WordPress vs. Light CMS – Which Website System is Right for Your Business?

For many business owners, getting a company website up and running can be a task more daunting than buying a car. From the breadth of options, floods of qualified (and unqualified) developers, and  price points ranging from a few bucks a month to thousands up front; many business owners are often scared to make the leap into cyberspace because it literally is a whole different realm than the physical world. Although in the past brushing off this trend used to be acceptable, today having a website is a must for any business who wants to survive in today’s increasingly connected culture.

While the reasons for getting a website are too numerous to discuss in depth, overall they all revolve around the fact that a website allows you to present your website to literally anyone in the world. Rather than limiting your clientele to just nearby towns, you can go national or even global if desired. One of my former brick & mortar clients actually has a storefront located in a small village; however their online sales on average gross well over triple the amount of in store revenue. Just a quick disclaimer – my client uses very extensive SEO marketing to the point they are paying thousands per month – so while a website is far from a quick fix for declining sales, if used properly it can greatly help customers better interact with your company.

When it comes to websites, there are literally hundreds of solutions out there, however as a web developer for many of my clients who are just starting out, I always use WordPress because it packs stability, security, a support community of literally thousands of developers all in a simple to use package which is so efficient that it can be priced as a relatively low cost solution which can be modified to fit literally anything you need.

From eCommerce, social networking capabilities, blogging, multimedia websites, and much more – WordPress can handle virtually any task thrown at it. While pricing depends heavily on your project when going with a professional developer, you can give WordPress a try for free at WordPress.com

Although WordPress is one of the top options, not everyone wants to pay the price for a fully tailored solution. To fill the void, there are numerous “Instant Website” offerings on the market, however such offerings are often littered with crippled offerings that provide users with cookie cutter websites which are essentially skeletons of code filled with copy. Additionally, since the offerings typically use butchered code, if you decide to switch vendors down the road, quite often you are forced to start from scratch.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that provides a bridge between the power and flexibility of WordPress and the pricing of a budget website builder. The solution is Light CMS and it is a website system which allows you to have a website ready for content in literally a few clicks. Prices range from free to $99/month with the main difference between plans being the maximum number of pages.

In a nutshell, Light CMS stands out from the other instant website makers because it uses standardized code (i.e. no vendor lock in), a wide array of tools which fit right into their suite (e.g. eCommerce, Blogs, Statistics, etc.), and all the capabilities enabled on the free plan.

When using Light CMS, you simply pick a template and use the control panel to change the design – a process similar to WordPress – however as Light CMS is self-contained, you don’t have to worry about technical configurations and server setups.

While Light CMS might seem like a WordPress killer, one of the biggest tradeoffs is that with WordPress you can have as many pages on your website as you want, whereas on Light CMS, for unlimited pages, you have to pay for the $69/month plan – a price much higher than many other hosting companies. Additionally the simplicity of Light CMS is a double edged sword because while you are able to add features instantly, you are limited to the toolbox provided by Light CMS whereas with WordPress you literally have an ecosystem of thousands of plugins which can complete your site.

In conclusion, I believe both WordPress and Light CMS are excellent website tools which fill different voids. For a business just starting out and with light needs, I highly suggest Light CMS for at least a starter website which can be upgraded down the road. On the other hand, for companies that want total control and who need power or advanced features, WordPress is the best route.

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About Charles Costa

Charles Costa is the owner of CJC Digital, LLC (http://cjcDigital.com). A web development firm focused heavily on the technical side of website coding and management plus technical writing services. In addition, CJC Digital also works heavily with emerging technology ventures to help new ideas get to market more effectively.

  • http://www.samsonmedia.net/ SamsonMedia.net

    Can Light CMS be used on any hosting platform?  The extra page charge seems extreme.  There’s always a catch with these types of site builders. 

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Great question – not sure. But I bet if you email or Tweet them you’ll get a fast reply.

      • http://www.samsonmedia.net/ SamsonMedia.net

        The answer is no.  You have to use their hosting.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing but as someone who makes their living building websites for clients, I’m always very critical and skeptical of these types of website “builders in a box.”  Nothing I’ve seen (yet) beats the customized approach.   

  • http://twitter.com/Brendan_Charles Brendan Charles

    Interesting, but I’m not sure how Light CMS will get over the pay barrier. With WordPress I can basically do as much as I want, with as many extensions on as many sites as I want all for free. Hard to compete with that!

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Brendan, you make a great point. I think that if you need more than a BLOG though – Light CMS might at least be an alternative.

      • fbolduc

        WordPress has distanced itself from his blog limitations long ago. With the right tools and plugins, you can make WordPress do whatever you want. Plus, you really can’t beat its community support.

  • http://twitter.com/EcoHouseUK EcoHouse Group

    to be honest before finding this blog i had never heard of LIGHT CMS but iu do use WordPress, i find wordpress easy to use and there are lots of addons, may take a look at LIGHT CMS now

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Great to hear and that’s what we’re partially about – discovery of great tech for business. How did you hear about smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray, Editor and Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com

      - Sent from my phone (but most likely not while I’m driving or watching a movie with my family) -

  • Ruth

    I’m a sole operator and for me LightCMS is a great tool. I find that the WordPress backend is highly intimidating for my clients who just want to be able to get in and update easily themselves. They’re not worried about the latest gimmicky plugin. That said, since its straight-forward coding I’ve never had any issue adding extra functionality if required. The design of the LightCMS interface is much more intuitive and user friendly, and for me its simple to set up and provides good support. I do think the page-number pricing gets steep but to be honest, once a business starts to require that amount of pages they probably need a dedicated web person and so might be better off with a WordPress solution. I know that I probably don’t make as much money personally as I could off a host-anywhere system, but, that I don’t need to worry about setting/maintaining servers or provide hours of technical support to my clients—its pressure off me, and that’s what counts in a small operation. LightCMS has proven to be a reliable, hassle-free platform and I enjoy using it.

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Ruth – this is SUBSTANTIVE – thanks so much

  • http://tsolucio.com Joe Bordes

    Have a look also at RespondCMS, this new open source project is advancing fast.

  • wajameni

    Its not even a comparison, lightCMS has nothing that wordpress does not offer while lightCMS has all the down sides – Its very expencive, they will control you for the rest of your life, you must host with them, limited plugins, limited pages! Logically lightCMS is for those who know nothing about how the web works.