Which CMS/blog system would you choose?

Earlier today, I asked the following question on Twitter:

With https://publishers.medium.com, Medium is positioned as a competitor to things like Squarespace and https://wordpress.com’s premium plans. Which leads me to the question: if you were starting a blog/website for a co/org, what service would you use and why? Let’s also assume this is either an organisation with fairly simple, typical needs or just intends to use this for a a subset of its site.

Why ask this? Simple. It’s one of the questions people tend to ask me when they find out I’m in web development.

Laying out the characters in a bit more detail

Basic assumptions:

With that said…

Medium

Medium is the newest player and has, for most of its life, not had a direction that would lead you to believe that it would plausibly play in this sandbox. Its ambitions to being a social media platform, for example, aren’t particularly compatible—strategically—with adding support for Google’s AMP or Facebook’s Instant Articles.

To choose Medium to be the engine behind your site first requires you to believe that this particular pivot of theirs will stick. If you don’t believe that, choosing them would be folly.

Pros:

Cons:

Wordpress.com

I have a love-hate relationship with Wordpress. I love its openness and flexibility. I hate using it, looking at it, experiencing it, and—most of all—maintaining it. Out of the box Wordpress is a security nightmare, its interface is an indecipherable mess, and it’s ugly to boot.

Wordpress.com partly solves my problems with Wordpress proper by taking care of maintenance and bolting on a different User Interface for managing, writing, and editing posts.

I hate the new UI too, just in a different way from the way I hate Wordpress’s regular UI.

Pros:

Cons:

Squarespace

These guys are, for most people, the go-to answer to this question because they are the only ones who seem to take it seriously. Their value proposition is really simple:

“You give us money and you’ll get a website that’s easy to set up, easy to use, and looks good.”

Their templates look a little heavy for the most part but unlike the others, they know exactly what problem they set out to solve.

Pros:

Cons:

Honorary mentions


From the pros and cons listed above, it seems to me that as soon as a small to medium-sized business or organisation has any budget, Squarespace becomes the natural choice. The rest are either limited in how they integrate with your mailing list (essential) or analytics (less essential but still a common business practice).

The best of the runners up, like CraftCMS or Ghost are only useful if you have a developer on board or are willing to take care of hosting it yourself.

Did I miss anything?