THE FUTURE FOR CYBER SECURITY
A study entitled, State of Cyber Security 2017, performed by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), suggested that cyber security staff are becoming increasingly difficult to find in such a rapidly expanding and evolving field. The report was based on a survey of 633 cyber security specialists across North America and Europe, with 27% stating that they were unable to fill open cyber security positions in their businesses and another 14% unsure as to whether they would ever fill those positions...
CLOUD CMS WORDPRESS ALTERNATIVES
Content management systems (CMS) have grown exponentially in recent years. Their number and features have exploded. There are now dozens of cloud CMS WordPress alternatives for startups and small business.
CMS is getting more sophisticated. Website building is easier. But skewing a CMS platform to fit the culture and needs of a set business or market is trickier. Even mass platforms like WordPress can be challenging.
WordPress boasts nearly 59 percent of the content management systems market (CMS) for websites with newer cloud based platforms entering the market on a daily basis. Most of them also offer integrated e-commerce features and advanced website building functionality. Many offer free plans, hosting and domain name services alongside the drag and drop functionality that is becoming standard for modern day cloud based CMS products. They can help create content rich websites and blogs, corporate websites, or e-commerce sites. Read on for a brief overview of some of the best alternatives to WordPress, listed alphabetically.
Adobe Experience Manager is a CMS that combines functionality ranging from creation of websites and apps, through digital asset management, to user generated content management and marketing campaign content management. Webmasters can create newsletters, microsites, and landing pages. The platform allows real time analytics and marketing campaign optimisation.
Users can optimise mobile content management through commerce management tools for search engine results and can manage multiple sites at once. The platform offers pre-built integrations with Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Adobe Campaign. The AEM eCommerce framework enables developers to build their own integrations or integrate with third party services. The latter include Amazon SNS connection, ExactTarget, Facebook Connect, Generic Analytics Snippet, Microsoft Translator, Pushwoosh Connection, Salesforce, Silverpop Engage, Twitter, and YouTube.
Adobe Experience Manager targets the enterprise market and has no set pricing plans. They quote prices on request.
Bigcommerce is an integrated SaaS e-commerce platform. It features CMS capabilities to maintain corporate blogs or multiple pages of content rich online stores. The service is directed mainly at small businesses that trade online. Over 230 applications are available to extend the platform. Free and paid templates are available, as well as SEO optimisation tools.
The platform provides integrations with marketing and sales tools like Google Shopping and solutions for ERP, CRM and 3PL. Tax and account integrations are available.
As expected of a commercial platform, Bigcommerce offers a massive number of options. 2Checkout, Authorize.net, Australia Post SecurePay, Chase Paymentech Orbital, eSELECTplus DirectPost Canada, eWay Australia, eWay New Zealand, eWay UK, E-xact, First Data Payeezy Gateway, Heartland Payment Systems, iTransact, MIGS, MyVirtualMerchant, NAB, NetBilling, NetRegistry, NMI, NoChex, Ogone, PaymentExpress Pay, PaymentExpress Post, PayPal Express Checkout, PayPal powered by Braintree, PayStation, Pin Payments, Quantum Gateway, QuickBooks Online, Realex, Sage Pay/Protx VSP Direct, Sage Pay/Protx VSP Form, SecureNet, Simplify Commerce, Skrill, Square, Stripe, USAePay, and WorldPay are all included.
Bigcommerce offer a 15-day free trial. The baseline offer costs $29.50 a month for an unlimited number of products and staff accounts. Unlike other e-commerce CMSs, Bigcommerce levies no transaction fees, except for credit card payments via PayPal.
Concrete5 is a free open source CMS. It is fully customisable using the PHP programming language. The platform offers about 90 free and paid themes. Some 360 add-ons extend its core capabilities. Webmasters can choose between a downloadable version which they host themselves or a hosted CMS. It starts from $5 to $10 a month for individual businesses. A small business hosting service costs $30 to $250 a month and offers support directly from the Concrete5 developers.
Supported payment processors include PayPal, Snipcart, and Beanstream. An add-on for subscription payments is available, as is a donation form using Stripe.
Customisable user roles and permissions are provided for hierarchical pages. The platform is available pre-installed and tuned from a number of hosting vendors.
Advanced features include a customisable security firewall, version control, integrated SEO content fields, and integration with Google Analytics and authentication logs.
The professional open source edition is available for download on the ContentBox website.
