GUIDE: The Best CMS For Beginners
Are you planning to build your first website but don’t really know how to get started?
The first thing you need to do is to look for the best CMS for beginners, which will help you easily create a website without having any prior knowledge of coding.
However, there are many different kinds of CMS options online, which may overwhelm you.
In this blog post, we share a list of easy web design software for beginners, while answering some of the most frequently asked questions, and help you make the right choice.
What is CMS?
Before we get too technical, CMS is simply the “thing” that builds your website.
Used as an abbreviation for “content management system,” CMS is a type of software that can help you create, modify, and manage the content you have on your website without having to do any coding. In other words, it will allow you to build an entire website from scratch without any coding knowledge or background at all.
With a CMS platform, you won’t have to worry about all the details that go into building a website, because it will handle all the basics for you, such as:
- Creating web pages
- Coding basic functions
- Storing images
- Adding website security
- Visual design
- And more
Instead, you can focus on how your site looks, the quality of your content, setting up your e-commerce store, and ensuring you earn money through it.
In the end, CMS provides a highly customizable way to get started on creating a website without having to learn how to code or pay someone to do it for you.
Below, we have a curated list of the best web designers for beginners. However, not all are created equal and some will be easier or harder to use compared to others.
For each of these design tools, we discuss their ease of setup and use, SEO viability, pros, cons, and pricing.
Be sure not to confuse this with WordPress.com, which is a free, open-source CMS that was originally used for blogging and is a blog hosting platform.
We’re talking about WordPress.org, which is the leading choice as the best CMS for beginners. Providing power to 43% of all websites available on the internet, it is currently the most popular CMS platform in the world.
Because WordPress is harder to set up compared to drag-and-drop web builders, it’s not one of the most user-friendly CMS platforms.
To get started, you may need to put in a lot of time and effort, but you’ll still be able to set up a website using WordPress on your own.
Realistically speaking, it may take anywhere between half an hour to a few days to have everything up and running, depending on how well you know your tech.
When it comes to ease of use, WordPress is highly versatile and flexible, working in any way you need — you can choose a wide range of themes, plugins, and codes if you want. No wonder it’s a popular choice amongst not just bloggers and hobbyists but also big enterprise companies and global publishers who are all slowly migrating away from other expensive CMSs like Sitecore to WordPress.
You will be able to add as much as you want in terms of function and, depending on how many plugins you’re using, you can easily create a business website, e-commerce site, forum, and more.
SEO is without a doubt very important to become visible in a sea of competitors, and thankfully, WordPress provides tools to help you stand out without having to be a tech specialist. Here’s how WordPress can help:
- It provides the option to make your site visible to Google and other search engines.
- It makes it easy to create custom tags and categories for your content.
- It allows you to define the structure of the URLs inside your website.
- It lets you make the most of your HTML tags when you write content in the text editor.
- WordPress offers users the freedom and flexibility to build a wide range of websites.
- There’s no need for you to learn to code or have technical skills — the block editor makes it easier to create stunning pages for your website.
- You’ll be able to make money online from your website using any method you wish.
- WordPress comes with thousands of plugins and themes for you to use, both free and paid, providing extras for your websites such as photo galleries and contact forms.
- It comes with various tools for SEO, making it easy to create SEO-optimized tags, categories, and URLs for your posts. It also comes with various SEO plugins.
- It allows users to download content in XML formats, making it easy to migrate to a different system in the future.
- WordPress has an established community, where you can join groups such as WPBeginner Engage on Facebook to ask for help should you run into problems.
- Because WordPress comes with so much flexibility and plenty of options, it can become daunting to use for the first time.
- You will need to set up your own domain name and hosting, and you’ll also be responsible for managing your backups and security.
While WordPress on its own won’t cost you anything, you will still need to purchase a domain name for around $9 to $15 every year, along with a hosting account which starts from $7.99 a month.
Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that the host can run WordPress — for many users, Bluehost has been a great option, but others include GoDaddy, Hostinger, HostGator, and more.
HubSpot’s CMS Hub is a fully-integrated platform that’s been designed specifically for business owners and marketers.
Built on top of HubSpot’s own CRM platform, it comes with a wide range of sales, automation, operations, and service tools, making it a great solution to grow your website and business. It also provides a one-stop shop for large enterprises looking to manage and expand their website.
Once HubSpot establishes a website, users will be able to easily manage it without the need for developers.
It’s also a no-code content management system, making it an easy option to create different kinds of content, including pillar pages, blog posts, talent pages, and case studies.
