What CMS is best for you

| By Cedric Wetzel
Digital trends

Content Management Systems (CMS) have revolutionized how we create, manage, and distribute digital content. In today's digital landscape, selecting the right CMS is crucial for businesses aiming to deliver engaging and seamless user experiences. With the evolution of web technologies, CMS platforms have diversified, offering various approaches to content management. This article explores the differences between classical CMS, visual CMS like Webflow, and headless CMS, providing a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best solution for your needs.

Understanding CMS Types

Classical CMS

Classical CMS platforms have been the backbone of web content management for decades. These systems provide an all-in-one solution where the front-end and back-end are tightly integrated. Users can manage content, design, and functionality within a single platform. Popular examples include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Classical CMS platforms are known for their extensive plugin ecosystems, allowing users to extend functionality without needing extensive coding skills.

Visual CMS like Webflow

Visual CMS platforms, such as Webflow, offer a more intuitive approach to web design and content management. These platforms emphasize a visual design interface, allowing users to create and manage websites through drag-and-drop tools and pre-designed templates. Webflow, along with other similar platforms like Wix and Squarespace, integrates hosting and content management into a unified experience, making it easier for users to launch and maintain websites without deep technical knowledge.

Headless CMS

Headless CMS represents a modern approach to content management, separating the content repository (back-end) from the presentation layer (front-end). This decoupling allows developers to deliver content across multiple channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices, using APIs. Headless CMS platforms like Strapi, Contentful, and Sanity provide greater flexibility and scalability, enabling businesses to create highly customized digital experiences tailored to their specific needs.

Classical CMS


Classical CMS platforms offer several advantages, making them a popular choice for many users:

  • Comprehensive Ecosystem: Classical CMS platforms come with extensive plugin and theme ecosystems, allowing users to add features and customize their websites without extensive coding.
  • Wide Range of Plugins and Themes: Users can enhance their websites with a variety of plugins and themes, catering to diverse functionality and aesthetic preferences.
  • Strong Community Support: Platforms like WordPress have large, active communities that provide support, tutorials, and resources, making it easier for users to find solutions and improve their websites.


However, classical CMS platforms also have some drawbacks:

  • Limited Flexibility in Front-End Design: The tightly integrated nature of classical CMS can limit front-end design flexibility, as users are often constrained by the themes and templates available.
  • Performance Issues with Large-Scale Sites: As websites grow in size and complexity, classical CMS platforms can face performance challenges, requiring additional optimization and resources.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: The widespread use of classical CMS platforms makes them common targets for security attacks, necessitating regular updates and security measures to protect against vulnerabilities.

Visual CMS like Webflow


Visual CMS platforms like Webflow provide several benefits, particularly for users focused on design and rapid development:

  • User-Friendly Visual Design Interface: The drag-and-drop design tools and visual interfaces make it easy for users to create and customize websites without needing extensive coding skills.
  • Rapid Development and Prototyping: These platforms enable quick website creation and iteration, making them ideal for startups and businesses that need to launch and test ideas rapidly.
  • Integrated Hosting Solutions: Webflow and similar platforms offer integrated hosting, simplifying the process of launching and maintaining a website by handling technical aspects like server management and security.


Despite their advantages, visual CMS platforms also have limitations:

  • Limited Customization and Scalability: While they offer ease of use, these platforms may lack the deep customization options and scalability needed for more complex or large-scale projects.
  • Dependence on the Platform’s Ecosystem: Users are often reliant on the tools and features provided by the visual CMS platform, which can limit flexibility and create challenges if the platform's policies or capabilities change.
  • Potential Higher Costs for Advanced Features: Advanced features and capabilities may come with additional costs, making it important for users to carefully evaluate pricing plans and potential expenses.

Headless CMS


Headless CMS platforms offer unique benefits that cater to the needs of modern businesses and developers:

  • Flexibility and Customization: By decoupling the back-end and front-end, headless CMS allows developers to use any front-end technology they prefer. This flexibility facilitates the creation of highly customized and unique user experiences.
  • Omnichannel Content Delivery: Content stored in a headless CMS can be delivered to various channels beyond just websites, including mobile apps, smart devices, and digital signage, enabling a consistent user experience across multiple platforms.
  • Performance Optimization: Headless CMS can enhance performance by allowing content to be served through fast, static site generators and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), reducing load times and improving user experience.


However, headless CMS platforms also present some challenges:

  • Higher Complexity in Setup and Maintenance: Setting up and maintaining a headless CMS requires a higher level of technical expertise compared to traditional or visual CMS platforms. This complexity can lead to increased development time and costs.
  • Requires Development Resources: Since headless CMS does not include front-end tools, businesses need skilled developers to build and maintain the front-end, which can be resource-intensive.
  • Potential Integration Challenges: Integrating various services and tools with a headless CMS can be complex, especially for organizations with existing legacy systems or those lacking a robust technical infrastructure.

