Before the arrival of open source platforms, ecommerce and blogging were costly and time-consuming endeavors. Creating and maintaining your website required programming expertise that many people simply did not have.
Today there are several networked, open source platforms available to consumers and business leaders that can remove costs, save time and improve overall quality in intuitive and straightforward ways. While they still require varying degrees of programming knowledge, these platforms make maintaining and customizing any website straightforward and relatively simple.
We’d like to familiarize you with the various open source platform options so you may better understand what they do, how they work, and which is the most appropriate platform for your business needs.
Magento is an open source ecommerce platform for large-scale enterprises. It can be used to create webstores and tailor them to your customers’ convenience with mobile access, multiple currency options for payment, and multi-address shipping. The program allows you to design your own theme, add widgets, modules and extensions, and utilize SEO and marketing promotion tools. Magento places a high priority on security, so you can be sure that your data remains safe and intact in an easy-to-locate place. With the free support and help guides Magento offers, getting assistance when you run into issues is only a click away. With Magento, you can efficiently handle the large-scale, expensive issues of code re-use, maintainability, debugging, support and more.
The learning curve for using Magento can be pretty steep. Even an experienced programmer will need time to become comfortable with it. If you’re using a small server to run your site or need only simple, non-ecommerce features, the Magento platform may prove to be more of a hindrance than an advantage.
Joomla is one of the most popular free content management systems (CMS) around. Joomla is great for small to medium sized business websites, allowing you to create and manage a dynamic website with ecommerce features. Joomla is preferred when you require a cost efficient website with CMS features and easy blogging.
Drupal is a powerful & developer-friendly tool for building complex CMS sites. If you want a large CMS that gives you complete control over everything at a low cost to your time, Drupal is the way to go. Designed for sites with heavy traffic, Drupal gives you precise control over URL structure. You can create new content types and advanced custom views.
One of Drupal’s unique features is its Taxonomy module, which provides multiple ways to tag, organize and categorize content. Drupal pages are quick to load and have a faster response time than those made with WordPress or Joomla. Adding plug-ins, themes and other configurable options to your webpage is easy.
WordPress is easy and cost-effective. It includes customizable and standard blogging capabilities that are easy to understand. The code behind WordPress is clean and simple, meaning search engines can easily identify content to direct visitors to your page. With millions of users, WordPress has a rich and vibrant community that can support you through any problems you may have.
Though mainly used for smaller and simpler sites, such as personal blogs, WordPress’ ever-increasing repertoire of themes, plugins and widgets lends itself to a wide range of uses for several website formats. Using a free plugin called WooCommerce, you can use WordPress to convert your blog to an ecommerce platform as well.
One disadvantage to consider is the need WordPress has for plugins in order to remain competitive with Joomla and Drupal.
Which Platform is Best for You?
Consider your own business & requirements and which platform might be best for what you need:
Magento is best used to maintain large-scale ecommerce enterprises.
Joomla is perfect for small to medium sized businesses that want easy set-up and maintenance for their website with simple ecommerce and CMS capabilities with flexibility.
Drupal is recommended for building large and complex CMS websites, not ecommerce sites.
WordPress is the best option if you’re running a personal blog or a small/medium business website with better SEO capabilities. WordPress is a suitable option that can take your business far with simple technical requirements.