If you are considering building a website, or updating your existing website, one of the first things to consider is the content management system or CMS. The CMS is what you’ll be using to add content, update your blog, add images, and do your SEO. It should make sense, have built in controls that allow you to determine how your content is displayed, and offer the capabilities that your business needs, whether an RSS feed for your blog or a shopping cart for your e-commerce items.
Here are some of the most popular content management systems right now, and how they measure up for ease of use and SEO compatibility.
WordPress has become increasingly popular in the past 5 years, and it is everywhere. Originally introduced as a free and open source blogging platform, WordPress opened itself up with innovative widgets to be one of the most popular website platforms with thousands of customizable themes, plugins, and tools that allow you to do nearly everything you could possibly want. Arguably the most SEO-friendly platform – the construction of a WordPress site is clean – you won’t run into page duplication errors and URL anomalies like you might with another CMS that is improperly set up.
If you want the ability to update your website from your mobile device or tablet, WordPress offers several native applications that allow you to update your blog or content page on the fly, if necessary.
One of the downsides to WordPress is that it is not inherently designed for ecommerce, however, there are several ecommerce and shopping cart plugins that allow this capability to be adopted – these work best with small e-commerce stores.
Joomla is a free, open source solution that is a very close second in popularity to WordPress. Boasting over 50 million downloads to date, it has a robust developer community and is a good option for consumers and small-to-medium sized e-commerce businesses. There are some drawbacks however, as it is not incredibly intuitive to use, and does require SEO extensions in order to truly be search-engine friendly. We recommend installing sh404SEF to get some necessary SEO configuration power – this plugin allows you to make your URLs search engine friendly, provides one spot to update your page title and meta information, and allows you to easily set up 301 redirects if necessary. You can read more here about the settings that should be updated before setting your new Joomla site live in order to strengthen it’s SEO power.
Drupal is one of the older CMS platforms out there. It is a tremendously powerful open-source system that was designed to be SEO friendly. Drupal is best for large scale enterprises – it can effortlessly handle hundreds of thousands of pages, and thousands of users simultaneously. It is a complicated system, however, and should really be left up to the able hands of a developer to build, update, and modify. There are no themes or free plugins, so you will need a design team and developer to build a good user friendly site.
Google’s free solution for website bloggers, Blogger provides a simple, clean interface that lends itself very well to blogging… and not very much else. If you have one or two products to feature along with your blog, there are shopping cart plugins out there that will allow you to set up your site for limited e-commerce functionality. Blogger has a variety of themes and plugins – and development for blogger sites tends to be more cost-effective than other solutions out there. It offers built-in analytics – although these can be notoriously inaccurate, so installation of Google Analytics is always recommended. Blogger (as a Google product) adheres to Google-recommended practices, so SEO structure is very good, however there are a few tricks that you can utilize in order to improve upon it, such as swapping the post titles. This is a good solution for a small business, a blogger, or a side project.
Magento is a popular open-source ecommerce solution that is now owned by eBay. Like WordPress, there are many themes available to choose from (including many great responsive themes). Magento implements “modules” which offer inherently similar usability features to WordPress plugins in that the user is to access a library of plugins. Since Magento is open-source – many different developers have access to the code and can build and improve upon plugins.
Upon installation, Magento is NOT inherently SEO-friendly. It is necessary to comb through the settings and make sure that various settings that relate to managing URL rewrites, setting product meta tags, and product propagation are appropriately designated, or you will run into trouble down the road. There are many resources online that offer SEO best practice tips for Magento, including on Magento’s own support site, as well as from Yoast.