by Sufyan bin Uzayr . January 4th, 2012
However, as a web designer/developer/enthusiast, being knowledgeable about an extra CMS doesn’t really hurt much. In fact, it always helps to have an extra CMS among your tools of trade.
In this article, we shall take a look at some of the worthy alternatives to WordPress as a blogging tool.
But before we go any further, here is a disclaimer: this round-up solely mentions CMSs that are/can explicitly be used as blogging tools. Therefore, wonderful choices such as Joomla are left out. Of course, Joomla can be and oftentimes is used as a blogging platform, but the CMS itself does not cater to blogs in particular.
So, without further ado, let us take a look at some of the worthy alternatives to WP.
Who hasn’t heard of Drupal? No, seriously, who hasn’t? Drupal is arguably the closest competitor to WordPress, both in terms of usage and community activity. Drupal has been around for quite some time, is backed by a plethora of themes and plugins, and has a very loyal user base. For years, Drupal has held the reputation of being ‘the developer’s CMS’. However, of late, Drupal releases have laid emphasis on ease of use, and the latest version of Drupal comes with a WYSIWYG Editor and an enhanced level of abstraction.
Movable Type is a CMS written in Perl. So if you have to use a PHP-based CMS, Movable Type should not be on your list. Otherwise, if you are planning to power a blog or a magazine website, Movable Type is surely a worthy option. It is available both as open source as well as commercial options.
Textpattern is another worthy blogging tool. It boasts of a very active and friendly community base and is backed by active development. Furthermore, Textpattern aims to strike an ideal balance between usability and extendability. As a designer, you will never run short of options to tweak your blog and as a blogger, you will always find your blog safe and sound.
Expression Engine is a rare breed of blogging tool cum CMS options. For a start, its tagline is awesome – Publish your Universe! – not that the tagline matters in deciding which CMS to use. :-)
On a serious note, Expression Engine packs all the features that you can ever seek in a blog, and also provides you with amazing support. Plus, its user base, though comparatively smaller, consists of many leading names from their respective fields. On the downside, Expression Engine is not a free software.
Habari is a robust and versatile blogging tool that is under steady development. While the number of themes and extensions is fairly limited as compared to WordPress, Habari is loved and used by many loyal fans, and is surely a CMS to consider when looking for WP alternatives.
Wolf CMS is a PHP-based open source CMS licensed under GPL v3. To be on the safer side, don’t bother considering Wolf CMS for super large websites. The CMS has been built keeping ease of use and simplicity in mind – and it does just that! It can surely power your personal blog, or your portfolio, but it is definitely not meant for a large news site.
Just in case you don’t already know it, WordPress evolved from b2. And so did b2Evolution! Does this make b2Evolution a long-lost cousin of WordPress? Perhaps.
But if you are looking for a blogging tool that can be used to power multiple blogs in one installation (and, just in case you’re bothered, shares the same lineage as WP), b2Evolution might suit your purpose. The CMS supports all the basic features you can seek in a blog, and is also backed by a decent sized plugin repository.
Geeklog is a blogging tool that supports multiple syndication formats, trackbacks and other features that are required in a blog. Just like WP, Geeklog is also fast growing into a CMS rather than just a blogging tool. However, it lags way behind WordPress in terms of community support, availability of themes and, above all, ease of use. The extensions repository is good, and Geeklog overall seems to be a secure CMS, though its user-friendly element can definitely use a makeover.
Concrete5 is a popular CMS that is rising in terms of both usage and application. While it is more of a full fledged CMS and is thus better comparable with the likes of Joomla rather than WordPress, Concrete5 comes with dedicated settings for a blog, including native support for RSS feeds, Sitemaps and scheduled posts.
Zazavi is a relatively newer player in this field. It features a WYSIWYG Editor and a drag-and-drop interface that is extremely easy to use. Simply type in your post, use the Editor to format it, and off you go! With Zazavi, you can get a website up and running with virtually no coding skills required whatsoever!
With that, we come to the end of this round-up. Of course, when looking for alternatives to any software, the options are many. In such cases, personal preferences also play a vital role – what works for you, might not work for the other person, and vice-versa. For instance, I’ve so far used Movable Type and am happy with it, though some of its users have felt the urge to migrate to Melody CMS, a fork of MT.
Knowing an extra CMS or two doesn’t hurt, but at the same time, it makes little sense to sacrifice productivity for the sake of it. if WordPress works well for you, and you are extremely happy with it, there is no point in leaving it for any other software. However, even in such a case, we can explore a new software just for the fun of it, can’t we?
Have you used any/all of the above CMSs? Got a CMS you think deserves a mention here? Do let me know in the comments!
Featured image is from Shutterstock, copyright by Marco Rullkoetter.
Sufyan bin Uzayr is a 21-year old freelance writer, graphic artist, programmer and photographer based in India. He writes for several print magazines as well as technology blogs. His prime areas of interest include open source, mobile development, web CMS and vector art. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of an e-journal named Brave New World.