It also uses a drag-and-drop interface along with modules, so you can build landing pages from scratch within minutes.
Because HubSpot was created to be fluid and efficient, it isn’t a highly complicated tool to learn and use. As a result, users can create a sleek-looking website without having to venture knee-deep into programming languages.
To make the whole process even easier, users are coached on everything they need to create the ideal site while having customer communication built into the platform.
Another great thing about HubSpot CMS is that while you build your website’s pages, it takes care of your algorithms, ranking, and analysis for you.
Furthermore, it has a robust online community filled with integrated coaching and tips that you can follow to tweak all the necessary fields as you create your content. As a result, you will end up with a web page that is Google-optimized, increasing your chances of being visible to your audiences.
- Provides an easy-to-use website builder that features a drag-and-drop editor, along with built-in SEO tools that make it simple to optimize your content.
- It offers flexible theme options, command line tools, and serverless functions for developers.
- You can choose from their smart content features that allow you to personalize your website page for bigger audiences or specific targets.
- HubSpot CMS can be seamlessly integrated with their sales CRM and email marketing tool, providing streamlined workflows.
- Comes with security features such as a Web Application Firewall, global CDN, and a dedicated security team to protect your website from hackers and more.
- HubSpot CMS doesn’t come with a free version, but you can opt for their free trial to test it out.
- This platform isn’t ideal an an ecommerce platform, but it does integrate easily with WooCommerce and WordPress.
HubSpot CMS comes in three different packages: the Starter, Professional, and Enterprise versions. With the Starter plan, you can begin for just $25 a month, and it has all the features you’ll need to create a functional website.
The higher tiers are more suited to businesses that need internal processes and better personalization features.
We actually made the switch from Wordpress to HubSpot ourselves. Read about the whole thing here!
With more than 200 million users throughout 190 countries around the world, Wix was able to rise as a leader in CMS platforms due to its highly intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
Wix makes it especially easy to get started with your own website by providing over 800 professionally-designed templates, as well as a wide range of tools to play with. Thanks to its drag-and-drop capabilities, more and more people were given the confidence to create beautiful websites from scratch.
Most people love using Wix, even when they use it for the first time simply because it’s easy to learn and many get surprised by how quickly they can build a website with it.
While it may sound far fetched, it only takes an hour to build a website — this results in a functional website with no flashy details. Even so, this serves as a testament to how intuitive it is to build a website using Wix.
Wix is by far one of the easiest CMS platforms to use in this list and comes with many templates which are placed into different industry categories. It also comes with a host of great business features, such as appointment bookings, email marketing, and subscription forms.
You can also look through their App Market, where you’ll find hundreds of free and paid add-ons, and receive a free domain name for your first year under their annual premium plan.
When it comes to SEO, the Wix tool allows you to create a personalized action plan to optimize your website for Google and other search engines. Moreover, you’ll be able to customize URLs, edit meta titles and descriptions, as well as change your header code. You can also look through the App Market for apps to help further your SEO efforts.
- Its simple and straightforward drag-and-drop interface is very easy to use, so you can easily make pages look exactly the way you want.
- There are plenty of templates on offer, all of which are fully responsive so they’ll look great on both desktop and mobile.
- There are plenty of apps for you to choose from inside the Wix App Market, which work much like WordPress plugins, and give your website useful features.
- Unfortunately, you can’t change your template once you pick one, which means that you might get stuck with a look that’s no longer right for your website.
- You need to upgrade to a paid plan to run an e-commerce store on Wix, which only accepts payments through Authorize.net or PayPal.
- The free plan will always come with a Wix-branded domain name and will post ads throughout your website. As a result, Wix will be making money instead of you.
As mentioned, Wix comes in a free version but you can also upgrade to one of their paid plans. These offer more versatility and start at just $13 each month, which is paid upfront for the year. If you’re looking to start their e-commerce plan, you will need to pay $23 or more each month, depending on what you need on your website, and it will also need to be paid upfront for the year.
Shopify is another solution if you’re looking for an all-in-one CMS platform since you won’t need to install any software, manage backups and updates, or purchase hosting.
Like Wix, it offers a simple drag-and-drop interface, offers straightforward themes, and is also fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. You’ll also find that it supports in-store sales; a great advantage if you have both an online and physical store.
When you get started, it provides a wide range of themes that you can customize to meet your branding needs while allowing you to sell both digital and physical products.
Much like the other options in this list, you don’t need to know how to code to work with Shopify, making it a great choice for beginners. At the same time, this platform also caters to developers and allows them to gain full access to HTML, CSS, and Liquid.
