In the blogging world, choosing the right type of software and/or web application is very important. There are hundreds of products to choose from. This article will summarize the main considerations for any blogger who is torn between a normal blog and a content management system.
There are two many types of applications that are used for blogging: blog software and Content Management Systems (CMS). The main difference is that a CMS is much more robust than blog applications.
If the goal is to simply publish day-to-day content on the ‘Net, look no further than a blog. For the beginner, a basic blog is highly recommended over any CMS. With incredible web applications like “Blogware” and “Typepad”, someone who knows very little about computers or the Internet can be up and running in no time. The better blogging system (such as the two mentioned above) is not free. Google’s Blogger is one of the best free blogging services. WordPress is arguably the best of the best (free or not) blogs on the ‘Net. WordPress features the most support (without geek speak), the most design templates (this is important), and it is free.
For those who want a Swiss Army knife of web applications, the content management system can’t be beat. The typical CMS allows everything the average blog can do and much more. A CMS has traditional Date/Time blog entries & creation of static web page that blogs like WordPress offer. User logins can be found in blogs but not accessories like photo galleries and user profile managers. Joomla and Drupal (two of the most popular CMSs) offer scores of add-ons that go WAY beyond a blog. As in some open-source blogs, a good PHP/SQL programmer can even create their own devices, modules and hacks to a content management system with relative easy. The Robust nature of the CMS allows large companies and organizations to use them as their entire web site. Many content management systems allow users to create blogs and web pages even add pictures, music and video. MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and other social networks are run on extremely robust content management systems backed with industrial sized databases.
List of popular CMSs
With most CMSs, along with some PHP and SQL skill, the systems are easy to manage. However, here are some notes for everyone else.
Drupal: Although Drupal is ready to a layperson “out of the box” it is best handled by someone with patience willing to learn what is under the hood. The Drupal forums are written for geeks, by geeks.
Joomla: Joomla is very pretty and more user friendly than Drupal. It will only get the non-techie in trouble when they start adding modules and having to upgrade.
Expression Engine: Although it is not as versatile as Drupal, it is a web designers dream come true. After reading the Expression Engine manual, it is much more user friendly than Drupal and Joomla. The only drawback is that the more robust versions come with a price tag, where Drupal & Joomla are free.
The bottom-line is that day-to-day online journals with no frills need nothing more than a normal blog. For those with robust needs that will likely expand, a CMS is much better (but be prepared to learn the technology at least a little.