Adobe Business Catalyst has provided its users with a one-stop shop for all things a website could need for almost ten years now. Unfortunately, Adobe has announced that its Business Catalyst platform will be ending its life in March 2021, along with any further support for the Adobe Muse website creator and all their associated plugins.
New Business Catalyst sites haven’t been available since June 2018, and Adobe has announced that it will no longer be retaining its site data after Business Catalyst ends its life. If your website hasn’t migrated to another platform by then, you’ll lose all your data when Adobe ceases its hosting.
If you’ve suddenly found yourself left high and dry by Adobe, you’re not alone – over 77,000 Business Catalyst users are now in the mad scramble to preserve their sites. Worry not: we’re here to help. Below are our reviews for six of the most popular alternative CMS platforms.
GoDaddy is one of the most established internet companies of the current day. You’ve probably seen their ads around – on TV, the radio, YouTube, or even on billboards. Their main game is domain registration and web hosting, but it’s also possible to build a website through them directly.
Since their main focus isn’t actually on building websites, their website builder isn’t the best. Their layout elements are limited, there’s no form of password-protected pages available, and their blogging components are very basic (you can’t add an author, tags, or videos). To make matters worse, they don’t have any form of support for plugins, so there’s no ability to add in extra features.
The 411: It’s great if you’re planning on building a super basic website, but not a solution for people that are looking for a business or more professional website (and you won’t find many big name websites with the GoDaddy platform as a result)
SquareSpace is known for its blogging capabilities. It allows multi-author functionality, scheduled posts, support for AMP (accelerated mobile pages), and even allows you to host your own podcasts, complete with RSS feed and iTunes syndication. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for other types of sites (UberEats, Idris Elba’s website 2HR SET, and Keanu Reeves’ website Arch Motorcycle use SquareSpace), but you may not get the best results from it.
SquareSpace sites come with an unfortunate SEO issue: their templates often cause the site to run slower than Google would prefer, which can lead to poor user experience and can possibly be detrimental to your Google ranking. It also lacks the ability to create complex menu structures, so it’s not a great option for larger websites and it’s a terrible option for multi-language sites. Backing up your site can be a pain with SquareSpace since it doesn’t really allow for options other than exporting your blog data and product.
The 411: If you’re looking to migrate a blog-centric, small site, SquareSpace could be an option worth considering. If your site is large or needs a wide range of functions, consider another CMS.
Drupal is one of the ‘big three’ CMS hosting platforms (the other two are Joomla and WordPress – we’ll get to them later) and the oldest of the collective. It’s a good all-rounder CMS used for some very famous e-commerce sites – eBay, Lush Cosmetics, Oxfam, Tesla, and even the Government of Australia website.
Drupal is known for being developer-friendly. It was originally developed with the idea that only professionals would be using it, and was created accordingly. As a result, you’re likely to have some issues with it if you’re not a developer. It requires quite a bit of technical expertise to install and run, but the good news is that because it’s one of the bigger platforms, there are plenty of tutorials available to help you battle past any problems you may encounter (though having a good developer on standby to answer your questions isn’t a bad idea).
The 411: It’s capable of producing highly advanced sites, boasts an impressive selection of modules and offers a great security system. Since it’s an open-source CMS, the right web developer will be able to help shape it to your exact needs. If you’re looking to migrate a site and you have some professional help, Drupal could be an option for you.
Joomla is another member of the big three CMS platforms, and it powers the official websites for Lipton Ice Tea, Linux, The United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), IKEA, and Michael Phelps. It represents the middle of the spectrum in terms of features: It’s not as developer friendly as Drupal, and it’s not as easy-to-use or as good looking as WordPress. It’s a little bit complex (and you could probably do with some help from a developer in using it), but not so overwhelming that you wouldn’t stand a chance in editing it yourself after the initial site is functional.
It’s a little more difficult to find modules for Joomla compared to platforms like WordPress and Drupal – they’re out there, but they can be difficult to track down and maintain. However, as a large open-source program, Joomla also has a reasonably large backing in the open-source coding community, which means that you can probably find plenty of help and suggestions online.