When it comes to using the whole site, it provides a clean and intuitive interface that provides users with a great experience. You’ll find that it displays the menu on the left-hand side, where you can open content or features while allowing you to edit on the space provided to the right.
Some of the most common sales channels you will find here include:
- Buy Button
- Shopify’s ‘Shop’ channel
- Your online store
In addition, Shopify offers many SEO features that can compare with other hosted platforms for site-building. You can also translate and adapt Shopify.
Moreover, Shopify makes it easy to tweak the various aspects of their on-page SEO, where you can change page titles and meta descriptions, and add headings easily. You can even control which URLs should be crawled and will let you delay rules for a particular search engine, and add sitemap URLs.
- Shopify allows you to accept payments through credit and debit card by using their integrated payment system, but you can also use Paypal as a payment method.
- There are plenty of themes and extensions available in Shopify but you can also purchase third-party apps to add more features to your store.
- You don’t need to upgrade your plan should you exceed a particular amount in dollars, compared to other e-commerce website builders.
- Shopify offers 24/7 support through email, phone, live chat, and Twitter. You’ll also find a lot of support from online forums and video tutorials.
- You might find that Shopify won’t have apps that you need to add more functionality to your site because its selection is quite limited compared to the plugins in WordPress.
- You may end up with high costs, especially if you need to add a lot of third-party apps to your online store.
Shopify offers many different plans which are designed to fit according to your needs and how big your store needs to be. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Shopify doesn’t force you to upgrade your plan if you hit a certain amount of sales.
The cheapest plan available is $29 a month, while the most expensive plan starts at $299 per month, but includes more features.
A powerful website builder that comes with amazing features and gorgeous template designs, SquareSpace has convinced 3.5 million to stay with it after using their free 14-day trial. This CMS for beginners offers a strong, well-rounded performance that provides website tools, e-commerce features, and quality websites.
Because of the recent improvements to its editor, it has become infinitely easy to use, making it even more intuitive than ever.
Before these improvements took place, SquareSpace was once known to be tricky. However, it has since changed and is now a fantastic option for both beginners and experts alike.
If you’re considering using this platform for the first time, it comes with a handy guide that leads you on a navigational journey through the editor. Once you’ve found your way around, you’ll also be provided with a checklist — something that many amateur web builders will appreciate.
When it comes to ease of use, many will find that SquareSpace is the ideal platform for artists, photographers, and designers who want a good-looking website.
While it’s a drag-and-drop web builder, it doesn’t work like Wix and you won’t be able to actually drag things. You must select them, which may take some time to get used to. In addition, it comes with a decent range of tools for e-commerce, which makes it a suitable choice for smaller stores or digital products.
SquareSpace also provides great SEO, where each page follows SEO best practices and gives you a plethora of capabilities, such as:
- Managing titles
- Adding keywords
- Adding alt text
- Search engine visibility
- Guides in support pages
However, this CMS platform isn’t the most user-friendly if you have no background in SEO, so you may need to take a hands-on approach in order to rank in SERPs.
- Provides strikingly beautiful templates that have been optimized for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.
- Provides the best customer service, as well as help and support services compared to all other platforms in this list.
- Has excellent marketing tools, including social media and email support which is perfect for growing small businesses.
- You won’t get full control of customization, and you’ll only be able to customize assets within the template’s preset.
- The editor can be too manual; while it prompts you to save your work frequently, it won’t save anything on its own.
SquareSpace offers four different price plans, which start from $16 to $49 a month and are billed annually. Each option comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, SSL security, and a custom domain name. If you wish to start an online store, you will need to upgrade to the $27 plan, which includes no transaction fees, label printing, unlimited products, and more.
If you’ve been making websites for some time, you’ll probably know that WooCommerce is the most popular platform for ecommerce websites throughout the world.
While it isn’t actually a CMS platform, (it works as a plugin on WordPress) it’s very easy to manage and is highly flexible, making it a crowd favorite. It currently supports over 5 million websites and runs 40.6% of all the websites made through WordPress.
To get started with WooCommerce, you’ll find that a Setup Wizard will help you set up a basic e-commerce website on WordPress. You will also find that the site offers many comprehensive guides that will walk you through anything you need if you’re a non-coder. However, the lack of help desks and live customer support could make the setup process longer.
In terms of ease of use, WooCommerce is highly versatile since this open-source platform has a design community of over 350 contributors worldwide. It’s also extremely customizable if you possess skills as a developer, and offers over 400 extensions.
