November 26, 2014

The 7 Best WordPress Alternatives

wordpress alternatives3

Once upon a time, blogging platforms like WordPress were only used for blogging. Now, WordPress is commonly implemented for easy, user-friendly website design. But these days, WordPress isn’t the only game out there.

Below are the best established and up-and-coming WordPress alternatives, both for blogging and websites.

WordPress Alternatives

1. IM Creator

IM Creator bills itself as “a simple & elegant website builder,” and includes mobile-friendly templates that are a far cry from the early days of WordPress templates, which were flat, clunky and difficult to customize. Templates fall into categories like Architect, Wedding, Hotel and Restaurant and use visual imagery that fit each genre.

wordpress alternatives

The site offers ample support, including “how to” articles and manuals for those wanting a bit more technical detail but who, perhaps, don’t have that level of knowledge.

And while designing a site is free, IM Creator also offers white-label services for companies (marketing agencies, as an example) that want to provide their clients with branded website, hosting, email and domain services.

2. SilverStripe

SilverStripe is actually two animals. Its content management system (CMS) is used for building websites, intranets and Web applications. It is open source, which means, of course, it’s free to use.

wordpress alternatives

For most small business owners, that’s all you’ll need from SilverStripe. But if you’re more technical and looking for more complexity in your content management system, its Framework platform might fit the bill. The benefits of using Framework, according to the website are that it “reduces the overhead associated with common programming tasks, and enables developers to write code in a logical and structured manner.”

3. Tumblr

Tumblr is designed for blogging and social sharing. Stripping away all the scary backend of a blog platform, Tumblr makes it dead simple to share a blog post, video, photo, link or audio file.

wordpress alternatives

Its simplicity, combined with the fact that users spend on average 154 minutes a day on Tumblr, make it a resource worth considering to reach a wider audience (especially if that audience is between 18 and 34 and male).

4. Google Sites

For those die-hard Google fans, Google Sites offers a simple, no-frills solution to website creation. If you’re looking for fancy marketing copy and rich, visual images, you’re in the wrong place. Google assumes if you’ve stumbled upon its unpublicized Sites page, you’re already accustomed to the spartan attitude that is Google.

wordpress alternatives

The templates aren’t frou-frou, but there are interesting add-ons like maps and blogs (using Google properties, naturally).

5. Blogger

Another Google property, this one focused on blog development, is Blogger. Consider it Google’s response to the massive popularity of WordPress. An obvious benefit of staying in the Google family is that Blogger uses Google Analytics without having to visit a separate site entirely.

wordpress alternatives

Blogger, whose hosted blogs are all hosted on Blogspot domains, also ties in seamlessly with Google+, as would be expected. Bloggers can view and respond to blog comments through Google+ rather than having to log into the blog backend. AdSense publishers like Blogger because Google’s ad platform is integrated into the blogging platform.

6. GetHiFi

Unlike the other WordPress alternatives listed here, HiFi is more targeted to the small marketing agency who designs or updates websites for its clients. It still requires a designer and/or a programmer to customize its visually rich templates, but after that, anyone, technical or otherwise, can easily update content through the CMS.

wordpress alternatives

HiFi promises that, even if you don’t know what SEO (search engine optimization) stands for, it can help ensure your site is search engine friendly. If you do know what SEO is, you can edit the meta descriptions yourself, which is easy enough to do.

7. Ghost

Consider Ghost the antithesis to WordPress in that it removes the clunkiness (“What do I do with this plugin? No idea.”) that many less technical bloggers experience with WordPress and focuses instead on writing and publishing.

wordpress alternatives

The premise is that bloggers can write in Markdown, a text-to-HTML conversion tool, and see a preview of what the post will look like.

Interestingly, the platform is free, but Ghost charges for its server. In fact, Ghost charges based on the number of blogs, as well as the total traffic of all blogs (one blog with 10,000 or fewer views a month is $5 monthly).

* * * * *

Bottom line:  With more blogging and WordPress alternatives available, it’s easier for small businesses to find exactly what they’re looking for, based on their technical skill level, how much support they need, budget and type of site they want to publish.  There are alternatives for those who want more of a blog approach (Blogger) to those who want more of a website presentation (IM Creator).

Pondering Photo via Shutterstock

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Susan Payton - Awards Communication Mgr.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

46 Reactions

  1. I would expand this list to 8 and include SquareSpace.

    • Steven Boehle: I agree with you. Squarespace should definitively be included in a list of WordPress alternatives. (Click on my name, if you want to see an example of a Squarespace site. It is my site on podcasting, EGO NetCast.)

      Susan: I haven’t heard about IM Creator, SilverStripe and GetHifFi.

      I like Ghost’s approach to get rid off the clunkiness! The best things with WordPress are all the possibilities with plug-ins, the worst thing with WordPress is the risk of not compatible plug-ins that crashes or risk for attacks in different forms.

      I am using Blogger and Tumblr. These tools have been around for a long time and will always be the safe bet if you want to start out in an easy way.

  2. Thank you, Susan. I had thought for a long time that pretty much there was WordPress and Blogger. Maybe once in a while I would hear something about Tumblr, but I had no idea that these other alternatives were available. I really like the designs in Silver Strip. Very clean and classy. Thank you for researching these and sharing your findings.

  3. Surprisingly I haven’t heard of 4 of these. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Blogger and Tumblr are very popular. I’m therefore aware of those. I used to have a Blogger blog, but moved to WordPress after a time.

    I haven’t heard of the others, so thanks. I might check out SilverStripe and IM Creator.

  5. Out of these, I have only used Blogger and Tumblr. But in my opinion, they are nothing compared to WordPress. WordPress is still easier and more flexible to use.

  6. If these are the best alternatives to WordPress, it’s no wonder why WordPress has eaten almost 25% of the market share of all sites on the web.

  7. I’m really looking for an alternative to WordPress because every time I hit a snag or have a problem, I have to go to that WordPress Forum where all the moderators are super, super nasty. I don’t like being abused for asking a question. It’s gotten to be too much. They are obviously sadistic and enjoy abusing people.

    What is the support like on the alternatives mentioned in this article? I have found, with everything from choosing a doctors office to Cable TV, it is the customer service, or people who are the first contact with customers/patients etc., that make up about 50% of whether you will be happy with a product or service.

    • Any evidence for this subjective claim?

      WordPress is 100% free – the forum answers are provided by other unpaid bloggers, developers, and WordPress forum moderators that do it for the love of the software and community. There is no “customer service” for WordPress. If you’re asking or answering a question, you’re taking part in a community that owes you nothing.

      Here’s my profile: http://wordpress.org/support/profile/thebrakelights

      Am I mean or nasty to people? No. In fact I’ve offered free, great advice to beginners because I want them to be successful, to spread WordPress, and pay it forward as they get better.

      The main difference between WordPress and its for-profit competitors is that WP is built under a different philosophy that values community over profit. Don’t forget: it’s free. If you’re taking comments in free forum support that you don’t like personally, that’s your problem.

      • “If you’re taking comments in free forum support that you don’t like personally, that’s your problem.”

        You might have just proved her point.

      • Totally agree — I’ve also found the WordPress forums to be full of snotty people.

    • Wow, this dialogue is off to a fun start! Honestly, I don’t know what the support is like with these alternatives. I imagine if you have to pay for any of them, they might offer a bit more support. Can’t say for sure. But I certainly understand your frustration; no one wants to look for help and find it difficult!

    • “I’m really looking for an alternative to WordPress because every time I hit a snag or have a problem, I have to go to that WordPress Forum where all the moderators are super, super nasty. I don’t like being abused for asking a question. It’s gotten to be too much. They are obviously sadistic and enjoy abusing people.”

      Susan, How absolutly true. recently WordPress provided a live link so that you could chat to them about issues and I told them exactly what you said. One moderator in particular is particularly vile and none of them know anything and give you links to long complicated methods of solving issues which my brilliant PC engineer said usually are just cut and pastes which have nothing to do with the question you asked. In my experience the only support you get for WordPress or Videopress on the forum is from other users…..if you are lucky! Unfortunatly I cannot name the most awful of the mods but I did report her to the WordPress chat who replied that she was a volunteer so I suppose that makes her behaviour ok. I am leaving wordpress because once you run out of space you can only rent but not buy more ram and the costs rise and rise obviously especially when you take into account paying for Videopress as well.

  8. Thanks for this post. Since you mentioned that WP is not only used as a platform for blogging but also for regular websites you may want to check out the following website builders: Weebly, Jimdo and as already mentioned Squarespace. Especially the first two are very easy to use and you don’t need to host the website yourself which is particularly convenient for beginners. Keeping a WordPress site secure is quite a job that involves a lot of manual updates. With hosted site builders you can save yourself this trouble.

  9. I started blogging with a blogging platform that’s not around anymore-as a platform.

    The 2nd one I used was Typepad. it served my purposes, and I still have a couple of websites up with the platform.

    WordPress-self-hosted, is the way to go, now.

    I don’t see using anything else at this point. i love it!

    The Franchise King®

  10. I agree with Robert above. there are a wide range of website builders which are good at different things. Personally i prefer ans SaaS approach. There is a Scoop.it curation on the subject for anyone interested in more depth:
    http://www.scoop.it/t/website-builders

  11. I hadn’t heard much about IM Creator before, but it has some stunning templates. Also, it has some of the easiest to follow instructions I’ve ever seen.

    – Anita

  12. Among blog publishing platforms, I’ve used WordPress, TypePad and Blogger most extensively. I think a better way to look at these platforms (and probably the rest on this list) is not whether they are better or worse, but to what degree they suit your purpose. For example, if your goal is to maintain control of your web properties and have maximum flexibility, WordPress is a great platform. On the other hand, if you need to get up and running fast and don’t want to worry about the technical side, Blogger is a good alternative. One key benefit is Blogger’s mobile and browser versions, which you have from day one without ever having to worry about plug-ins or any development. I’m sure even the platforms I’m less familiar with here have similar positives and negatives, so it really comes down to your goals.

  13. Hey Susan,
    I thought this was a really nice post. Earlier this year, I did a series of posts on WordPress alternatives, but with the exception of Ghost, I didn’t cover many of these. Anyway, I thought this would be a valuable article for my readers, so I included it on my roundup of January’s best security, web design/development, and CMS content. http://www.wiredtree.com/blog/januarys-best-web-designdevelopment-cms-security-content/ Thanks again.

  14. IM Creator is awesome and easy, I created http://www.oceanventures.eu within 20 minutes and without any special knowledge.

  15. There’s a few in here I wasn’t aware of, so thank you for that. I’ve been using WP for so long I almost forgot that there’s anything else. This is a great resource for people building sites but are sick of WordPress…

    However, just because something is open source doesn’t mean it’s free. What’s meant by “open source” is that the source code is freely available, and has nothing to do with price.

    For example, premium theme providers charge for use of their themes, but they are all open source – they have to be for use on WordPress – and even WordPress.com charges (I think) $99 a year for their premium service. Just because someone pays to use Premium WordPress doesn’t mean the “open source” went away.

    See here for more info on Open Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source and here to learn about the concept (the license that dictates how open source code can be used) https://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html.

  16. I think you did not mention if these alternative also accept free hosting like wordpress. I know blogger accepts free hosting but their authority to get into online business is very low.

  17. does anyone uses google sites? I think it is pretty useless. There are other free services that have more flexibility and look better… I think

    • Never heard of Google Sites, David, so the answer’s no. Thanks for the feedback though. It’s not something I think I’d use anyway as I’ve had quite enough of Google’s products.

  18. if ghost can pick up the amount of plugin and theme developers to compete with wordpress, then wordpress will either have to shave the hedges a bit, or ghost could take over.

    sites from both look and act identical, but if you guys say ghost is like wordpress without the clunk, then you know for sure the pros will ditch the clunkers!

    spent a little bit on themeforest checking out ghost themes, but there’s not much, and the ones there aren’t that good for anything more than a basic “i ate waffles today” run of the mill blog.

  19. Thanks Susan

    My opinion on alternatives for WordPress is when WordPress is down or it’s not working properly, will try these best alternatives, but at this stage I’m only choosing WordPress because, open source software, easy to install, great themes, plugins, SEO, simple CMS, expandable and adaptable So, I go with WordPress not any of these alternatives.

    BTW thanks for sharing list of WordPress alternatives who know, when it will helpful? ;)

  20. If you are selling online, try Weebly and Shopify as WordPress alternatives. The Weebly customer service is really nice!

  21. Ghost is the one I really to check out. Has been generating quite a buzz lately. It has great design too. But a lot these alternatives lack the community and plugin support that makes WordPress what it is.

  22. I’ve been involved literally in the Joomla! community for years in both a free and paid capacity, so it’s near and dear to my heart with great blogging extensions like EasyBlog on top of it. Silverstripe is an amazing project – if you grasp the concept of a CMS on top of a framework (or building on top of the framework itself)

    All that aside I have to admit my latest venture is built on wordpress and while their is a lot to dislike it does also have a lot going for it too.

  23. I will have to review some of these platforms as I have never heard of some of them. With WorPress being so popular, it is going to be tough for some of these alternatives. WordPress still is a challenge for a small mom and pop business that isn’t technical.

  24. i know what it feels like wordpress, it sucks. plugins plugins and then more plugins, you can remove this or that feature without plugin. i am looking forward ghost but my hosting provider don’t provide that node.js thing, so need to switch back to blogger for one and tumblr for another.

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