There are more than 64 million websites online right now that use content management software (CMS).
These tools allow you to create websites, manage content and improve your business without knowing code and analytics.
They also save you time and money by helping you do the research needed to manage your content.
Although we consider WordPress the best, your needs may benefit from another option.
We’ve researched to find the best CMS options out there, but before diving into that, it’s important to showcase why you should be using these tools and what to look for when choosing one.
- Best Content Management Software (Overview)
- An Overview of Content Management Software
- Features to Look for In Content Management Software
- Best Content Management Software: Our Top 3 Options [Ranked & Reviewed]
- The Best Free Content Management Software Options
- Notable Mentions: Notable Mentions: Other Content Management Software To Check Out
- Even More, Options To Check Out
- Other Products Relevant to Content Management Software
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
Best Content Management Software (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
Our Top Picks
- WordPress – our pick
- Wix – runner up
- WordPress.org – budget pick
- Google Docs
Quick Breakdown of Our Suggestions
Don’t want to read our entire post? Here’s a quick summary of what we recommend:
What is the Best Content Management Software?
The best content management software is WordPress.com.
It offers great tools, is easy to use, and is affordable compared to similar products.
What is the Best Free Content Management Software?
The best free content management software is Blogger.
It has features comparable to our top pick, but you don’t need to shell out any money to get started with the software.
It’s an excellent choice for newer businesses that don’t have a solid revenue stream yet but need assistance with content management.
An Overview of Content Management Software
Before we dive into the best content management software out there, learning more about what these are and how they can benefit you is critical.
What is Content Management Software?
Content management systems or software, are applications that help handle the basics of website creation.
They help customize your website, manage content, and keep your business running smoothly without stressing you.
They’re similar to content optimization software.
There are three main types of content management software: open-source, cloud, and proprietary.
Open-source is a group of developers who maintain the software instead of one company.
Cloud CMS is a system you can access without downloading anything to your computer.
Proprietary has a licensing fee and is legally owned by a company that created it.
Why is Content Management Software Important?
Content management software is essential because it can help you grow your business.
It’s one of those tools you need to have a successful online presence.
The software can help you with the types of content you might want to create, topics to write about, and more, depending on the SEO and competitor research.
With CMS, you’ll expand your business, stay relevant, and rank higher than your competitors.
Do I Need Content Management Software?
Technically, you don’t need content management software for your business or help create content, but it’s a helpful tool.
The difference in your business you’ll see when you need to utilize these tools and when you are will be impressive, and you’ll never go back to not using CMS.
Features to Look for In Content Management Software
When looking into content management software, you’ll want to look into five main characteristics.
Below you’ll find five features that you’ll want in a CMS, which are what we base our top recommendations on.
Cost is one of the main things you must consider when choosing a CMS.
Depending on your budget, you’ll be able to afford specific software rather than others.
You’ll want to assess the price with all the other features to ensure you make the most cost-effective choice for your business.
Whenever you’re choosing a tool to help you with your business, scalability needs to be considered.
You’ll want to select software that will grow with you as your business needs do.
Ideally, you will want to avoid continuously switching CMS tools as your company expands and reaches large audiences.
3. Ease of Use
Whether you have experience with CMS tools or not, finding one that you find easy to use is essential.
You don’t want to have to spend hours learning how to use the software.
Even though there are almost always learning curves with everything, the more time you have to spend learning, the less time you’re focusing on other aspects of your website and business.
Whenever you’re using something online, the security of you and your customers is vital to being a trustworthy company.
You don’t want your customers shopping with you and having their information stolen because you chose a low-security CMS.
5. Multilingual Capabilities
You’ll want to ensure that your content can reach people around the world if that’s your goal.
That means your content needs to be in languages people can understand.
Even if you only speak one or two languages, having a CMS that can help translate to other languages so you can reach other parts of the world is a great feature to look for.
Best Content Management Software: Our Top 3 Options [Ranked & Reviewed]
Now for the main reason, you’re here, the best CMS.
These are our top three picks for the best content management software for your business.
WordPress: Our Pick
WordPress is responsible for more than 40% of all the websites that are online currently.
This platform is perfect for businesses of all sizes and types.
