As bloggers, we are always on the lookout for better options to improve our blogs. We search long and hard, trying to find the best platform so that we can earn more revenue. The search can be tough as there is a lot of competition in every niche group. When you’re busy too, it’s even tougher. Which is why today, I’m sharing some of my personal favorites for alternatives to WordPress for blogging.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the planet with an immense community and a great plugin directory. However, for many bloggers, WordPress can be too complex to use and is not ideal for building a blog. For this reason, there are a long list of alternatives to WordPress that are gaining attention each day.
If you’re building a blog, you’re likely to come across the question: Do I build it in WordPress or Tumblr? Both have their strengths and weaknesses. There’s no right answer for everyone, and everyone has their preference. The only real way to find your favorite choice is to test them out.
Alternatives To WordPress For Blogging
1. CMS Hub
HubSpot’s CMS, CMS Hub, is a fully integrated content management system that keeps your team, tools, and data together in one place. It’s also fully hosted, which means that HubSpot handles all the technical aspects that come with running your site such as updates, upgrades, security issues, and bugs, so that you can focus on your content and customers.
HubSpot’s CMS includes many of the tools you’d expect to find: a domain manager, file manager, drag-and-drop content editor, staging environment, design and blogging tools, and so on.
In addition to these site building tools, you also have access to other HubSpot tools that can help fuel your inbound marketing strategy, including CTAs, lead forms, marketing automation, conversational marketing software, multilingual support, list segmentation, live chat, email, and reporting. With many other CMS platforms, you’d have to integrate third-party software to add these features to your site.
What really sets CMS Hub apart from other platforms is that you can use it alongside the HubSpot CRM. By having all your customer data in the same place as your website, you’ll be able to easily manage and strengthen your relationships with your contacts. You can use a visitor’s location, device, language, the pages they’ve visited on your site, or any detail stored in your CRM to dynamically tailor your content right from your HubSpot dashboard. That way, you can personalize the entire customer experience from their very first visit.
With HubSpot, you and your visitors won’t have to worry about the security of your site. The platform’s global CDN, Web Application Firewall, included SSL, and dedicated security team keep your site secure from DDoS attacks, hackers, potential abuse, and other anomalies.
Furthermore, because HubSpot selectively partners with third-party vendors and apps that can integrate with existing HubSpot portals, you don’t have to worry about plugin compatibility or maintenance leaving your website vulnerable.
Integrating site building, content optimization, marketing, and conversion tools with built-in security and a CRM, CMS Hub is ideal for both small to medium-sized businesses growing over time as well as enterprise companies like Avella.
- Advanced built-in tools like marketing automation, SEO recommendations, and a CRM
- Ideal for growing businesses and enterprise companies
Drupal is a highly flexible CMS with virtually infinite customization options. It’s best suited for developers or other users with a familiar understanding of HTML, CSS, and PHP.
To extend and customize the functionality of your Drupal site, you can select from the 46,000 modules available in Drupal’s directory. You can also choose from thousands of free themes in Drupal’s official theme repository or premium themes at ThemeForest to customize your site’s appearance.
While Drupal has a smaller selection of modules and themes than WordPress, these modules and themes are highly configurable. That means you maintain granular control over the functionality and appearance of your site.
Due to the sheer volume of customization options, the process of setting up a Drupal site is longer and more complicated than setting up a WordPress site. The end result, however, will be a highly secure and customized site that can handle large quantities of data and heavy traffic.
For these reasons, Drupal is well-suited for large corporations, government agencies, and universities with dedicated teams of developers. The NCAA site is built on Drupal.
- Highly configurable modules allows granular control over website
- Ideal for corporations, government agencies, and universities
Joomla is designed to combine some of the power and flexibility of Drupal with the user-friendliness of WordPress.
With Joomla, you get more out-of-the-box features than with WordPress. You can also configure many of your site’s settings on the backend, modifying articles, banners, menus, media, redirects, and SEO settings. For additional functionality and control over your site, you can download any of the 6,000 extensions available in the official directory. Like your settings, these will have to be installed via the backend.
That’s why Joomla has a steep learning curve for beginners. Users with some experience in web development will be able to understand and take full advantage of Joomla’s built-in flexibility to create more complex sites right out of the box.
With built-in multilingual support and advanced user and content management options, Joomla will enable you to manage hundreds of users, create custom post types, and publish in multiple languages. For these reasons, Joomla is ideal for building social networking, community, and membership sites like Harvard University’s.
- Built-in multilingual support and advanced user and content management options
- Ideal for social networking, community, and membership sites
If you’re looking to start selling products or services online, then you’ll want a hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify.
You can set up and manage an entire store through Shopify. You’ll begin by choosing from over 70 ecommerce themes and then building posts and pages using Shopify’s drag-and-drop website builder.
Shopify’s lowest plan, which is $29 per month, includes built-in blogging, customer reviews, ready-to-go payment options for your customers, abandoned cart recovery, and analytics on your web traffic and products.
There are two other plans with resources that scale up at each price point, but before you upgrade, make sure to check out Shopify’s app marketplace. Many of the apps can enable integrations between Shopify and platforms, like HubSpot, to fill in any gaps you need to run your business.
Because Shopify will manage security issues, manually back up your website, and ensure the software is up to date, it appeals to first-time shop owners and businesses that would prefer not to customize every single aspect of their stores.
- Advanced ecommerce features including customer reviews and abandoned cart recovery
- Ideal for first-time shop owners and businesses
PrestaShop is another powerful ecommerce platform for running a successful online store, but it differs from Shopify in two major ways: it’s a self-hosted, open-source platform. That means you can use the core software for free and modify its code as you like. That also means have to find your own hosting provider.
