Best CMS for Small Business – Our Top Pick
CMS stands for a Content Management System. There is an abundance of these systems out there that you can choose from for your business website. In this article review we will focus only on the top 2 – GravCMS and WordPress. The reason why small business owners choose these two CMSs is because they are very user-friendly, popular, yet they are different at their core. Both have advantages and disadvantages as CMS for small business websites.
WordPress is your most popular CMS that requires a somewhat modern server, a database, and can be extended to be literally anything. It can be an online shop, a forum, a private community. It is a very popular choice as a CMS for small business, and for good reasons.
GravCMS, on the other hand, is a very simple flat-file content management system. Notice that “flat-file” is the keyword here. What this means is that a website built with GravCMS does not need to have database. All of the information is stored in files. This has advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss down below. GravCMS cannot be extended into most of what WordPress can be, but that is the premise of Grav. A perfect, light-weight CMS platform for small businesses.
Advantages of WordPress
WordPress is extensible
With a large number of various plugins, extensions and integrations WordPress can be used to build any type of website that you might want. You can see private communities, forums, online stores happily running on WordPress and you would never guess that its WordPress.
WordPress is powerful
With a large number of people working to make WordPress a better CMS, it comes with a powerful set of tools. They include WYSIWYG editor, user management, various settings, customisations and theming capabilities.
WordPress is easy to use
While packing a huge amount of functionality and power, WordPress is very intuiting and simple to use. And in addition to that, the core developers of WordPress are constantly working very hard to improve the it, make it faster, make easier and more pleasant to use with every version. It is imperative for a CMS for small business to be user-friendly and easy to use.
Disadvantages of WordPress:
Overwhelming at first
Even though I mentioned that WordPress is easy to use, new comers might find themselves overwhelmed at first. There is a whole bunch of settings, options, and buttons to get to know that a lot of people decide they don’t have time for that or simply don’t click (pun intended).
WordPress is slow
Yes, it is possible to have a fast WordPress powered website running, but it requires a fair amount of work to be done to optimize the content. This also includes the server, the assets and other variables to make it feel fast. However, the reason why WordPress is slow is because of the plugins, extensions and themes that users install. Most are very bloated, poorly coded and not at all optimised. This results in the whole system slowing down. Thus, you end up with a website that loads every page for 10 seconds. This is a very bad user experiences (UX) and as you can probably guess will not bring any sales, conversions or email sign ups.
Incomplete & Inconsistent Documentation
This is more of a developer point, but when developing for WordPress, be it a theme or a plugin, referring to the documentation is most likely going to yield less useful results and content than answers on Stack Overflow.
Now, like I mentioned before, the beauty of WordPress lies in its flexibility, which is also its curse.
A lightweight, modern, simple content management system perfect for business websites.
Advantages of GravCMS
Grav is extremely lightweight, and requires very little resources of any server, and does not need a database. This means that the pages load blazingly fast, the memory and CPU footprint is almost non-existent, and deploying a website built on Grav is fast, simple and can be done on literally the cheapest $1 a month server.
Although not as much as WordPress, Grav can be configured to do some heavy lifting at no cost to the overall performance of the website. The beautify of Grav’s extensibility lies in its core. Since WordPress is mainly DB driven, it means you have to install plugins or code complex extensions to get WordPress to do any custom logic or functionality. Grav has this built in by default, and it is as easy as writing in a file what forms and what type of data you would like it to store.
Easy updates and backups
Since Grav does not rely on any database, backing it up is as easy as creating a .zip archive of the whole site. Depending on the amount of uploaded media, your whole site could be no more than 5MB. It gets even better if you know how to use git and can use free git services such as GitLab or Bitbucket to host the whole website. Updates are very similar to WP. Simply click a button to update the site and all plugins at once in less than 1 minute. And in case something no longer works due to latest updates, roll back to previous version in git or replace the whole site with files in your last .zip backup. Done!
As I already mentioned, Grav does not need a database to run. This means your website pages load incredibly fast! Often not only under 1 second, but under 500ms (depending on your location and CDN setup). This is it great UX for everyone using the web, it’s especially true for those on mobile connections. And it’s been proven that fast loading times result in increase in conversions, be it a sale, a lead generation or an email subscription.
Disadvantages of Grav
UI has room for improvements
It is true that Grav is a very friendly CMS for small business and for a developers to make websites. Even friendlier for content creator to copy and paste content with images and hit publish. However, for someone new just starting out with Grav. The UI might seem a little uninviting with dark cold colours and unfamiliar links and buttons placements.
Community is not there yet
The reason why WordPress is incredibly popular CMS among content creators, developers and small business owners is the vast amount of communities to get help from. Unfortunately, Grav is not yet there (but growing steadily), and if you hit a roadblock in either development or content creating be ready to spend a couple of days looking for info or getting registered in Slack communities and waiting for someone to help you out.
You could also refer to the documentation, but without examples it is more difficult to do more complex things, such as custom contact forms with file uploads and so on.
After working with the two technologies and creating multiple websites with both, I can safely say that my favourite is … neither. Both system have their advantages and disadvantages, and I try to stick to this one rule when picking a CMS, or a framework or a programming language:
“Pick the best tool for the job” or, in the case of this article: “Pick the best CMS for small business website”.
And this is exactly what we do at Fonseka Innovations. We assess your business’s needs and requirements and propose the best solution to your problem that is guaranteed to make you a very happy customer. Start the 2018 right for your business. Learn how to achieve your new year resolutions and let’s get you online.