Whether you’re running a blog, eCommerce store, or another business, you’ll be able to manage all your content easily.
Key Features of WordPress
There are a lot of things to love about WordPress.
There are a lot of great features, but if we’re trying to sell you on why you should choose WordPress for content management software, here are the five main features you should keep in mind:
- It’s SEO friendly: The CMS will help research keywords that are relevant to your website and what your competitors are using to help you rank higher on Google and drive more traffic to your website.
- There are a lot of website themes: You can customize your website to be whatever you want with ease. It comes with various website themes on the platform, or you can utilize third-party themes.
- Unlimited storage is available: With their business plan, unlimited storage is still an affordable option compared with other similar CMS.
- It has scalability: Whatever your business goals are, you can quickly grow your business without switching content management software.
- It has high security: They ensure all their users are protected with the best protection and that their customers’ information won’t be compromised.
Why is WordPress a Great Solution?
WordPress is an excellent solution because it has everything you could want in content management software.
It’s easy to use and easy to understand, and the plugins are easy to install so that you can make your website entirely your own.
You can manage your content from anywhere worldwide as long as you have an internet connection and your mobile phone.
Pros of WordPress
- Plugins are easy to install: Since WordPress is known for its plugins, they’re easy to install and make your content more accessible.
- You don’t need any coding skills: You don’t need to have any special coding skills to understand the platform and manage your content.
- It’s mobile-friendly: You can use the CMS tool across devices and on your mobile phone when you’re on the go.
Cons of WordPress
- You need multiple plugins: While it’s great that you can utilize them on WordPress, depending on which plan you choose, you might have to install many of them to get the functionality and appearance your website wants.
- It’s slower than some options: From some users, they experience a much slower load time than other options. The information from the CMS portion can be slow to load and not consistently accurate because it doesn’t update as frequently.
- It shuts down randomly: There have been reports of websites going down without notice on WordPress. While it doesn’t happen too often, it’s something that you need to be aware of.
WordPress vs. Other Top Recommendations: How They Compare
When comparing WordPress.com with other options, there’s a lot that makes it stand out among others.
It’s very affordable, and the features you get are top-notch without shelling out hundreds of dollars.
You also have a built-in website builder and host, so you don’t need to pay for multiple platforms like you would with other content management software.
One of the main reasons we’ve chosen WordPress.com as our top pick is the CMS’s affordability.
Here’s a quick look at the pricing of WordPress.com:
- Personal: $4 per month billed annually
- Premium: $8 per month billed annually
- Business: $25 per month billed annually
- eCommerce: $45 per month billed annually
Can You Try WordPress for Free?
There’s a free version of WordPress.com that you can try.
Remember that the free version has super limited features and isn’t worth it since the other plans are very affordable.
You can request a free trial of one of their paid plans.
Conclusion: Should You Choose WordPress?
We believe you should choose WordPress, or we would have ranked it as something other than our number one pick for content management software.
The features are easy to understand and help you manage your content seamlessly without hiring a professional content manager.
Our runner-up for a great content management software is Wix.
They’re arguably the most popular website builder and content management software besides WordPress, which is a testament to how great an option it is.
Key Features of Wix
The features of Wix are worth considering when choosing a CMS.
There are a lot of beneficial features, but if we had to choose, these are the five best features:
- It has SEO Wiz: The SEO Wiz knows how to use keywords in the best possible way to ensure more traffic comes to your website. When you have more site visitors, the more likely you’ll have conversion and make money and grow your business.
- You can allow bookings: Only some content management software allows you to set up an area where you can book appointments. This opens more doors for the different types of websites you can run on Wix.
- Video content creation: If you’re branching into video content to improve your online presence, you can use Wix video. You can add the videos directly to your page without needing links and other technical components.
- Advanced SEO tools: The SEO tools are critical to managing and creating content that will boost your ranking on Google. Their SEO tool is more advanced than other options.
- Contact management: If your website receives emails and messages, it will track who is messaging you and if they’re a repeat customer, which can help build trust and loyalty.
Why is Wix a Great Solution?
Wix is an excellent solution for your business because it has terrific customer service, drag-and-drop features, and video content creation and management.
