If you want to set up your own website on your own domain and add a moderate level of customisation, a Content Management System (CMS) can be a great place to start. A CMS is a ready-made and tested website, that allows you to extend and add to the functionality by way of plugins, without having to code it by hand. Content management systems for ecommerce can give you an excellent way to build and customise your site, and start selling quickly to your target audience.
Three key benefits to using CMSs are:
- Fast to get started – you could set up a simple functional site in a day or less
- Tested, reliable, and regularly updated – the larger CMSs have a vast network of users and support channels meaning less issues for you
- Customisable through plugins and open source coding – you choose the functionality you need and enable it by adding the appropriate plugins
A CMS may be limiting to you if your website needs a specific functionality not provided by an existing plugin. You could pay a developer to design and code a specific plugin for you, though this can be a challenging process, and you’ll want to find a developer who knows your CMS well and can capably do the job in a reasonable time period.
Two leading CMSs in the marketplace are WordPress and Magento. Let’s discuss them both here:
Originally well known for being a blogging platform, WordPress has expanded into an open-source community CMS and is now responsible for hosting around 19% of the world’s websites. WordPress is therefore a very large community of people using, developing for, and testing out the WordPress platform and ever growing list of available plugins. Written in PHP, WordPress will work with most web hosts, and by offering thousands of themes (many of them free), allows you to give your site the look and feel you want. A simple, easy to use CMS, WordPress makes it quick to get started in business, and provides a vast array of plugins for extra functionality.
Also an open-source CMS, Magento powers around 200,000 ecommerce businesses and is generally seen as a stronger enterprise solution for ecommerce businesses that plan to scale quickly. In general, Magento systems have stronger plugins (called Extensions) which allow greater functionality, however you may find the need for a Magento developer to fully utilise and implement these systems. In short; Magento provides more options and more complexity, which means you can customise further, but you’ll have to be ready to pay for it.