PrestaShop also comes with more features than Shopify. So, the dashboard might look complex and the set-up process is more complicated than using Shopify, but you’ll be able to create a more custom site right out of the box.
If you’d like to customize the functionality and appearance of your site, you can choose from over 3,800 modules and 2,400 themes to install in the official add-ons marketplace. With so many customization options, Prestashop appeals to large online stores that have an extensive product catalog.
Below check out Charuca, an online stationery store and just one of many examples of online shops created with PrestaShop.
- Feature-rich and highly extensible
- Ideal for large ecommerce businesses
Magento Open Source is a self-hosted platform like Prestashop. The core software is free to use, but you’ll have to pay for hosting and Magento extensions — which can get pricey.
Magento is like the ecommerce version of Drupal: it’s a highly flexible and secure platform with a steep learning curve. If you have coding skills, then you can design your store any way you like. But it will take time to learn about all the platform’s out-of-the-box features as well as its extensions and integrations before you can set up your store.
Exploring Magento’s Extensions Marketplace, you’ll see over 3000 add-ons and apps available to install or integrate with your site. Want to track and segment customers in a CRM or include up-to-date stock and delivery information on your site? With extensions, adding this type of functionality to your site is easy.
Furthermore, since Magento allows you to manage multiple stores, use several worldwide shipping providers, and transact in multiple countries, languages, currencies — all within the same dashboard — it can support your growth over time. That’s why it’s the go-to choice for companies like Landrover to create large-scale stores with many products.
- Highly flexible and secure
- Ideal for growing and large ecommerce businesses
Webflow is a “visual” content management system that allows designers to create fully customized sites without having to worry about hosting, security, or performance.
With Webflow, you have complete control over your site’s appearance. While you can select from hundreds of pre-built templates and customize them, you can also start from scratch and design every single detail on your own.
Using the Webflow Designer (which looks like Photoshop in a browser), you can drag and drop HTML elements onto a canvas and style CSS properties to create a completely custom site.
To extend the functionality of your site, you have two options, neither of which are as simple as installing a plugin on WordPress. First, you can set up an integration between your site and other platforms (steps will vary according to the platform). Let’s say you’d like to track and manage all the contacts that signed a form on your Webflow site. You can connect your Webflow forms to your HubSpot CRM by creating an account with Zapier to manage the integration.
Your other option is to embed third-party code or your own custom code on a page to extend the functionality of your site. You can watch this video to learn how to add custom blocks of HTML code to your WebFlow site.
It’s completely free to build your site — you only purchase a site plan and custom domain when you’re ready to launch. The CMS hosting plan is $20 per month.
Because it requires basic knowledge of CSS, HTML, and web design, Webflow is best suited for freelancers designing websites for clients or for small agencies like Eclipse.
- Offers complete control over website’s design
- Ideal for freelancer designers and agencies
Typo3 is an open-source enterprise CMS that’s designed to be scalable and flexible. With this CMS, you can create and manage hundreds of sites in multiple languages.
Though TYPO3 comes with more than 9,000 out-of-the-box features, you’ll likely end up installing a few of the 6,000 available extensions in the TYPO3 Extension Repository to fill in some gaps. For example, if you want to embed videos on your site or optimize your content for search engines, you’ll have to integrate with third-party tools and services.
Like Drupal, TYPO3 is popular with large organizations and corporations. It’s best suited for teams of marketers and developers who, together, want to create and run distribution sites, complex product sites, and multisite installations. The German airline Lufthansa, for example, built their site with TYPO3.
- Can create and manage hundreds of sites in multiple languages
- Ideal for large organizations and corporations
Concrete5 is an open-source CMS designed to be as simple to use as a word processor. Using Concrete 5’s block editor, you can easily add text, video, image sliders, interactive forms, and surveys to your site. Just drag and drop the module anywhere on the page — no coding required.
Concrete5 comes with many of the essentials for building a site out of the box, including responsive templates, custom form fields, and an integrated commenting system. If you feel like your site is missing a feature, you can install add-ons from the concrete5 marketplace directly in your dashboard.
Many Concrete5 users begin by creating a simple site focused on content and then add features over time to create a more complex project. Shown below, Cambridge University Press’s website is an example of a complex web project built with Concrete5.
- Designed to have ease of use of a word processor
- Ideal for agencies working with large corporations
WordPress began as a simple blogging platform in 2003 but it has since evolved into a multi-purpose CMS with thousands of plugins and themes. If you’re simply looking to build a blog, then you may end up paying for features and services you don’t need by choosing WordPress. Instead, you can use Ghost.
Ghost is a NodeJS-based software dedicated to blogging. It is designed to be a simple and lightweight CMS for creating and monetizing sites with recurring subscriptions. In exchange for this simplicity, you’ll have to give up most of the flexibility that WordPress provides. That’s okay if you’re a blogger or a beginner looking to create a site that’s easy to create and manage. (Think: startups.)
You can check out a few examples of websites built with Ghost below.
- Offers subscription commerce features for monetizing your website
- Ideal for bloggers and first-time site owners
Website Builder Alternatives to WordPress
If you are looking for website building tools and hosting in one place, then you can use a website builder.
Website builders are proprietary tools that only work on the builder’s hosting platforms. Their hosting plans include maintenance, security, backups, statistics, training, and support.
You might be thinking these sound a lot like CMS platforms — but the main difference is that website builders lack content management features. For that reason, website builders are a good option for building sites without a lot of dynamic content or the need for advanced functionality and highly-customized branding. Think: restaurants and agencies as well as musicians and artists.
Below we’ll look at a range of paid and freemium website builders that you can use to quickly create a site.