Because this plugin can turn any WordPress website into an e-commerce website, it can seamlessly integrate your content with elements of e-commerce.
To optimize your WooCommerce SEO, you’ll need to implement your WordPress SEO settings properly. Luckily, WooCommerce is equipped with various SEO plugins that can help you create an e-commerce website that ranks highly. Users can also install an SEO plugin and place the right keywords in the right places to further boost your site’s visibility.
- WooCommerce has plenty of themes for you to choose from, making it very easy to achieve the ideal look for your website.
- This platform offers many different extensions that you can use, letting you add more features and functionality to your website.
- You will be able to fully manage your inventory using WooCommerce, which makes it much easier to track your stocks and inventory.
- WooCommerce can help you sell physical products, digital products, and even affiliate products.
- While it uses PayPal and Stripe as your default payment method, you can add other payment gateways using add-ons and extensions.
- While WooCommerce itself is free, you will need to purchase a domain name and hosting services before getting started.
- Because there are so many available options in WooCommerce, some people can become overwhelmed when setting up a new website.
- WooCommerce works with WordPress themes, but you might want to stay with WooCommerce themes to get more support.
As mentioned, WooCommerce itself is free, but you will need to pay for extensions and plugins you may want to use for your store. You will also need to pay for a web hosting account and domain name, so be sure to take these factors into consideration.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still unsure of the best CMS for beginners, here are the answers to a few most asked questions.
Which CMS platform is best for e-commerce?
From what we’ve seen in our reviews of the most popular and highly-rated CMS platforms above, we recommend WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin for building an e-commerce store. While other contenders may be good to consider, WooCommerce is simply the best option for most kinds of online stores. But if you’re looking for an alternative to WooCommerce, you can also look into Shopify, which can provide an easier way to get started for beginners.
And here are some more alternatives.
Which CMS platform is best for small businesses?
The answer to this question is WordPress, hands down. WP makes it easy for both amateurs and professionals alike to create, manage, and grow a website for small businesses. Because it has so many themes to choose from, you can stand out more while allowing plenty of room for customization. Moreover, you’ll have all the tools you need to expand your business and thrive in the digital space.
What is the average cost of a CMS per year?
The answer to this question depends on how many features you purchase, which includes payment processing and website hosting. Keep in mind that the more CMS features you add, the more your costs will increase. While a small business may pay nothing more than $100 a month for their CMS, an internationally recognized corporation may need to spend thousands or even tens of thousands.
What pages do I need to build for my small business site?
While not all websites are created equal, most will have a standard build from which they can add or subtract. However, the most necessary pages that most businesses will have include the following:
- A homepage
- A products, services, or portfolio page
- An About Us/Me page
- A blog page
- A contact page
However, you can add as many pages as you need to ensure that your website contains all the necessary content and information to encourage visitors and attract more audiences.
How long will it take my website to rank in search engines?
In general, it could take as long as six months for a new website that’s using a new domain to attract viewers or gain traction on search engines. This is assuming that you don’t start any kind of marketing effort to help move it along. However, a strong and well-researched marketing strategy may be able to help you get faster results and help maintain them.
What is the best CMS for SEO ranking?
With more than 40% of all the websites in the world using WordPress, we believe that it holds the title for best SEO Ranking. It allows you to do so much to improve your SEO, including:
- Add titles
- Add image alt-text
- Add meta descriptions
- Add headings
- Add custom URLs
- And more
Furthermore, it offers solutions such as its free Elementor Page Builder, which allows you to optimize the look and feel of your website over a wide range of devices, such as tablets and phones.
Is it more cost-effective to build the site myself or hire a professional web design agency?
Unfortunately, building a website from scratch will always be the harder option unless you’re a programming genius. However, it is a better option compared to using a website builder like Wix, which only copies templates that may not have the best SEO and aren’t very customizable. On the other hand, if you choose to hire a professional web designer, you will surely end up with a high-quality website that will deliver an amazing experience for your customers.
In the end, there isn’t really a right or wrong answer, and it will ultimately come down to your priorities, goals, preferences, and needs.
Thinking about building a website and doing SEO yourself? Avoid these common mistakes.
You can certainly get started on a CMS for just a few hundred dollars, and the above options are some of the best on the market for beginners.
But a website is like an employee, building it is one thing but marketing and nurturing its growth is another. Should you desire to learn more about your current website, take advantage of a free and educational website audit.
If you want a free consultation on your next web design project, go here. At Agency Jet, we offer web design tips for beginners, while helping you create the right solutions for your digital needs.