2018 CMS Comparison

(SF) #1

It’s that time again. It’s been a few years/months since the last CMS discussion. I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on the different CMS (with blog) options out there.

I’ve used Armadillo since the original beta, and I currently use TotalCMS for one client’s website, Armadillo for another, and Nilrog’s WP-Blog plugin for my oldest site. (Whom ever develops an import option from WP for blogs wins this discussion automatically!!!)

What I don’t have is experience with is PulseCMS, GO CMS and honestly, the built in blog. (Which is actually an option for one of my projects.)

I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with any of those options, (even better if you’ve used a couple.)

I will be most likely using either Foundation or Foundry, (of which I own both), but one of my projects is likely to be a theme. I will also be training fairly tech savy people in using them, so the end user aspect isn’t that big a deal.

All thoughts are appreciated.

(Robert Ziebol 🖖🏼) #2

Just to give you another choice, do not forget the Poster stack by @Instacks, that is another blogging option. (I know you are comparing CMS stacks, but you also mentioned the built in blog, so I thought I would be sure you know of this one too).

(Doug Bennett) #3

Checkout WebYep from Stacks4Stacks.

(Joe Workman) #4

I have been working on Total CMS v2 full time for almost 10 months. While v1 is very powerful… I wanted to start from scratch and it’s really starting to pay off. I will give the first public glimpse of it at the Weaver’s Space Conference next month. It is powering my very long overdue website redesign… :sunglasses:

(SF) #5

@joeworkman My one client wants to start building a backlog of articles before pushing the site public widely. I’d be happy to buy a license and do some real world beta testing for you.

I’m very happy with V1, and my clients at the Humane Society where I implemented it love it. The only reason I posed the question is I was curious about other people’s experiences.

(Joe Workman) #6

Keep an ear out for when I beta testers later this year. Its not ready for that just yet. It will be a free upgrade to all v1 licenses. It will have a data migration tool. However, all of the stacks will need to be re-implemented.

(SF) #7

I have to ask, because, OMG, would I love this… but will V2 support WordPress import? :crossed_fingers:

(Raimo Karhunen) #8

I used Armadillo for years, but have moved most of my sites (and new builds) to Pulse. I looked at all the options, and every Rapidweaver CMS has it’s strengths but I chose Pulse because:

  • Pulse is a particularly strong choice if you are building multiple websites, as you can use your license on unlimited sites. If you only need it for 1 or 2 websites, the upfront cost may not be worth it, but I build 30+ sites per year…
  • Has multiple ways for the client to make edits: “on page” editor, dashboard editor, or even through FTP and working with the files directly
  • no database to setup
  • works great with Foundation (my Rapidweaver website builder of choice right now)
  • can be used outside of Rapidweaver - I use it in Blocs which has Pulse integration built in, with “HTML sites” and Pulse now has it’s own “drag and drop” Builder as well
  • it can import Wordpress sites,
  • Pulse comes with a drag and drop form builder, you can use on any of your websites. I used it to add a form to a Wordpress site yesterday
  • and the Pulse developers are very responsive, and have been a part of the Rapidweaver community for years

** edited as I have been corrected on the multiple blogs, and other Rapidweaver CMS’s

(Joe Workman) #9

It already supports CSV import. I also plan on adding RSS import before launch. I have WP import on my list to implement eventually. However, the RSS import will be pretty universal.

(Joe Workman) #10

I am going to get a lot of flack for this but here goes…


I don’t really see cost being a solution, especially at the prices the CMS solutions here cost. Total CMS is the most expensive option here at $99/domain. If you are building websites at a business, factoring that cost into the cost of the website should make virtually no difference.

Please don’t take offense to this… I don’t know everyone’s situation or economic situation. Let me put my business hat on (I’ve been running businesses for 20 years). If $100 makes or breaks a deal for building a website, then maybe you need to rethink your business model. I am willing to bet that you are not charging enough for the work that you do.

I don’t say this because I want you to buy more Total CMS licenses. The above statements are true for any of the mentioned CMS solutions. The cost of all of these products is so low that price should not even be in the decision matrix. The benefits that a CMS give you far outweigh the cost. Your customers can input the initial content for the site (this saves you a ton of time and headache). The website can now be managed completely on its own. Clients no longer rely on your for simple content edits.

I say all of this to push you to improve your business. My RW add-on business has obviously been my most successful business. At first, I thought that it was great that I could make money doing something that I enjoyed. However, 3-4 years ago, things shifted. I started getting more and more emails from users thanking me for making my products. These users said that without my products, they would not be able to run full time web design businesses that support their families. I am very passionate about entrepreneurship. I take great honor in enabling others to support themselves and their families.

If you have attended Weaver’s Space Conference, there have been some great sessions on running a freelancing business. I encourage you to attend next month as the overarching theme of this entire conference it about how to run a successful web design business.

Getting back on track… The real measure of which CMS to use should be its features. Each CMS has its own unique spin on things. I strongly recommend that you learn the strengths of each so that you pick the right tool that match the requirements of the project.


Total CMS can have as many blogs as you want. I am pretty sure that it was the first to do so. If you think outside of the box, you can even use it for other things than a blog…

(SF) #11

Long term, I want to move a rather large WP blog that’s currently incorporated using Nilrog’s now discontinued plugin, so I’ll happily do that migration for that site once WP importing is available.

