Small businesses can either make it or break it when trying to use a website to boost sales and increase market share. If you want to be competitive, you need to maintain a regularly updated website and not a static one. Blogs and market through emails should be consistently updated too. If you don’t want your time and money to be wasted, you need to consider adopting open source as well as commercial content management systems just like what other small businesses did in the last several years.

You can choose from a different variety of platforms to use. But for you to determine the right website management solution for your small business, you first need to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the two kinds of content management systems (CMS), the open source CMS and commercial CMS.

Advantages of Open Source CMS

  1. Price. This may be the best edge of an open source CMS because it is absolutely free.
  2. Wide development community. Unique features can be included in an open source CMS since many people around the world are usually involved in the project.
  3. Non-proprietary technology. Anyone can adopt the technology of the open source’s software. You can even migrate it to a different supported platform. You aren’t even locked into a single supplier and the software is always transportable.

Disadvantages of Open Source CMS

  1. Price. Though we noted that the open source’s price is a pro, it also has its downside. The reason is that even if the technology has no cost, you will still need to hire someone who knows how to integrate the technology into your platform. Sometimes, the configuration costs can be as high as the price of the commercial CMS that is even bundled with vendor support. On the other hand, if you will choose to learn open source, you will have a hard time especially if you will do it without the help of experts.
  2. Wide development community. Another advantage that can easily turn into a disadvantage. That is because small business owners have different priorities and goals in using open source CMS. One instance of an issue in an open source community is when there is a certain bug in the software that is preventing you to accomplish something on your website, it will take some time before a fix is developed and released into the software.
  3. Non-proprietary technology. When you hire someone who claims to be an open source CMS expert, you cannot easily validate their competence since they lack vendor certifications. In contrast, commercial CMS suppliers typically have certification programs for third parties. They can immediately recommend skilled partners and provide your needed support right away.

Advantages of Commercial CMS

  1. Integrated support. When you purchase a commercial CMS, the vendor is the one who will take care of bug fixes and feature requests. You don’t have to waste your time searching as the supplier of the CMS will support the installation directory and give you references to other vendors who have an expertise in a specific platform. Commercial CSM providers need to protect their reputation and contractual obligations that’s why they respond to you as quickly as possible. Unlike in an open-source community which has no obligation to provide feedback to your encountered issues right away.
  2. Stability and performance. The developers in open source are not all professional developers, that is why there could be a lot of security holes, bugs, and lack of testing which in the end will lead to a defective software. In commercial CMS, the providers have usually existing customers using their software. It means that their technology is working.
  3. Learning Curve. Your commercial CMS supplier typically provides training for your easier and faster adoption of their technology. While in an open source CMS, you need to spend some time finding an expert who can help you learn the product or spend more time learning the product on your own.

Disadvantages of Commercial CMS

  1. Price. A commercial CMS solution is not free and can be costly. Don’t also forget the upgrade costs and the ongoing support fees. For some small businesses, a commercial CMS is really not affordable.
  2. Supplier Lockin. Moving a software that is built by a commercial CMS vendor to another platform will not be easy. Moreover, the features of the purchased commercial CMS are usually of closed nature and customizing such features will be very difficult or even impossible.
  3. Scarce cutting-edge technology. The main concern of the commercial CMS providers is to provide stable and high performing software that is why cutting-edge features are not prioritized. Such unique features also need extensive testing and market research before implementing, thus, higher costs will be incurred.

As a small business owner, you only want to get more sophisticated in utilizing the available technology for the success of your business. Picking the appropriate platform to use for your website is vital for long-term success online. If you want the best possible answer, you can consider a hybrid solution that integrates an open source website management platform and a commercially supported website management platform.

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