Their SEO tools are top-notch, and you’ll be able to create content that will boost your traffic without researching on your own.
Pros of Wix
- They have excellent customer service: When running a business, having access to customer service is helpful. You can get in touch with Wix customer service in several ways, and they can answer all questions you have about using the content management software.
- They have starter templates: If this is your first website and time using CMS, they have plenty of starter templates that look great and will work while you’re getting started.
- Live editing: You can edit your website live as needed as you get information about your content. You can quickly edit the website without taking it offline when you make new content.
Cons of Wix
- There are limitations for mobile devices: While you can view your website on your mobile device, you cannot manage your content from your smartphone or tablet. You’ll need to use a laptop or desktop.
- The analytics need improving: While they will track visitors and can provide you with basic information, their analytics needs improving. You can still function with their analytics, but if you want to get more in-depth, you need another platform.
- You cannot switch templates in live editing: Even though you can live edit your website, you cannot entirely change the template. You can move things around and change fonts and wording, but if you want to change the template, you need to take it down first.
Wix vs. Other Top Recommendations: How They Compare
While Wix doesn’t have the cheapest pricing plans compared to WordPress.com and WordPress.org, it’s still affordable, and the features are worth the additional price tag.
It is compared to WordPress.com thanks to the SEO features and mobile content management options.
Wix has some of the most extensive pricing options.
Here’s what you can expect pricing-wise from Wix:
- Combo: $16 per month
- Unlimited: $22 per month
- Pro: $27 per month
- VIP: $45 per month
- Business Basic: $27 per month
- Business Unlimited: $32 per month
- Business VIP: $59 per month
- Enterprise Plans: Custom pricing
Can You Try Wix for Free?
Wix offers a free trial of its CMS services.
You can get your Wix free trial for all their plans except for their enterprise plans.
Conclusion: Should You Choose Wix?
We believe that if you’re okay with paying a slightly higher price tag, then you should choose Wix.
The features are comparable to our other top choices, but it’s somewhat more reliable than the others, and you can try it for free before committing.
WordPress.org: Budget Pick
Many people don’t realize that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different entities.
While similar, there are differences, but WordPress.org is our budget pick because the pricing is ideal for those starting out.
Key Features of WordPress.org
What makes WordPress.org stand out from the competition, especially how it stacks up against WordPress.com?
Here are our top five favorite features of WordPress.org:
- Easy plugin installation: Since it’s still related to WordPress.com, you can install all the plugins you want to customize your website easily on WordPress.org. These can be beneficial to content management and growth.
- Media management: It uses analytical tools to help you decide what type of content you want to publish and the topics your audience wants to see you post the most about.
- Content scheduling: The content management software will allow you to schedule when you want your new content to publish. This can be perfectly timed and will enable you to mass produce content well in advance to help you grow your business and make meaningful content.
- Unlimited pages: Unlike with other content management software, you have a limit on the number of pages you can post on your website. There’s no limit on WordPress.org, so you can organize your content meticulously and in a way that your audience can easily access.
- Content integration: You’ll be able to integrate your website across apps and devices without installing a bunch of software or hardware.
Why is WordPress.org a Great Solution?
WordPress.org is an excellent solution for those who want to spend less money but are interested in an open-source CMS.
You’ll have complete control of your website and your content management.
Pros of WordPress.org
- You can choose your own website hosting: Unlike WordPress.com, you can use WordPress.org to build and manage your website and select your host. It doesn’t have to be on WordPress.com like you would with WordPress.com.
- There are no restrictions on content type: As long as it’s legal, you can create all kinds of content on WordPress.org. No restrictions mean you’re free to get creative in ways you can’t with other content management software.
- You get 100% control over your website: Since WordPress.org is self-hosted, you have complete control over your website. You can customize it with your own themes instead of premade ones.
Cons of WordPress.org
- You have to handle all data backups: Since you’re in complete control of your website, you’re responsible for backing up any data from your website. Even though the CMS can help with management, it cannot handle backups.
- You need to provide security: Other platforms provide robust security practices, but with WordPress.org, you need to provide your own or pay an additional service provider to do it for you.
- You have to find your own host: You need to pay for a hosting site because it doesn’t come with one.