(SF) #12

I don’t think anything you said @joeworkman is unfair. Cost sensitivity really only factors in when you’re doing something as a hobby.

Most of my work is for non-profits or hobbyists at this point. I got out of full time web work and only take projects I like. Having said that, $100 is really nothing for what is an amazing product. The humane society I implemented on it was happy to pay it, but I decided to write it off as an expense and let them keep that money. I’m not taking money away from a no kill shelter. And the ease of use and power has probably saved me a few hundred volunteer hours helping them out over the long term. Of course when I bought that one, the US and Canadian dollars were closer. It’s quite a bite more expensive at the moment, but still a great value, it’s likely the route I’ll take.

The reason I posed the question is I just love learning about new software and plugins (which is why I own both Foundry and Foundation for example), and I really wanted to know more about the CMS options out there, and whether I might try one on one of the now 3 upcoming projects I have in the works.

Nice Cates does some great work, so I was really curious to hear from someone who had experience with it. The subscription model of Pulse makes it less practical for me, but I still wanted to get more information than I could glean from the website.

(SF) #13

Oh yeah, I used the blog on the humane society site to manage the pets being shown on the website. Great way to show new pets in galleries while also giving them specific dynamic pages with more info. It’s bloody awesome!

(Doug Bennett) #14

You have been running a business for 20 years, but not building websites for hire. It’s a very competitive field in most markets. Folks that are developing sites for hire using Rapidweaver primary market is going to be the small business. Most of the competitors are using open source (free) products (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.). Not to mention the “do it yourself” small business owners, friends or relatives using products like Weebly, GoDaddy Website Builder or Wix. Unfortunately, most of a developers competition aren’t charging enough, and you can only charge what the market will tolerate.

It’s NOT the $100 it’s the Pricing model

So a $100 per domain may not seem like much, but suppose other add-ons start to follow this pricing model? Suppose Stacks and all the stacks addons charged this way? Shouldn’t the Theme developer get a few bucks every time you publish using one of their themes?

You’ve repeatedly said that “you build the tools.” I can’t imagine a world where a mechanic had to pay the tool company with every use of each tool in their toolbox. If they passed that expense on to the consumer, no one could afford to get an automobile repaired.

It’s probably not that $100 will break a deal with creating a site, it’s the fact that $100 should be in the developer’s profit.

(Joe Workman) #15


Sorry if I hijacked your thread. Hopefully we can get some people to chat about the features that they love about each CMS product.

Yes. I have never been a freelancer web designer. However, I was an consultant for 8 years doing IT work. I charged premium hourly rates.

Yes they are. But they are also paying for add-ons and themes. So no difference here.

Yes. I was not trying to address this demographic at this time. However, as for “hobby” work (mentioned earlier), I do not see $100 as outrageous. I spend a lot more sometimes on my hobbies. Not to say that everyone else can afford to do so.

I am not going to get into what-ifs here. This is not the case right now. However, in most other eco-systems all add-ons are either per-domain or on a subscription basis. Models such as this make for a sustainable software business. If a business cannot sustain itself, then it will cease to exist and so will its software.

They may not pay for the tools but they sure have to pay for the parts that are put inside of the car. Those parts are required for the car to run. :red_car:

(Joe Workman) #16

I do want to encourage everyone to talk about what feature you like about each CMS. It was the original intent of this thread. I am sorry for having derailed that. :blush:

(Doug Bennett) #17

Not per domain and many are free. WordPress.org has thousands of free open source Themes and Plugins. The most popular Paid Elegant (Divi) $199.00 right now for Lifetime unlimited domains.

If that’s true then why aren’t the other RapidWeaver developers going with one of those models? The answer is if they did RapidWeaver would cease to exist.

So totlalCMS is NOT a tool but a part?

(Joe Workman) #18

The RapidWeaver community has been extremely hard on anything that remotely looks like a subscription. So that is one reason. The other reason is that most developers do not do this full time. Many have day jobs…

Its an interesting analogy for sure. I think that it could very easily be considered a part. It’s a living piece of the website that continues to provide value by maintaining the website over time.

(Doug Bennett) #19

Armadillo can do multiple blogs as well.

(SF) #20

I think pricing models are entirely another thread. But as someone who used to make his living on small business website development, the fact is (with CMS options) you are paying for a part of a website, or rather a hole in your own knowledge.

If you want to offer full website solutions there’s a couple of ways to do it. Yourself, (which requires lengthy investment of time, energy, learning), or essentially subcontract out part of that work. Stacks are currently, (and honestly, I can’t see the market responding well to a change in that), tools. CMS products like Pulse, GOCMS, TotalCMS are subcontracts. And, I’ll admit quite quick, terrible for the those developers. They’re bad contracts. But single pricing for a tool, like Armadillo isn’t sustainable. Look at Nimblehost.

So I’m ok with that cost. I wish TotalCMS and GOCMS had existed when I was in my height of web development as my job. Instead I had Nilrog’s plugin and the first Armadillo. They were amazing. And Nilrog’s is no longer developed, (it cost like $20). And I don’t think Armadillo has a very long future.