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First, what is a CMS (CMS is an acronym for content management system)? It is a software that "facilitates" the creation and management of websites by offering an environment without having to know HTML, and by easily integrating different apps, plug-ins, and functionalities.

What are the most popular CMS (see:

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Joomla!
  • Shopify
  • Drupal
  • Blogger
  • Prestashop
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • PrestaShop
  • Initially, CMSs were designed to help business owners build and maintain their websites. It was an easier alternative to HTML coding or using editing software like Dreamweaver. Then came the wave of e-commerce CMS offering sales, purchasing, and inventory management in an integrated platform.

    But as the platforms evolved, the plug-ins options have multiplied, the tracking pixels have increased, and so has the complexity of CMS and its management. One article I read mentioned that there were more than 56,000 WordPress plug-ins available. It is enormous! There are also, more and more templates to choose from, and an increasing amount of functionalities to manage, on top of the constant updates, all of this means that we are often forced to hire a CMS expert.

    This huge selection is also a source of a problem; staying up to date is difficult, both for the options offered and the various upgrades installation. It is not uncommon to have virus problems on websites caused by dated templates or plug-ins which could render your website more vulnerable to virus attack (see: and The platforms that originally wanted to make life easier for business owners must now have experts to manage it.

    Why am I talking about this?

    Because for some people, there is a missing step. They want to get a CMS to possibly make changes to the website themselves. This usually does not happen. Either they get too busy or the complexity gets the better of them. For others, the availability of the various plug-ins is an important factor in their decision-making. But if you need a WordPress or Shopify expert, why do you need a site built on these platforms? Using these CMS comes with a price. Several options are free, but as soon as you start customizing, the fees start (see:

    Furthermore, with so many users, older templates, outdated updates, and many changes, some CMS have speed problems (see: I am in the process of solving this problem right now for one of my clients who had her website done with a custom CMS. The issue is the same; many business owners go to these CMS because they are unaware that other options could be better suited to their needs.

    For example, an HTML modified template to the needs of the client is an easy way to have a website that will be faster and comparatively safer. True, there is less functionality at your fingertips, but the Internet is full of options to be integrated on your website. Here is a list of what I have on my website:

  • PayPal purchase buttons.
  • A chatbot app.
  • Popup for newsletter subscription (MailChimp).
  • Scheduling app.
  • Website visitor analysis app.
  • Google and Facebook pixels.
  • Automatic calling.
  • Etc…
  • If your needs go far beyond what I just listed, a CMS may be the way to go. But too many entrepreneurs do not first ask themselves what their needs are, and they buy a CMS because it is the information that they have.

    If you are in the business of doing or redoing your website, ask yourself: do you need a CMS?

    If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
    Marketing consultant