Contentful is a CMS that allows content editing on any platform. Their own platform also allows management of environments, collaborators, billing, and access with individual spaces and organisations. Contentful is designed with both editors and developers in mind. It allows significant customisation.
The platform can deliver content through the CMS to virtual reality apps, smart watches and TVs, car interfaces, and other IoT devices. It features powerful extensions for developers and integrates with Zapier. This allows further integrations with over 100 online services. Contentful also allows developers to build mobile apps on top of its CMS.
The CMS starts with a free plan that provides access to four content APIs (Management, Delivery, Preview, and Images) and webhooks. Users get 10,000 records and 50,000 API calls a month. The free plan includes three basic accounts (for Admin, Developer, and Editor) plus three further user accounts.
Here is a heavyweight open source CMS available for free. It does, however, require more advanced tech skills. The platform core offers basic features like blogging, forums, and contact forms. Diverse pre-installed and pre-customised versions are also available for download. They provide specific functionality for e-commerce, website building, or collaboration. Many multipurpose releases are offered.
Some 2500 themes are available for Drupal. Users can install no fewer than 37,000 additional modules. They extend the core functionality of the CMS. Most reputable hosting companies support Drupal, including cloud hosts. At least three hosting providers offer demo Drupal installations. A self-hosted installation is also available.
There are more than 20,000 extension modules. They range from automated translation, through Help & Support, to merchandising and integration with numerous online services.
Many payment gateways and carts are available through modules and extensions.
Evoq Content is an enterprise level CMS. It features thousands of pluggable apps and module creator capabilities. Drag and drop page management and template management are available. The Liquid Content technology enables Evoq webmasters to publish content to a microsite, kiosk, app, or another CMS using API. The platform also features version management.
Built-in connectors perform digital asset management for Dropbox, Box, Amazon S3, and SharePoint. Evoq supports mobile devices running Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. SEO and workflow management tools are integrated alongside web analytics. Evoq’s DNN Platform is a free open source .Net CMS that can be downloaded and upgraded with over 500 free extensions.
The company does not have standard pricing plans. They quote individually depending on website particulars like size. Annual subscriptions are available for on premise installations and on demand use as a SaaS platform.
HubSpot is more than a content management service. Its thrust is weighted heavily towards marketing and integrating all manner of sales and customer management tools. HubSpot provides means to measure the performance of blogs, email, and social media marketing, all with generating leads in mind.
The platform can create landing pages and offers SEO optimisation functions. It can personalise websites by providing a unique experience for each individual visitor. The feature that does that, SmartContent, is part of the CMS.
HubSpot offer a free cloud based CRM. Its sales software can expand to include CMS and marketing tools. HubSpot’s basic plan includes content creation and optimisation. It starts at $198 a month. Webmasters can use Google Checkout or PayPal for online payments.
IM Creator is a drag and drop website builder aimed at individuals and small businesses. Templates range from blogs to fashion, to restaurants, to business. Users can tweak templates to fit their specific needs. The platform provides free e-commerce capabilities for any site free of charge. Mobile editing is available. In addition to the drag and drop functionality, IM Creator has a version named XPRS. This uses polydomes: a new technology that provides ready content blocks. All the templates are responsive and mobile ready.
The platform can be used free of charge on an IM Creator subdomain. This includes hosting of up to 50MB and access to all templates. Paid plans start from $7.95 a month. An annual subscription includes a custom domain, unlimited hosting and bandwidth, and up to ten custom email addresses. An e-commerce enabled website made with XPRS costs $6 per month.
For those wishing to sell products online, IM Creator transfers amounts paid into billing accounts monthly.
Jimdo is a CMS with a drag and drop interface for creating small business blogs and websites. They offer around a hundred template variations based on a dozen core themes. Over thirty online tools, widgets, and services can be integrated into a Jimdo website. They include Bannerashack, Vimeo, Eventbrite, Evivo, Booxi, MailChimp, Tidio Chat, Payhip, Disqus, and Google Custom Search. Webmasters can edit their properties on the go using Android and iOS apps.
The platform starts with a free plan that offers 500MB of storage and 2GB of bandwidth on a Jimdo subdomain with up to five products sold through an online store.
Paid plans start at $5.4 a month for 5GB storage, 10GB bandwidth, free domain and email account, statistics, selected widgets, and a basic online store. Any site can also have a blog. The company does not charge fees on successful transactions.
For payment, Jimdo supports Stripe (for business users only), PayPal (with card payments allowed), invoicing, local delivery, local pickup, and cheque (by snail mail).
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.
By Kiril V Kirilov
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