, flexible, and powerful. The dashboard is straightforward, containing clear menu options. It’s easy to create any sort of content as well as customise the design, add more menus, and loads more. And there’s a wealth of templates and plugins to choose from to make your design and development life easier.

It comes with a load of features as standard:

  • Simplicity and flexibility built in
  • Publish content fast and easily
  • Create drafts, schedule publication, check post revisions, make content public or keep it private, keep posts and pages secure with a password
  • Let a variety of contributors do their thing, and others become part of your community.
  • Easily upload images and media t- drag and drop into an uploader, add alt text and captions, insert images and galleries
  • WordPress code fully complies with W3C standards so works in current browsers as well as being future-proofed for new browser tech
  • Three default themes
  • A theme directory with thousands of themes or upload your own theme in one click
  • A plugin directory with thousands of plugins
  • Built-in comment system
  • SEO
  • Multiple languages
  • Easy to install and upgrade
  • Includes importers for Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, TypePad, Tumblr, and WordPress
  • Truly secure data, only available to you
  • Feel free to modify it...
  • A huge dedicated community keeps everything up to date
  • A theme system, application framework, and custom content for developers

WordPress costs nothing. It’s completely free. Originally created for blogging, the CMS is used for forums, media galleries, membership sites, learning management systems (LMS) and ecommerce.

Features – Wix

As seen on TV, the Wix CMS is a member of our most popular CMS platforms list, best known for cloud-based web development. You can use it to build  HTML5 and mobile websites via a simple online drag and drop protocol to make apps, texts, image galleries, vectors, graphics, simulations, and lots more with ease.

It comes with all this:

  • A powerful Drag and Drop editor for enjoyable layout
  • More than 500 templates, varied and exciting
  • Very fast loading
  • A blog dashboard for user friendly blog design and management
  • A personalized SEO plan to guide you through the basics of search engine optimisation
  • Wix ADI artificial intelligence to guide you every step of the way
  • Separate mobile optimisation
  • You’re welcome to improve your site by working on Wix’s open development platform, Corvid

Wix is free to use for smaller projects. The premium version is priced from £4.50 a month, and Wix is best for blogging, great for entrepreneurs, and good for small businesses.

Pricing - Squarespace & Joomla

Originally designed as a SaaS based CMS for blogging, website building and hosting, these days the Squarespace CMS is best known for being an experienced contender in the ecommerce world.

It comes with these features, making it one of the most popular CMS right now:

  • Domains
  • Website builder
  • Pre-built layouts
  • Extensive extensions
  • Every content type is accounted for including text, photos, animations, audio, galleries, newsletter sign-up, tour dates, appointments and more via simple site building tools
  • Customisable templates, page layouts and content layouts
  • Easy-to-duplicate pages
  • A host of great design tools
  • Design panel
  • Comments system
  • Custom CSS
  • Multiple contributors and access types
  • Custom redirects
  • Built-in mobile sites
  • Passwords and locks
  • Site search engine
  • Squarespace app
  • Comprehensive blogging features
  • A host of popular portfolio functions
  • Every aspect of ecommerce catered for, including merchandising, subscriptions, and ways to showcase products to their best advantage
  • Customer accounts and member areas
  • Selling on Instagram, donations, and everything to do with payments
  • Marketing tools, marketing and sales analytics, social media integrations, email campaigns
  • Security and privacy

Squarespace, another of the most popular CMS platforms, costs £10 a month for a personal license, £15/month for business, £20 a month for basic commerce and £30 a month for advanced commerce, with discounts if you pay annually. While anyone can use it, Squarespace is best for artists, designers, photographers, and others in the creative sector, specifically designed for the purpose.  

The Joomla CMS is best known for its model-view-controller web application framework, which can be used independently of the CMS to make powerful online applications. Written in PHP and designed to publish web content, it harnesses object-oriented programming and a MySQL database to do its thing. It comes with a directory of handy extensions plus this as standard, out of the box:

  • A registration system with personal options for 9 user groups with different permissions for access, editing, publishing and admin
  • A Media Manager integrated with the Article Editor tool for grabbing files like images quickly when you need them
  • A language editor
  • Banner management
  • Comprehensive contact management
  • Simple, intuitive content management
  • Search facility
  • Link management
  • Syndication and newsfeed management
  • Templates
  • RSS feeds
  • Integrated Help system
  • Speedy page loads via page caching, granular-level module caching, and GZIP page compression
  • Debugging mode and error reporting for smooth error-fixing
  • An FTP Layer for file operations like installing Extensions without making your folders and files writable – great for security
  • Admins can communicate with users one-on-one via private messaging
  • Communicate with all site users with a mass emailing system

Joomla users can create websites free, either hosted themselves or with Joomla. Upgrade to private hosting if you like, with SiteGround. A personal license costs from $99, a business license from $199, and an agency license from $399. Joomla is best for social networks, personal sites, and large and small ecommerce sites. It’s just as good for beginners as it is for experienced site designers and developers.

Ecommerce – Shopify

The Shopify CMS is another of the most popular CMS, best known as a very popular ecommerce CMS platform. This is where a variety of big brands live, including some with annual revenue of more than $300 million, as well as lots of smaller online shops. It comes with these core features:

  • A powerful Web Builder with Easy Drag and Drop options
  • Mobile Commerce no problem
  • More than 100 payment gateways
  • Multiple languages
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Easy to set up, use and manage – automatically calculates shipping costs and tax, sends reminders
  • Customer Profiles, Accounts, and groups
  • Email Templates
  • Fulfilment Centres
  • Dropshipping
  • Great storefront management from anywhere
  • SEO tools and marketing tools
  • Social media integration
  • Superb security – Level 1 PCI compliant
  • Valuable support – Help centre, online discussion groups, access to experts and the ecommerce university
  • Reminders for abandoned carts
  • Detailed Shopify anaytics

Shopify costs £19 a month for the basic version, ideal for new ecommerce sites with occasional in-person sales. It’s £49 a month for Shopify for growing businesses selling online or in-store, and £259 a month for the Advanced version, ideal if you want things to be easily scalable and need advanced reporting. Shopify is great for large retail businesses, good for ecommerce of all sizes. 

Picking the best CMS for your business

How do you go about choosing from our list of the most popular CMS platforms? Basically it’s the same kind of process you go through when buying anything for your online business. Think about the purpose of your website, and how it might change or grow in future.  It’ll need to fit in with your budget, and suit the market you operate in. It depends on the array of features you want on the site, and on your own website management experience and skills.

Are you ready to rock ‘n’ roll with a great CMS?  

That’s it. By now you’ll have a decent idea about the kind of CMS you need, why you need the features you’re seeking, and which of the most popular CMS we’ve covered delivers what you want. As experienced web designers and developers we’ll be delighted to support you, whatever you want to achieve from your online presence. 

Shall we talk? You can call us on 01844 888 777, email us at, or use our Contact Form to approach us, and we’ll get back to you in no time.

Intuitiv Digital

2 Bridge Road
Ickford, nr Thame
HP18 9HX