Being the second most popular CMS on the planet, it also has a great assortment of security features and extensions to help protect your site, including restricted-access pages and spam bot blockers.
The 411: Joomla is a great all-rounder CMS, but it’s lacking in the ability to become specific where needed. Consider using it for a basic or portfolio site which doesn’t need a broad range of functionality, and seriously consider enlisting some external help to set everything up.
You’ve probably seen the ads for Wix on TV and YouTube: they feature stars like Jason Statham, Karlie Kloss (who uses the platform to host her own website), and Gal Gadot promoting Wix’s ease of use and affordable hosting plans. Wix offers an uncomplicated drag-and-drop website design and a huge library (we’re talking hundreds) of free templates to use. Wix also offers an app market which can be used to add extra functions (like e-commerce, photo galleries, and newsletter creation) for a small cost.
It provides most of the standard basic SEO components: personalised URLs (though Wix adds a short string to blog posts), alt text editing, Google Search Console compatibility, and meta tags (but no SEO Wizard compatibility, so it’s a little more difficult to get your website’s exact SEO stats). Wix even offers Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) to create a website for you: you answer a few questions and Wix will generate a template site to suit your needs.
The flaws? Wix shows ads on your website unless you upgrade to a premium plan. Their premium plans aren’t that expensive (starting at about AUD$15/month) and include domain registration, but not unlimited plans for bandwidth or storage, so you’ll struggle if your site becomes large or busy. You also aren’t able to switch site templates, so you need to be dead set on the layout of your site before you commit. Wix is also not an open-source platform, so it can’t be edited by a web developer to give you a truly unique site.
The 411: Wix is a great CMS platform if you don’t mind working from a set template with little to no changeability, or if you’re working without a web developer and need something easy to use. If you find a template that really suits you and your business, great! But if you need a site with a unique look, go for another CMS.
It’s already powering over a third of all websites on the internet, it’s easy to use, and you can easily change its dynamic functionality through the thousands of plugins available. It’s easy for website owners to use (so you can update your own content without relying on a web developer), it has an amazing in-built blogging system, and its speedy load times mean WordPress websites come partially pre-optimised for Google’s SEO. It’s also an open-source platform, so the right web developer can make almost anything happen.
WordPress is great at handling large sites with complicated selection menus, so it can be used to host sites with loads of content and can even effectively power sites with multiple language options. The base site is easy to use and produces sleek, elegant designs, and it can be easily made into whatever kind of site you need with the help of a web developer and a few plugins.
The downside? It doesn’t host its own domains. You’ll need to purchase a domain name and web hosting from a third-party source, which can be a pain. However, considering its other features, we feel that the trade-off is worth it. It’s also been known to have some security issues in the past, but most security concerns can be rectified by adding – you guessed it! – more plugins.
The 411: WordPress’ endless array of features and seemingly infinite customisability is what makes it the go-to CMS for loads of web developers and designers, including us! Unlike other platforms, WordPress gives us the endless flexibility that our clients need when they’re building their unique sites, along with the added customisability of being open-source and compatible with tons of third-party resources and (free and premium) plugins. We recommend using WordPress for all manner of sites, regardless of type and size.
What to do
As with all major events in your marketing, it’s best to not leave your content migration until the last minute (especially since you risk losing all your data if it’s not migrated in time). We all know how easy it can be to get side-tracked and prioritise tasks with closer deadlines, only to be swamped at the last minute. Migrating your site before the deadline gives you plenty of time to get everything running smoothly, so you can be completely prepared for the Business Catalyst end-of-life.
The very real threat of losing all your hard work can make the task feel daunting, but we’re here to help. We can create a plan to successfully migrate all your content and resources over to a freshly designed WordPress site and help make the shift as hassle-free as possible. We can even help to preserve your existing SEO from your Business Catalyst site, so you don’t need to worry about starting over from scratch.
Need some help with your website migration (or digital marketing in general)? Contact us today on 07 3482 4262 to see how we can work with you and your team to boost your business through great marketing.