What website software? Choose the best website software!

website software FML Marketing

Time for a new website? Which website software are you going to choose? Are you going to create a new website yourself or are you going to have a professional website made by a specialist? It is important to know the possibilities in terms of the software regardless of the answer to this question. Which software is best suited for creating your new website? There are several possibilities regarding the software for your new website. In this article, you will find a summary of the possibilities and the pros and cons of each software option.

Times are changing

Before 2005, most websites were created manually. By this, we mean that the source code is written by hand. A web designer has to know various programming languages such as HTML, CSS, javascript, and PHP, for example, in order to be able to deliver a professional website that meets the client’s requirements. Nowadays there are many more website software possibilities for creating a website. Even without knowledge of programming languages and source codes, you can have a professional website made. There are various software packages that write this programming language for you, as it were.

3 possibilities in terms of website software

Roughly speaking, the possibilities for creating a new website can be reduced to 3 main categories:

  • Manually coded websites
  • SaaS solutions
  • CMS systems

This enumeration is somewhat simplified. There are solutions that fall between the above categories, so-called niche products. Because these niche products do not necessarily add anything to this article and we would like to keep it clear, these have been left out here.

1. Manually encoded website

Manually coded websites are tailored to the exact needs of the client. They can be as simple or as complex as you like. Design and functionalities can be put together completely according to your wishes. You really start with a white sheet and everything is built completely ‘from the ground up’. Commonly used software for creating manually coded websites is Adobe Dreamweaver, Google Web Designer, WebStorm, KompoZer and for example Coda.

Advantages of this website software

Because it is completely custom made, a manually coded website can fully meet your requirements. It has been developed specifically according to your wishes and situation. Another advantage of a ‘hand-coded’ website is that it is almost always safer than a CMS system, provided it is well developed of course. By ‘good’ we mean according to industry standards with an extra layer of security if necessary. Hacking a ‘standard’ CMS system is generally more attractive than hacking handmade software because with the popular software a hacker can abuse many websites at the same time.

Disadvantages of this website software

A handmade solution will cost you more time and money, as opposed to using a standard system. The starting rate for a complete custom solution is quickly about € 5000,- to € 10.000. If you have a more extensive website with specific functionalities, this can be as much as € 25.000,-. For an extensive website with advanced functionalities, the amounts can be as much as € 100.000,- or a multiple of this.

2. SaaS solution / Website builder

In addition to a hand-encoded website, you can also opt for website software in the form of a SaaS solution. SaaS (Software as a service) is a service in which a software application is offered via the internet instead of being installed on a computer or server. With a SaaS solution, your website is hosted on the server of the provider. You pay for the use of the software and receive a license that allows you to use the platform. You do not own the software, but by purchasing licenses you have the right to use the software. Examples of SaaS solutions such as website builders are Jimdo, Wix, and Weebly.

With ‘website builders’ you can build a website without design skills and knowledge of programming language. Website builders offer various themes (designs) and built-in functionality. You choose a theme and can start filling the content, i.e. placing text, images, and videos. With most website builders you can also make a number of standard changes to the design of the theme by moving certain blocks with the so-called ‘drag and drop’ function.

Advantages of this website software

The biggest advantage of website builders is, of course, the ease of use. Without technical knowledge, anyone can make a professional website.

Disadvantages of this website software

The main disadvantage of such solutions is their lack of flexibility. The adjustment options will be largely limited to choosing colors and shifting ‘movable’ blocks. So you can’t add custom functions or styles that aren’t included in the website builder. Although website builders like Wix or Jimdo seem attractive because of their simplicity, they lack a dynamic power compared to a CMS system.

3. CMS platforms

Content Management Systems are systems that allow you to create a professional website without any technical knowledge. CMS systems differ from website builders because they contain basic functionality that can be expanded with various ‘add-ons’.

A CMS is a piece of software that has already been built by a company or an individual and is now offered for mass use. Some of these CMS systems are commercial, so you have to pay a license or usage fee for them. Other CMS systems are ‘open source’ and therefore free to use. Open source means that the source code is completely open and freely available to absolutely everyone. You can download the code for free, after which you can get started yourself or together with a development team.

The CMS market is very diverse. The solutions differ per form, functionality, and cost. In general, CMS systems can be divided into 2 categories:

  • Open-source CMS platforms (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal)
  • Enterprise CMS systems (Adobe, Microsoft Sharepoint, Oracle WebCenter).

 

3a. Open Source CMS systems

Open source is software whose source code (sources) has been published and is freely available to everyone. Anyone can and may copy, modify, supplement, and distribute this software without any cost in terms of copyrights and/or surcharges.

An open-source CMS system can be used for free and can be modified as often as you like. A lot of work is done with add-ons, parts or functions that you can add to your website. Some parts (themes and plugins) can also be paid for or work with for example license fees. Even with paid parts, you are free to change them to your own wishes.

