As website owners, users and developers become better integrated into this technology age, we see less hand coding and more websites developed using CMS platforms, (Content Management System).

Web design and development using a CMS as a base not only provides the site owner with a finished product that allows for staff within a business to maintain, update and create new content on their websites but it provides a bit more freedom from the web developer in the future. 

Let me explain.  When a website is developed using hand coding (HTML/CSS) only, you end up with a great website but if you no longer have a relationship with that web designer and you need to make changes or add features to your existing website, you find yourself in a bit of a pickle.  The art of website coding is just that, it’s an art.  Each artist uses different brushes and techniques.   The chore of finding a new developer that can view and understand the code that was written by a different developer can be laborious and costly.

When you develop your website on a CMS, you are better able to find a new web developer that is familiar with the structure of your website and can go into your site, make upgrades and add features. 

What makes one CMS better?

So here’s where it may get a bit confusing.  The top CMS platforms are Drupal, Word Press and Joomla.  That is not to say that dozens of others are out there and may, one day, take the lead, but from the developers view it comes down to support. 

Good developers spend a good deal of time reading and learning about new tools and techniques.  If a CMS has little support for developers then you will see less enthusiasm for that CMS.  Developers are not magicians.  They do what they do because they know where to look and what to look for when there is a conflict of code or an issue with a feature.

Like most things in life, a web designer or developer will tend to be more familiar with, or more comfortable with, one CMS over the other.   This comfort and skill comes from untold hours of learning and working with the structure of that CMS.  This is not to say that a developer or a team can create any site using all three of these CMS platforms but it does mean that there will be one that they gravitate toward because a developer knows that during a web design project there will be glitches.

This is after all what you, as a client, are depending on this developer to handle for you.

One area that could be taken into consideration in choosing a CMS would be the ease of use for the end user.  Ideally, you would want to develop a website that can actually be used by the site owner once the project is completed. 

CMS’s all have admin panels that make it possible for non technical people to enter the site and make additions and changes to their website content.  Each CMS has a learning curve and some are much more steep then others.
Another area that would cause a developer or designer to gravitate toward one CMS over another would be the themes and templates that are available for that particular CMS.

Web Designers understand that at times, the biggest challenge is getting the site owner to clearly define the layout, features and flow of their website.  When working in the physical world it is not hard to design a home because there are rules of physics and the choices are limited.  When working in the virtual real-estate arena the choices can be overwhelming.  Website developers need the site owner to tell them what they want. 

Questions like:

  • What size, color and shape do you want your buttons to be?
  • Do you want side columns or blocks of information on the front page?
  • How many sections will show up on the front page?
  • What overall color would you like?  Will your text be black, grey or some other colors?

The list can go on forever.  If, however a site owner can be shown various layouts (themes and templates) that have been pre created and can show this site owner a visual representation of how their site could look, it ends a lot of the frustration of having to mentally map their website alone.

Themes and templates are designed by the community members for the various CMS platforms and are shared or sold to other developers.  Although this can help the developer in the beginning stages, the theme is just the beginning of journey. 
All that being said, let’s talk about these three top CMS platforms for a minute.  I will be listing them in order of my preference.  Other articles that are written about the top CMS’s will most certainly have them listed in a different way and it will be all based on the author’s preference.  Complete Web Solutions develops a majority of our work using Drupal.  Guess what I will state is the best CMS.  You got it! Drupal!


Drupal is not only flexible and powerful but it’s popularity among developers has created a very active community that consists of brilliant minds that spend their days improving functions and adding helpful modules to better address the needs of the ever growing need of site owners.

Because Drupal has a very steep learning curve and the rabbit hole is almost bottomless, Drupal is not idea for a DYI or beginner in the development arena.  Drupal was not created as a Blog framework and for some this is important.  The blogging feature on Drupal is very adaptable but I will agree that it would be overkill for the person that just wants a blog.

The security and strength of Drupal is most likely why the “White House” is having their current website redesigned using Drupal.


Joomla is extremely popular and it is said that over 30 million copies of the software has been downloaded.  To be fair to Joomla, our company has moved away from this CMS due to the declining support.  That is not to say that a website developed with Joomla is not a powerful tool.  Currently Harvard, MTV and Linux use Joomla for their websites.  Will that change when they update their sites?  Well, I guess that will depend on the web development company they pick to do the project.

Word Press

Here is where my opinion is just that, an opinion.  It is based 100% on not only having personally worked within the Word Press framework but also the fact that I see Word Press as a Blogger targeted CMS.  My opinion is not shared with the thousands of Word Press disciples.  Word Press has come a long way in developing plugins that will accommodate features other than the blogging tools.

Word Press has a lot of support and if you have the time to spend, you can watch countless tutorials and get help from the Word Press guru’s in the community.

Overall it is my opinion that our technology is moving at such a fast pace that it would be impossible to guess at what CMS will be the object of affection from the web developer community in 5 years.

For all I know there is some amazing mind sitting in a dark room with the blaring music of Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin and creating a CMS that will smash those that are currently in use.  I anticipate changes in the way information is created and displayed on the internet over the next decade.  Those in the future may look at our work and laugh at the way we pioneered this new virtual world.

Either way, I plan to stick around to be part of the ever changing web development space.

I hope this article helped!

For more information you can, of course, call me and we can have a lively debate about who’s CMS can beat up the other’s CMS.  I do so much enjoy a debate.
Complete Web Solutions is a web design company in Colorado.  Our number is 719-302-5029 or you can always email us.