November 9, 2016

Top WordPress Alternatives for Any Skill Level

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As the leading content management system (CMS) worldwide, WordPress is the go-to tool for web development and content management. As of reports published in 2020, WordPress has close to 61% of the world’s content management system market share and powers approximately 15% of the world’s websites.

Because of its popularity, WordPress is often the easy choice for content managers, website developers, and bloggers. The choice to use or not use WordPress doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Many decision makers go with WordPress in the beginning without looking at other alternatives because:

  • Brand Affinity: WordPress is the most popular and commonly used platform, so it’s easy to see why it can be the number one choice.
  • Referrals: Because so many content writers and developers use WordPress, those same users suggest the platform to new clients.
  • Fear: Trying an unproven tool as well as learning something new takes time and comes with risk.

Top Alternatives to WordPress

While WordPress is a household name and holds a large share of the current market, there are alternatives worthy of consideration, especially for small businesses that are building out a complete online storefront with robust e-commerce functionality.

1. Wix

Wix, unlike WordPress, primarily features a visual dashboard with click-to-build capabilities. The internal AI helps even non-designers easily create and customize design elements that look polished and professional. With Wix’s e-commerce CMS, you lose some customization options compared to other WordPress alternatives but gain convenience and ease of use.

Depending on your needs, the Wix off-the-shelf e-commerce online stores (a library of 500+ templates) look good and can allow less experienced teams to get your e-commerce site up and running quickly. When making a decision to use Wix, it’s important to factor in:

  • The coding experience of your team. Would they benefit from a template that does not require as much expertise?
  • The customization option your business will need. Will Wix be too limiting in your business model?
  • The functionality you need. Will Wix offer all the bells and whistles your online platform requires?

2. Squarespace

Squarespace is another WordPress alternative that offers an easy-to-use visual website construction platform specifically geared toward the e-commerce business. Squarespace as a platform is an excellent choice of ecommerce CMS for small businesses that are just getting started because it is considered to be one of the easiest e-commerce platforms to master.

Like many tools that are easy to use, the main drawback lies in its customization options. If the out-of-the-box design and functionality does not suit your needs, Squarespace may not be the correct fit, but for simple needs like blogging and storefront web hosting it works like a charm.

Squarespace offers:

  • Slick and eye-catching templates
  • Drag-and-drop editing
  • Custom domain names 
  • Easy-to-use hosting and payment processing
  • Mobile-centric design
  • A broad suite of plugins

3. Shopify

Shopify is a popular CMS platform that was specifically created for e-commerce stores and benefits greatfly from open-source software. Shopify is so easy to use and geared toward the specific needs of the e-commerce business that it saves lots of time and effort. Shopify offers:

  • A wide range of useful plugins that support functionality the core platform doesn’t offer
  • A site builder and web hosting that is easy to use, even for a novice
  • A range of templates and themes to choose from
  • The ability to customize templates with editable CSS and HTML code
  • Custom domain name

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) e-commerce platform that supports the launching, running, and maintenance of online businesses. With a powerful and extremely customizable website editor, BigCommerce has been the favorite for many high-profile companies, such as Toyota, Burrow, and Skullcandy, seeking customization, flexibility, and deep branding in their e-commerce storefronts.

BigCommerce is a good platform choice for both small and large operations because templates make it easy to get up to speed quickly, while deep customization allows larger businesses to make their online stores unique to their needs. BigCommerce also offers advanced features, such as:

  • SEO tools
  • Sales analytics
  • Social media and marketing tools

5. Drupal

Drupal is an open-source CMS platform that differs vastly from both WordPress and SaaS CMS options. Drupal is a website framework rather than a full-service site focused on website building. It may be clear that this type of tool is not as easy to use and requires experience to use.

On the other hand, it provides a framework but allows for complete customization while offering basic ecommerce functions, such as payment processing, order management, and a shopping cart system.

Some notable features of Drupal include:

  • Flexibility and customization
  • Mobile website options
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Powerful SEO tools and modules to boost website analytics
  • Built-in workflow system

6. PrestaShop

PrestaShop runs on a freemium open-source model, which means you can use their basic software for free but have to pay for more features. It will take a developer to get beyond the templates for deeper customization if that’s needed. If templates will work for your business model, the PrestaShop editor is relatively user-friendly, even for beginners.

PrestaShop is a good choice for businesses seeking an easy-to-get-started option that also offers essential functionality for:

  • Selling on Facebook and Instagram
  • Optimizing SEO
  • Offering secure payment solutions worldwide
  • Analyzing performance and web marketing results

7. HubSpot

HubSpot is another popular e-commerce CMS for online stores because it offers so much more than an e-commerce website building and customization tool. HubSpot is a cloud-based solution focused on driving traffic through SEO and extensive marketing integration.

If you are a marketing and content-focused business, HubSpot may be a great choice for you. It may be missing a few e-commerce features, but there are many ways to integrate additional tools if needed.

The real benefit of using HubSpot is its powerful marketing tools, such as:

  • SEO tools
  • Custom domain name connection
  • Social media integration
  • Email marketing functions

Choosing a WordPress Alternative

There are many WordPress alternative choices for large and small businesses looking to create an online storefront. These website builders range from templates that even a non-tech creator can use to launch an e-commerce site quickly to deeply robust and customizable tools that an experienced engineer can dig into to create a unique platform. Whether it’s as a blogging platform or creating a unique custom platform, the world of website builders is vast. The key, as always, is outlining your current and future goals and seeking out the tool that aligns most closely with them.