Because of the diversity, knowledge of the CMS is a prerequisite for a professional result. You have to think carefully in advance about which functions you want to implement and make a choice in the various add-ons (called plugins) that meet this need. In most cases, these plug-ins have to be configured manually.

For setting up a website based on a CMS platform, technical knowledge is an advantage. Basically it is possible to use such a CMS platform without technical knowledge to create a website. If you are not demanding and have the time to get to know such CMS systems, then this is certainly possible. If you really want to provide a professional website with various functionalities, then you still need to hire a specialist who can help you with the technical realization of your website.

TOP 3 CMS platforms

The top 3 CMS platforms are:

WordPress (58.9% market share)
Drupal (7% market share)
Joomla (4.7% market share)
WordPress is by far the most popular platform with a market share of almost 60%. open-source CMS is a perfect solution for small and medium-sized companies with an average budget. You can develop fairly quickly, are flexible and have a scalable website that can grow with your business. When it comes to webshops (e-commerce), Magento is the most popular CMS platform.

Advantages of this website software

Compared to website builders, CMS systems offer much more flexibility. You have thousands of themes (designs) to choose from that can still be adapted to your own wishes, provided you have the technical knowledge (HTML, CSS, PHP, javascript). In addition, you can add all kinds of functionalities with the help of plugins. These functionalities can also be adapted to your own wishes if you have the technical knowledge. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but start from a base developed by another company or individual and adapt it to your own wishes.

Disadvantages of this website software

A disadvantage of an open-source CMS system is that it is more vulnerable than a manually encoded website or an enterprise CMS system that we will discuss in the next chapter. This is mainly because it is more interesting for hackers to attack a popular open-source system than a custom-made website because with the popular systems a hacker can ‘abuse’ many websites at the same time. Technical knowledge and understanding of the CMS system is very important in this respect. You have to know the do’s and don’ts to be able to adequately secure your website. Open-source CMS systems are not necessarily unsafe, but you need to use them properly, secure them and keep the software up-to-date.

3b. Enterprise CMS systems

Enterprise CMS systems are complex proprietary systems designed for large organizations. According to research, organizations go for an enterprise solution in the following situations:

  • Complex websites in terms of cross-channel, contextual and interactive customer experiences for robust websites
  • Integrations with other systems
  • System must support multiple websites with many languages
  • Have a substantial budget
  • In other words, these systems are made for large companies with complex user interactions and complex operations. Therefore, enterprise CMS systems are also robust and feature-rich to meet these needs.

Advantages of this website software

Enterprise CMS systems are highly advanced and rich in functionality. Because these are commercial products, there is often good support. This applies to both system updates and technical support.

Disadvantages of this website software

The main disadvantage of such solutions is the price. An enterprise CMS solution can easily have a price of six digits. Another disadvantage is the limited flexibility compared to a manually coded website. The capabilities of such systems are very extensive but at the same time the limiting factor.

 

Conclusion

Manually encoded website software

Manually encoded websites offer a great deal of flexibility. They are built from the ground up and can be developed entirely according to your own wishes. Yet, the development time is quite long and the costs are high. Manually coded websites quickly exceed € 10.000,- and can cost up to 6 digits depending on your wishes and the size of the website. Manually coded websites are in a good solution for large companies with a large budget and very specific needs.

SaaS solution

Website builders or SaaS solutions (such as Jimdo and Wix) are the easiest to use and the fastest development time. Nevertheless, you have to be satisfied with the functionality and styles they offer, because you can’t change much and the flexibility is nil. Prices for using a website builder are quite favorable compared to the other options and are about € 15,- per month depending on your needs. A SaaS solution is an excellent option for a hobbyist who wants to make his own website.

Open-source CMS platform

Open-source CMS platforms (such as WordPress and Drupal) offer more room for customization, but you do need to have some technical knowledge or hire a platform expert. Possibilities are almost endless, you are flexible and your website is highly scalable so it can grow with your company. The development time is short and you should be able to launch your website pretty quickly. Security is a point of attention, especially when processing personal data. It is important that you call in a platform expert who can take precautions regarding the security of your website. Prices for a website based on an open-source CMS are between € 500,- and € 10.000,- depending on your wishes and the size of your website.

Enterprise CMS platform

As far as enterprise-level systems (such as Adobe Experience Manager) are concerned, most of them offer advanced functionality for managing multiple websites, channels, and complex organizational processes. Enterprise CMS platforms are very expensive and quite flexible. An enterprise CMS is a good option for a large company with a large budget without very specific requirements in terms of functionalities.

About FML Marketing 

We thank you for reading our blog What website software? Choose the best website software! FML Marketing is a digital marketing agency located in Estepona. Our team specializes in web design, search engine optimization, social media solutions, and graphic design.

More website and web design related articles

The clear and present danger of not owning your website 

Latest articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *