Choosing the Right CMS Platform: A Marketer’s Guide

By Meredith Fennema

May 21, 2024

The world of content management systems (CMS) can feel overwhelming. With so many options available, selecting the right one for your marketing needs is crucial. Here at Simpler Site, we understand the importance of a user-friendly and effective CMS. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you navigate the most popular platforms and identify the best fit for your

Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into specifics, take a step back and consider your website’s goals. Are you a seasoned marketer seeking complete control and customization? Perhaps you’re a startup prioritizing ease of use and affordability. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Technical Expertise: How comfortable are you or your team with managing a website?
  • Budget: Consider ongoing costs like hosting, plugins, and themes.
  • Website Complexity: Do you need a simple brochure site or a complex platform with e-commerce features?
  • Scalability: Will your website grow and need more features in the future?

CMS Options: A Categorical Breakdown

Now that you’ve considered your website’s needs, let’s explore how different CMS options can be categorized:

Open-Source vs. Proprietary CMS

Open-source platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla offer high flexibility and a vast community for support, but require more technical knowledge. Proprietary CMS options, developed by specific companies, provide robust security and scalability but can be more expensive and have limited customization.

Focus and Functionality

General-purpose CMS like WordPress offer a good balance for various websites. E-commerce CMS like Shopify and BigCommerce cater to online stores with features like inventory management. Blog-centric options like are ideal for content creation.

Technical Expertise Required

Beginner-friendly options like Wix and Squarespace have drag-and-drop interfaces, while developer-friendly platforms like WordPress (self-hosted) offer more advanced features but may require coding knowledge.

Additional factors to consider: Security, ongoing costs like hosting and plugins, and the platform’s scalability to accommodate your website’s growth are all crucial aspects.

CMS Contenders: A Breakdown

Now, let’s explore some of the leading CMS options and their pros and cons, keeping the categories we discussed in mind:


  • Strengths: Most flexible and customizable platform, vast plugin library for any functionality, SEO friendly, large community and resources.
  • Considerations: Slightly steeper learning curve, requires maintenance and updates, vulnerable to security breaches if not managed properly, hosting costs.

Proprietary CMS

  • Strengths: Often built for specific industry needs, highly secure and scalable, exceptional customer support.
  • Considerations: Most expensive option, limited customization compared to WordPress, vendor lock-in (difficult to switch platforms later).


  • Strengths: E-commerce focused with robust features (inventory management, payment processing), easy-to-use interface, good app store for additional functionality.
  • Considerations: Limited design flexibility compared to others, transaction fees for some plans, focus on online stores may not be ideal for general websites.


  • Strengths: Beautiful pre-designed templates, very user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, built-in marketing tools (email marketing, social media integration).
  • Considerations: Less customizable than WordPress, can be limiting for complex websites, higher pricing compared to some options.


  • Strengths: Easy to use with drag-and-drop builder, good for beginners, affordable pricing plans.
  • Considerations: Limited design flexibility after initial template choice, difficulty in switching templates later, not ideal for complex functionality or large websites.

Making an Informed Decision

By understanding your website’s needs and the different CMS categories, you can make a more informed decision. For most marketing needs, WordPress offers the most flexibility and customization. However, if you’re a beginner or solely focused on e-commerce, Shopify or Wix might be a good option.

Ultimately, the best CMS depends on your specific priorities. We recommend researching each platform further based on your needs. Simpler Site’s digital marketing experts are here to be a resource for you as you navigate the CMS landscape. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need help evaluating your options.

Ready to Connect?

Call: (616) 822-3706

About Meredith Fennema

Meredith manages web design and digital strategy services for Simpler Site. Clients across the country appreciate Meredith’s commitment to growth, generosity and kindness, alongside Simpler’s practical, make-it-happen approach. Meredith studied Human Centered Design at Kendall College of Art and Design, earned her Foundations in Design Thinking and Designing Strategy certificates from IDEO U, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications and Political Science from Calvin University. In business and in life, Meredith believes in the power of embracing the unknown. Outside work she practices this while mountain biking, backpacking, cooking, and vegetable gardening.

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