WordPress.org vs. Other Top Recommendations: How They Compare
WordPress.org doesn’t have a lot of similarities with other content management software.
It’s still a great option, but the features you get with others tend to be better for scalability.
The pricing of WordPress.org is comparable to WordPress.com.
Here’s what their pricing looks like:
- Personal: $4 per month billed annually
- Premium: $8 per month billed annually
- Business: $25 per month billed annually
- eCommerce: $45 per month billed annually
Can You Try WordPress.org for Free?
You can try WordPress.org for free, much like you can with WordPress.com.
You can try their paid versions for a period without payment, but they also offer a limited free version that you can consider.
Conclusion: Should You Choose WordPress.org?
Whether you should or shouldn’t choose WordPress.org as your content management software will ultimately be your decision.
It’s a great budget-friendly option to get you started, but you’ll likely have to switch to another content management software as your business grows.
The Best Free Content Management Software Options
Even though our top three recommendations are relatively affordable options if you don’t have enough on your wallet or you’re looking to spend zero dollars on content management software, here are the best free options.
One of the best free content management software options is Blogger.
Blogger is a simple website to use, and if you’re starting a blog or looking for content management services to grow your audience, you can’t go wrong with a platform designed for bloggers.
It’s already in the title website, it would be terrible marketing if Blogger wasn’t great for creating blogs.
Why Is Blogger a Great Option?
Blogger is a great content marketing software option for several reasons.
We wanted to mention this content management software because they offer video guides and tutorials to help you make the most of the platform, API, and more.
Drawbacks to Blogger
The main drawback to using Blogger as your content management software is that it’s geared toward bloggers and not other website types.
Even if you run an online storefront, you can try to use the software, but it won’t be as beneficial for your business.
Grav is a free content management system that’s self-hosted.
It’s written in the PHP language and uses the Symfony web framework.
There’s a flat file database for the entire system, and it’s easy to use.
Why Is Grav a Great Option
What makes Grav a great option for those looking for content management software is that almost anyone can use it easily.
It has plenty of plugin options, has fast performance, and the security is pretty strong for a free choice.
You’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Drawbacks to Grav
While Grav is still a great free option, there are some drawbacks to the software that you’ll want to think about.
A huge drawback is that website owners have reported unauthorized users accessing their content because it doesn’t come with a database for their files.
Which can be a complete turn-off for certain users.
Notable Mentions: Notable Mentions: Other Content Management Software To Check Out
With so much content management software out there, it can be hard to narrow it down.
While the following didn’t make our top three, they still deserve a notable mention and are worth looking into.
Ghost is an ideal content management software for those who run blogs and other similar types of websites.
Why is Ghost a Great Option?
Ghost is a good option because it’s perfect for SEO optimization, which will help you rank higher on Google; it’s easy to customize, reliable, and speedy.
Drawbacks to Ghost
Ghost doesn’t rank higher on our list because it’s a little costlier than the other options with comparable features, the self-hosting option requires previous knowledge, and there’s no native comment functionality.
It’s also only suitable for blogs and not eCommerce websites.
The pricing for using Ghost is as follows when billed annually:
- Starter: $9 per month
- Creator: $25 per month
- Team: $50 per month
- Business: $199 per month
Can You Try Ghost for Free?
Yes, you can try Ghost for free, and once your trial is over, you’ll be prompted to select a plan.
You will only be charged if you do, so if you’re unhappy with the CMS, you can choose not to select a plan and not waste any money.
Joomla, also known as J!, is another open-source content management software.
You can host a variety of websites on the server and grow your business in several ways thanks to their analytics and content creation help.
Why is Joomla a Great Option?
Joomla is an excellent option because it’s free, offers mobile versions, supports PHP scripting, and also works for eCommerce websites.
Drawbacks to Joomla
The main drawback to Joomla is that it’s more complicated to use than some of the others on our list.
It’s not the hardest to use, but if you expect to sign up for the CMS and immediately understand how to use it, you’ll be disappointed.
Joomla’s an entirely free CMS option which is why it’s worth mentioning on our list of the best content management software.
Can You Try Joomla for Free?