Use Case Scenarios

When to Choose Classical CMS

Classical CMS platforms are best suited for:

  • Small to Medium-Sized Websites: Ideal for businesses that need straightforward website management with minimal technical complexity.
  • Blogs and Content-Heavy Sites: Excellent for creating and managing content-rich sites like blogs, news portals, and educational websites due to their built-in content management features.
  • Non-Technical Users: Perfect for users with limited technical skills who need a simple, all-in-one solution to manage their websites.

When to Choose Visual CMS like Webflow

Visual CMS platforms are ideal for:

  • Design-Centric Projects: Best for projects where design and user experience are paramount, and quick visual prototyping is essential.
  • Startups and Small Businesses: Suitable for businesses that need to launch and iterate websites quickly without significant investment in development resources.
  • Rapid Prototyping and Launches: Perfect for scenarios where time-to-market is critical, and there is a need for fast, iterative development cycles.

When to Choose Headless CMS

Headless CMS platforms are most appropriate for:

  • Large-Scale and Enterprise-Level Projects: Ideal for businesses requiring a high degree of customization, scalability, and integration with various digital channels.
  • Omnichannel Content Distribution: Best for organizations looking to deliver content across multiple platforms and devices, ensuring a seamless and consistent user experience.
  • Teams with Strong Development Capabilities: Suitable for businesses with skilled development teams capable of handling the complexities of decoupled architecture and custom front-end development.

Migration Considerations

Assessing Your Current CMS

Before migrating to a new CMS, it is crucial to evaluate your current system:

  • Evaluating Current Pain Points and Limitations: Identify the issues and limitations of your existing CMS, such as performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities, or lack of scalability, to understand what needs to be addressed.
  • Understanding Content Structure and Needs: Analyze your current content structure, workflow, and future needs to ensure the new CMS can support your content strategy and business objectives.

Planning the Migration

A well-planned migration strategy is essential for a smooth transition:

  • Content Migration Strategies: Develop a detailed plan for migrating content, including data mapping, content audits, and validation processes to ensure data integrity and consistency in the new CMS.
  • SEO and URL Structure Considerations: Maintain SEO rankings and traffic by ensuring that URLs are preserved or properly redirected, and that metadata, alt tags, and other SEO elements are correctly migrated.
  • Training and Adoption for New CMS: Provide training and resources to help your team adapt to the new CMS, ensuring they are comfortable with the new tools and workflows to minimize disruption and maximize productivity.

AI and Automation in CMS

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are revolutionizing how CMS platforms operate, offering new capabilities that enhance user experience and efficiency.

  • Enhancements in Content Personalization: AI-driven analytics can track user behavior and preferences, allowing CMS platforms to deliver highly personalized content. This level of personalization improves engagement and conversion rates by tailoring the user experience to individual needs.
  • AI-Driven Content Creation and Management: AI can assist in content creation through natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms, generating content suggestions, automating tagging and categorization, and even writing articles or creating media. Automation tools can also streamline workflows by scheduling posts, managing versions, and ensuring consistency across channels.

API-First and Microservices Architecture

The shift towards API-first and microservices architecture is reshaping CMS development, offering enhanced flexibility and scalability.

  • Benefits of Decoupled Systems: API-first CMS platforms allow for the seamless integration of various services and applications, enabling developers to build highly customized solutions. This decoupling of content management and presentation layers facilitates faster development cycles and easier maintenance.
  • Future-Proofing Your CMS Strategy: Embracing microservices and API-first approaches ensures that your CMS can adapt to emerging technologies and evolving business needs. This modular architecture allows for incremental updates and scalability, making it easier to integrate new tools and features as they become available.


Selecting the right CMS is a critical decision that can significantly impact your business's digital strategy and user experience. Classical CMS platforms offer a comprehensive solution with strong community support and a wide range of plugins, making them suitable for small to medium-sized websites and content-heavy sites. Visual CMS platforms like Webflow provide a user-friendly interface and rapid development capabilities, ideal for design-centric projects and quick launches. Headless CMS platforms offer unparalleled flexibility and scalability, making them perfect for large-scale and enterprise-level projects with omnichannel content distribution needs.

When considering a migration to a new CMS, it is essential to evaluate your current system, understand your content needs, and plan the migration carefully to ensure a smooth transition. Future trends in AI, automation, API-first, and microservices architecture are set to further enhance CMS capabilities, offering new opportunities for personalization, efficiency, and scalability.

Ultimately, the best CMS for your organization will depend on your specific requirements, technical capabilities, and long-term digital strategy. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each CMS type, you can make an informed decision that supports your business goals and delivers an exceptional user experience.

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