Cloud CMS WordPress Alternatives
In part one of our coverage surrounding 20 of the more enticing CMS alternatives to WordPress we are following up with the 2nd part. The increase in CMS offerings is hardly surprising considering the rapid investment and growth in content creation, marketing and management. Over the next several years, watch for several new CMS players to enter into the market with emphasis on security.
Joomla is a well-known open source CMS available for free download at www.joomla.org. A slightly different version, at www.joomla.com, offers free hosting for Joomla powered websites and blogs. The platform has seen over a decade of development. It offers many features in addition to the full set of CMS functions any professional user would require.
The administrative and user management options are powerful. The platform can be extended with thousands of free and paid modules and add-ons. Users can take advantage of free hosting at the joomla.com subdomain. Extensions, however, are limited to five pre-installed modules: Google Analytics, social media links, Google Maps, Disqus comments, and social media sharing buttons. Only six templates are available for the hosted version, but it is hosted free forever.
Joomla.org offers a 90-day free fully-fledged demo version of its CMS or a downloadable release of it. Users have to host it themselves. Most hosting providers offer support for Joomla. Their CMS is highly customisable using a powerful applications framework. Multiple payment methods and shopping crats are available as extensions.
Just Add Content is a cloud-based CMS. It is designed to help create blogs and simple business websites. The platform is highly automated. It provides some thirty thematic templates. They range from themes for startups, through consulting businesses, to restaurants. The themes are responsive and built with HTML5 for better mobile performance.
Just Add Content’s form builder allows a variety of business forms. Choices include online orders, work requests, surveys, memberships, appointments, reservations, and online payments. Integrations with business apps like FreshBooks, ConstantContact, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Highrise, AWeber, and Campaign Monitor are available. E-commerce sites can get payments through PayPal and Shopify.
Pricing plans start from $69 a month for a corporate website or $99 a month with online payments. All plans include users’ own domain names, unlimited pages, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, built in blogs, SEO optimisation, social media, mobile website, and managed website hosting.
LightCMS is a cloud-based platform that allows users to edit their web properties right on the page, without a dashboard. Their platform overlays the web page, enabling direct drag and drop editing of content and layout. Aimed primarily at individuals and small businesses, LightCMS provides over 80 templates available for download. Template source code can be tweaked.
After a trial period, LightCMS’s plans start from $19 a month for ten website pages, a gigabyte of storage, and 100 products. Unlimited products, pages, and storage are available for $99 a month. Web designers get special discounts. All plans include free cloud hosting, calendars and events, user rights management, blogs, responsive design for mobile, social network integration, and search engine tools.
The platform allows sales of physical and digital goods with inventory tracking. It supports popular payment processors like Authorize.net, Stripe, and PayPal.
PrestaShop is one of the popular e-commerce CMS and online store building solutions. The free software can be hosted individually or by a hosting provider. It offers a choice of over 2000 templates. The platform has over 300 built-in features including back office and analytics tools.
PrestaShop offers responsive and mobile themes. SEO is available. The platform boasts over 3500 free and paid add-ons for significant website customisation. The shopping cart supports automated tax charging depending on customers’ locations, as well as return client management tools.
For payment, PrestaShop offers these free payment methods: Ingenico Payment, Powatag, Skrill, PayPal, Authorize.Net, and HiPay. Other payment options are available through their Modules Marketplace.
Shopify’s CMS focuses on e-commerce. It aims at small and medium businesses. The company offers over a hundred themes. Each is search engine optimised and allows corporate blog creation. Online stores have a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart. Site owners can edit both the HTML and the CMS if they wish. The CMS features Google Analytics and exportable product reports.
Android and iOS apps are provided to edit a site on the go. A POS app allows businesses to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover via mobiles. Shopify Payments is integrated into any store. US businesses can accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club cards. Businesses in Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Australia can accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, while Bitcoin payment is also available. Transaction fees are paid only when using third party payment processors.
Shopify offer a 14-day trial. Plans start at $29 a month for unlimited storage and product numbers. Each includes a blog, free SSL certificate, discount codes, fraud analysis, and two staff accounts. Shopify’s retail POS package is available for a further $49. A Lite plan allows merchants to sell via Facebook for $9 a month.