You’ll be able to use Joomla CMS for free, as they don’t have any pricing plans.
Drupal is an open-source content management software that should be on your list to check out when you’re browsing for one to use for your business.
It was initially launched in 2001, so it’s been around for some time, which is why you see many people using the software.
Why is Drupal a Great Option?
We like Drupal for several reasons.
We wanted to add it to our list because it’s mobile-friendly, has high security, and has scalability for when your business begins to grow.
Drawbacks to Drupal
The main reasons why Drupal isn’t higher up on our list are that the interface is a little older, and there’s a significant learning curve with the software.
While the software is free, it’s worth spending more money to have an easy-to-use content management software.
Drupal is another free CMS option.
Can You Try Drupal for Free?
You can try Drupal for free as it’s a free CMS.
You can also demo the software if you want to avoid committing to their free trial.
Google Docs is an easy and free way to manage all your content in one place.
We love that if you’re used to working with Google, it’ll be easy to integrate across various platforms.
It combines Google Docs and Sheets to help manage website content.
Why is Google Docs a Great Option?
Google Docs is an excellent option for several reasons.
It’s easy to use and free, and the software will save everything online, and you don’t need to download any additional hardware or software to manage all your content.
Drawbacks to Google Docs
The drawbacks to this CMS option are minimal but still apparent.
You need internet access to manage your content.
At the same time, there is an option to edit documents while offline, but the feature needs to be concrete and needs improvement.
Google Docs Pricing
Google Docs CMS pricing is as follows:
- Business Starter: $6 per month
- Business Standard: $12 per month
- Business Plus: $18 per month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Can You Try Google Docs for Free?
Yes, you can try Google Docs CMS for free before choosing a Workspace plan.
The good news is that the pricing is very affordable, so even if you choose a plan and aren’t happy with it, you won’t lose a substantial amount of money later.
Squarespace is one of the most popular content management software out there as well as a website builder.
You can build your website, manage your content, and host your website all in one place without spending money on several different platforms.
Why is Squarespace a Great Option?
Squarespace is a great option because they offer award-winning designs, is flexible, and is perfect for managing visual content.
You can easily monetize your website, and the CMS portion helps you rank higher on Google and continue to create content that will keep your website relevant.
Drawbacks to Squarespace
While Squarespace is a good option, some drawbacks are worth mentioning.
It’s not a well-rounded option as far as catering to websites.
It could be better for eCommerce websites like other options on our list, which is why it doesn’t rank higher for us.
Squarespace is pretty affordable, but if you choose to pay annually, you’ll save up to 30%. Here’s a look at their pricing:
- Personal: $23 monthly or $16 per month annually
- Business: $33 monthly or $23 per month annually
- Basic eCommerce: $36 monthly or $27 per month annually
- Advance eCommerce: $65 monthly or $49 per month annually
Can You Try Squarespace for Free?
Yes, you can try Squarespace for free by signing up for their free trial of any of their pricing plans.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms.
Based in Canada, this content management software is ideal for those selling products online because most of its features are geared towards helping businesses grow their online storefront.
Why is Shopify a Great Option?
Shopify is a great option because it’s easy to use, has excellent features to help you grow your business, and is affordable when compared to other eCommerce options.
The software allows you to customize your company and website to your liking while staying competitive amongst similar storefronts.
Drawbacks to Shopify
One of the reasons why Shopify didn’t rank higher on our list of CMS options is that their content marketing could be better than other options.
Marketing is just as important as other business aspects, and this is where Shopify is lacking.
It’s still worth trying, but this is worth noting.
Shopify’s pricing is pretty simple.
You can pay monthly or annually, which will save you upwards of 50%.
Here are their pricing plans:
- Basic: $29 per month or $14.44 per month annually
- Shopify: $79 per month or $39.44 per month annually
- Advanced: $299 per month or $147.78 per month annually
Can You Try Shopify for Free?
You can try Shopify for free.
The Shopify free trial is ideal and should be considered before spending money to use the CMS.
Even More, Options To Check Out
Do you still need convincing you’ve found the best CMS for your business?
Well, we have even more options for you to check out before you make your final decision.
