The past couple years, I researched content management systems (CMS), to subjectively determine the best one to build sites with. I own several domains (e.g. AnselTaft.com, CallOnClick.com, SiteLash.com, AmphibiaCam.com) and wanted a fast loading, robust, extensible CMS. Over time, I narrowed the list to the three most promising candidates: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla (with honorable mentions to Expression Engine and Concrete5).
After 5 years, I concluded that WordPress is the best CMS. Why, you ask?
- It's constantly improved
Matt Mullenweg and company (Automattic) regularly update WordPress with new features and smash bugs every couple of months. (Software bugs, that is. No cockroaches were harmed in the making of their software, as far as I know).
- It's easy to update
I use the updater built into WordPress' control panel and haven't had an issues across three sites. You just need to know your FTP account information. If you're unconvinced, please read more about it here (see the ‘Automatic Upgrade' section).
- It loads pages quickly
While there are more expeditious content management systems, WordPress is no slouch. It is marginally slower than the fastest CMSes, but given WordPress' robustness, I feel it may be the fastest of the mature solutions.
- It's robust
For simplicity, please refer to WordPress' feature list. Please keep in mind that that list contains a feature summary, not every last little detail.
- It's extensible
Related to robustness, extensibility enables WordPress' capabilities to expand via plug-ins. Plug-ins are bits of code authored by third party coders (or Automattic), to bring additional functionality to the CMS. You may search through WordPress' 8,000* plug-ins here (*7,968 at the time of writing).
- WordPress has a thriving community
If you need help, you can reference thousands of WordPress books, websites and forums to solve your problem. It will also be immensely helpful to know XHTML and cascading style sheets (CSS).
- There are a myriad of themes
There are hundreds, if not thousands of free and professionally authored themes to instantly change your site's appearance. Personally, I prefer the commercial offerings from Templatic.com, ThemeForest.net and WooThemes.com.
- WordPress' output is accessible and SEO friendly
Well, accessibility and search engine optimization are fairly native and can be further enhanced through plug-ins.
- It has a pleasant UI
WordPress' user interface is handsome and intuitive. Frankly, I've never read a manual to teach me how to use it (and some would argue, I shouldn't have to). And if the default control panel is not to your liking, you can change the appearance with various theme plug-ins).
- Best of all… it's free!
Need I say more? Okay, I will. You could spend a couple hundred dollars for Expression Engine commercial edition, but WordPress has almost all the same features. And for what it's lacking, you can generally backfill the gaps with plug-ins.
While the list above is not completely exhaustive for all potential website needs, it culminates criteria I found important to determine the right CMS for me. It's important for you to decide on ‘must-have' features and seek out a CMS that can provide them. And if your needs can't be met by WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Expression Engine or Concrete5, you're probably looking at a custom built site. I wish you well, whatever direction you decide to head.