Solodev CMS is a cloud-based platform. It features advanced tools like approval workflows and versioning. Third-party apps like SalesForce, SugarCRM, MailChimp, and Constant Contact integrate with it. The platform also allows integration with others through an API. It offers analytics and SEO tools. Webmasters can manage multiple sites with a single account.
The CMS allows custom module development. Diverse programing languages can be used, alongside Solodev’s own shortcode language. It also allows data from blogs, analytics, and maps to improve customer experience. Website scalability is available using Amazon’s AWS cloud services.
Plans start from $99 a month for hosting and web CMS as a single server instance with 50GB of storage and 2GB of memory. The baseline plan includes dedicated IP and daily backups.
Strikingly is a relatively new service. It is making inroads with users who want a mobile-first website or a one page corporate site. Strictly speaking, what is on offer is more of a website builder. But the platform has CMS capabilities that allow creation of a blog or content rich website. One can create and host a website for free under the Strikingly subdomain.
The platform is not exactly drag and drop. It does provide readymade site components, which users may reorder and customise. All basic site elements are available.
Strikingly allows users to create online stores with up to five product variations under the free plan. They also get analytics, contact forms, and all basic website elements for free. For $16 a month, Strikingly offers three Pro sites, a free domain, 300 products, and multiple pages. It supports Stripe and PayPal for payment.
Volusion is another e-commerce-first CMS. It provides over 100 free and paid themes. Half of them are responsive. The platform features built in SEO, marketing and social media tools, as well as inventory tracking and low inventory alerts. The service uses an Akamai powered content delivery network (CDN) for faster website loading.
Volusion provides one page checkout and soft adding of products to the shopping cart. This allows customers to add more goods or change cart contents easily. Volusuion supports all of forty online payment processors. Charges are set at 2.15 percent on successful transactions. Payment gateways include Volusion Merchant Services, Beanstream, Authorize.Net AIM, Authorize.Net eCheck, PayPal, PayPal PayFlow Pro, Stripe, Worldpay, and many others.
After a 14-day trial period, users can opt for the full service from $15 a month. This includes a gigabyte of bandwidth for a hundred products and a secure checkout. All packages include unlimited file storage, mobile commerce, responsive themes, mobile app, Facebook store, and automated purchase tax levying.
Weebly is gaining rapid popularity. It offers a drag and drop solution for up to startup and small business levels. The platform provides features and themes for blogs, website, and e-commerce pages. It allows webmasters to edit and manage content from mobiles. Weebly offers a free plan and free cloud hosting as well as tracking tools to monitor statistics. iPhone, iPad and Android apps are available.
Weebly’s more than hundred optional templates can be customised using HTML and CSS code. Their e-commerce solution features form builder, integrated shopping cart and secure checkout, inventory tracking, tax control, and CSV File export. For payment, the platform integrates Authorize.net, PayPal, Square, and Stripe.
Weebly’s plans range from free (for 500MB storage and a weebly.com subdomain) through $8 a month (free domain, unlimited storage, and up to ten products), to $25 a month for unlimited storage and products.
Wix also offers a drag and drop website builder and free hosting. Importantly, it claims to be the only such platform with HTML5 capabilities. iOS and Android apps help manage a store or blog. Over 500 themes with site analytics are on offer. Users can set up triggered emails to advise of set actions like new service subscriptions, enquiries, or contact requests.
Wix’s CMS and website platform can integrate an Etsy or Shopify store and is designed for selling digital goods like software, music, videos, and e-books.
The free plan covers up to 500MB and a gigabyte of bandwidth. Paid plans start at $4.8 a month for a custom domain, through $9 for 2GB bandwidth, 3GB of storage and no Wix ads, to $26 for an online store.
For international and regional payment, Wix supports Stripe, PayPal, Square, Wirecard, 2Checkout, Braintree, eWay, Payment Express, Fat Zebra, Worldpay, MercadoPago, PagueloFacil, PagSeguro, DengiOnline, Yandex, Leumi Card, and Offline Payments.
Contact CloudTweaks for implementation and training of any of these services. Content creation, marketing and management packages are also available at flexible rates.
By Kiril V Kirilov