HubSpot CMS Hub
HubSpot CMS Hub is a good option for content management software.
We love that you can request a demo of the software to see how it can benefit your company, start using the software for free and that the visitor tracking feature is seamless.
Where HubSpot CMS Hub falls short is the learning curve.
While there’s a learning curve with most new tools in life, this is frustrating because plenty of other CMS out there needs a substantial learning curve.
If you have experience using these tools, then you might be okay with the software.
WooCommerce is a standard CMS, and you’ve probably heard the name before when looking into growing your online business.
It’s one of the best platforms for eCommerce sites, which can be beneficial, but not if you’re a blogger or launching any other type of website.
A drawback to using WooCommerce is that while they claim that they’re easy to use, some people find it difficult.
They offer help from WooCommerce experts, but that’s an additional fee that can add up quickly, especially when you’re a new business.
As the name might suggest, BigCommerce is a content management software that focuses on helping eCommerce sites grow and function well. Some of the reasons why it’s a decent CMS choice are that it’s flexible, fast, and offers scalability.
The main drawback to BigCommerce, and the reason they’re lower on our list, is that their pricing is secretive.
You will only know the base price for their services if you contact someone, which can be frustrating when shopping around for CMS.
Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Adobe Commerce (Magento) is a decent CMS to look into for your business needs.
The software deserves mention due to its advanced nature.
It can handle the needs of all sized businesses.
The reason that it didn’t make it higher on our list of CMS to check out is that some people found it a little challenging to use, and it’s more for eCommerce, even though the marketing itself is for all types of companies.
Magnolia CMS is a good option for those who want a CMS that is easy to use without any previous experience.
This CMS deserves mention on our list because it has excellent integrations across platforms, is relatively affordable, and is trusted by major brands like Viking Cruises.
We like that you can demo the software before spending your money, but the one downside to this is that you have to schedule the demo, which can be tricky when you have a busy schedule.
Contentful is another excellent CMS option.
We love that you can try the software for free before signing up and requesting a demo of the software before even committing to a free trial.
You can use it for various websites, including eCommerce, mobile websites, and more.
While Contentful is a great option, there are a few reasons why it didn’t rank higher on our list of the best content management software.
One of the main reasons is that the developer experience needs to be improved and can be challenging to use for beginners.
Other Products Relevant to Content Management Software
When starting or owning a business, choosing content management software is only part of the battle.
Other relevant products make your business run more smoothly and allow you to successfully grow your business to where you want it to be.
Here are a few:
- eCommerce Platforms: eCommerce platforms are ideal tools to use if you plan to sell products to your audience. When you utilize an eCommerce platform, you’ll be able to take your business to new heights and reach the goals you’ve set for your business.
- Video Platforms: In the last few years, video content has been a great way for companies of all kinds to market their products and services to a larger audience. Video platforms can help even those who have no experience making video content seamlessly and without spending more time making videos.
- Online Learning Platforms: Online learning platforms have been on the rise in the last few years, so taking advantage of an online learning platform in combination with your CMS can be beneficial for your company. This won’t be relevant to all businesses, but it’s worth considering if you’re teaching new skills or something similar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about CMS?
These are some of the most frequently asked questions other business owners ask.
What is the most widely used content management system?
The most widely used content management system would have to be WordPress.
More than one-third of all websites are using this CMS to power their website and reach their audience.
Millions of people trust and use the service daily because it’s affordable and can meet the needs of almost every website type.
What are the three different types of CMS?
There are three main types of CMS.
There’s proprietary, open source, and software-as-a-service.
The software-as-a-service includes cloud-based solutions.
All three are beneficial, but they have different purposes.
You’ll want to think about which one will benefit your company the most and go with that one, or you might not see the benefits you’re seeking from a content management software.
There are thousands of options out there, but not all CMS options are created equal.
When shopping around for one to use for your business, you can’t go wrong with WordPress for the paid option or Blogger if you’re on a budget.
Both can help you reach larger audiences by using analytics and then capitalizing on that.
Content management software is a great tool to help you stay competitive in your industry, create content, find new things to write about, and more.
Be sure to thoroughly assess each CMS’s best and worst parts to make sure you’re choosing the best option for your business in the long term.