One of the first and most difficult question while you are planning to build your own hosted website is “which CMS to use for my blog/website”. Googling for the best CMS doesn’t help either as all people have their own expertise and comfort level with their recommendation. I too have my bias towards the CMS I chose but since I had no particular experience with any of the CMS I have tried and I’m building it from ground up, it’s applicable to all newbies (I’m primarily a .Net developer so I haven’t worked with other php based CMS and mainly looking for a .Net CMS, people preferring php should use some other reliable resource).
I have tried Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, Kentico, Blog.Net and blogger of course (had tried several others but don’t remember their names). I’ve given them a try multiple times but for one reason or another always comes back to the following two.
Wordpress is one of the best CMS out there, mainly a blogging platform but can easily (and I mean really easy) be extended for website purpose. There are so many themes and modules out there that it simply doesn’t make sense to choose any other if you don’t want to customize via code (which is not a problem if you are a php developer). I prefer .Net so I chose Orchard over wordpress but on every other aspect it’s simply perfect, fast and extensible. You can customize it the way you want and most of it is available from admin interface.
Orchard is ASP.Net/MVC based CMS from Microsoft. It is being actively developed by a very talented team and I’ve seen a lots of improvement over the time in Orchard. Installation is simple. Developing a theme is also easy and you can easily build modules for Orchard (I ‘m still learning it but it’s really good).
If you are looking for a easily setup and extensible CMS for your website, choose one of these two without blinking. They are worth their cost which is free . I love freebies.
For simple blogging purpose blogger.com is also a very good choice. You don’t need to host buy a hosting space for your blog and it allows you to use custom domains (which is a disadvantage for wordpress free hosted blogs).
One CMS I would dis-recommend is DotNetNuke. It’s cumbersome, slow and not very user friendly (my personal opinion ofcourse). It’s highly commercialized and developed in VB.Net and you’ll find a lots of paid modules for DNN as well but since I like freebie I dint find it good. Also it was too slow for my taste when I last tested it (I’ve been using it on shared hosting so that could be a reason for slowness but I can’t afford costly servers not now) so it’s a no-no for me.
If you are using Orchard I’d highly recommend TheThemeMachineResponsive theme. It’s a simple responsive theme from the Orchard developers. I’m using it on my beta portal http://backup.sandeeprawat.com which will soon replace my primary domain http://www.sandeeprawat.com
[Update] Forgot to mention another CMS which is very good, light-weight and .Net based. N2 CMS is also very nice to work with. Had worked with it and is very easy and powerful.
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