Whether you are a freelance blogger, photographer or web designer, choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your freelancing business can be tricky. As a freelancer, you need a content management system that is quick and simple when it comes to usability, yet powerful in terms of personalization. After all, standing out from the crowd is paramount for any freelancer.
The problem is, there are numerous content management systems on the market, each offering their own strengths and weaknesses. So, how can you correctly decide on which content management system is right for you and your website? To help make this decision easier, we have compiled five of the best content management systems for freelancers, along with their pros and cons.
The Best CMS Platforms
If you’re going by numbers, WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world – for freelancers and otherwise.
Initially released in 2003, WordPress has a long and successful history, helping many people get their websites and blogs looking and feeling great.
WordPress’ extensive fan base is a good indicator to its quality as a CMS. Over 51% of the top million websites in the world run on WordPress, and its hold on the internet is always on the increase.
Additionally, WordPress oozes flexibility. There are countless amounts of plugins, themes and apps which can add new functionality to the platform. These plugins and extras are incredibly easy to install and use, and so personalising your freelancing website is simple.
WordPress is a pretty solid CMS, but of course, downfalls do exist. Thanks to its immense popularity, WordPress is the most at-risk content management system to spam, viruses and other security attacks.
Another flaw is the blog-centric architecture of WordPress. Simple blogging websites are easy to build, but a lack of native content blocks means that you cannot define multiple content areas in a quick and easy way. Plus, the WYSIWYG editor is on the mediocre side.
If you’re looking for a supremely simple way to build your freelancing website, ImpressPages CMS might be of interest to you.
ImpressPages was built in order to help the thousands of website administrators, who are not actually IT professionals. Essentially speaking, ImpressPages is ideal for people who don’t find “user-friendly” content management systems friendly enough.
Intuitive in-line editing is definitely ImpressPages’ strong point. Content such as videos, photos, forms and of course text are all easy to insert, manage and modify. There is no need for additional layouts or pages, and no technical skills are required. It’s all simply drag & drop.
The biggest disadvantage of opting for ImpressPages, is the lack of extensions on offer. There are only a handful of plugins currently available, but thankfully, ImpressPages is completely open-source, and so it enables its users to create their own plugins and themes.
Launched in early 2004, SquareSpace is no stranger to the world of content management and blogging.
Unlike WordPress and ImpressPages, SquareSpace isn’t open-source, so user-generated content is not readily available. On the plus side, this means that all things built for SquareSpace come right from the original developers, which means it’s all of the highest quality.
Perhaps the most attractive SquareSpace quality, is its beauty. The native themes and templates are incredibly easy to install and modify, despite already being sleek and modern straight out of the box.
What’s more is, SquareSpace takes care of all hosting and software updates automatically, leaving you to focus on building your freelancing website.
Although SquareSpace is inherently good looking thanks to its native themes and templates, it is a real shame that you cannot add your own PHP code. As a freelancer, you’ll want to customize your website as deeply as possible, but SquareSpace doesn’t give you that option in its entirety.
SquareSpace is also not open-source, so there are no user developed extensions.
If you’re a design-based freelancer, then Concrete5 might just pique your interest.
On top of being able to edit images via an in-built image editor, Concrete5 also lets you go to any page on your website and modify to your hearts content via an editing toolbar that gives you all the controls you need. Creating your own templates without too much coding is also a breeze.
Concrete5 offers a slick drag and drop system if you are a coding novice, yet if you’re a technically advanced freelancer, you can also get down and dirty with coding templates and modifying elements.
The built-in image editor is a nice touch, especially if you are a freelance designer or photographer of some kind.
Although there are many plugins and extensions available for Concrete5, a lot of them require you to pay a fee in order to make use of them.
Overall though, Concrete5 is excellent at being relatively good at everything, but outstanding at nothing. It does nothing to truly set itself apart from the crowd, yet at the same time, it’s hard to poke holes in its fairly well-rounded, reliable platform.
The new guy on the block is Ghost. Released in October 2013 after a highly successful online crowd-sourcing project, Ghost has taken the world of CMS by storm.
Ghost’s primary focus is on blogging. If you’re a freelance blogger who cares not for intricate coding sessions and exceedingly deep levels of customization, then Ghost might be right up your alley.
As WordPress spreads it wings into other markets, Ghost now seems to have begun to take the stage as the CMS which solely focuses on being a blogging platform – and that fact alone will excite freelance bloggers.
Blogging purists will love Ghost’s brilliantly designed dashboard, which beautifully puts you in touch with everything you need to know about your blog, from visitors to social shares. The excellent writing interface also lets you see markdown on the left, and a live preview on the right.
The main problem with Ghost, is its age. It’s October 2013 birth date means that the platform is still in its early stages of life, and so there are naturally some bugs that still need attention, and features which still need to be developed.
Additionally, due to being so new, there isn’t a huge amount of third-party content to really make your blog unique.