There are a lot of great blogging packages out there that do a fine job with blogs, but unless your an expert, blogging is about the extent of what many can do.
Content Management Systems (CMS) have been around since the early days of the web as a means in which to manage content on a website. Strictly speaking blogware such as WordPress or MovableType are CMS packages, however are more targeted in what they aim to achieve, ie: they are primarily set up for blogging, whereas general CMS packages do a lot more than just blogging.
Most CMS packages allow the integration of “modules” that allow the ability to easily place additional features on a web page, such as a poll, news (slashdot style), directory, member lists, forums and much, much more, without the need to know html, and offer some great management tools for running a general purpose website, or even a more specific purpose site that has a number of features.
Many CMS packages also offer blogging modules that allow for the creation of some pretty good blogs. If you are strictly looking at authoring a blog, you are still better off sticking to a dedicated blogging package, but if you’ve ever wanted to evolve to a more general site, which involved blogging, polls, forums and other interesting extras, then a CMS package may well be for you.
I’m a little spoilt because my host provides Fantastico, an addition to the cPanel web administration package that delivers the ability to install CMS and blogging packages without the need to upload script to the server, however even if you don’t have Fantastico access, most CMS packages are fairly simple to install. What follows is a few of the more popular ones that offer blogging modules.
Drupal is an open source CMS which is fairly commonly used for blogging. Indeed, on occasion you’ll actually see lists of blogware that list Drupal amongst them, but Drupal is much more than this. Drupal has a strong user base and community and a wide variety of features and modules. Drupal also came close to powering the Blog Herald at one stage and only lost out to WordPress because I couldn’t get my head around the templating system at the time, however I’ve read that things a easier to use now
Another open source CMS that seems to be gaining a lot of popularity in the corporate world and has an amazing array of modules. Strong community and lots of commercial implementation services available as well, chances are you’ve probably already visited a Mambo powered site and not realised it.
To quote their site: “an extensible, OO (Object Oriented), easy to use dynamic web content management system written in PHP. XOOPS is the ideal tool for developing small to large dynamic community websites, intra company portals, corporate portals, weblogs and much more. Read the All about XOOPS page for more details.” Perhaps not yet at the top of the popularity stakes but continuing to grow. I’m personally using Xoops at the moment for the development of a new project and I’ve got to say I’m entirely impressed by the power and the options once you get a feel for how to navigate it.
You’d think that with a name such as Geeklog that this CMS was a blogging package, and to many users it is (it even sells itself this way) but its generally regarded as a CMS, and smells and looks like a CMS as well. A reasonably sized user community with a strong focus on the blogging side.
Another CMS package that is supposedly open source but charges to download the latest version. Powerful package that is well supported, but navigating the options on their site is enough to turn most people away.
There are many, many more CMS packages that do blogging and far too many to list here. CMS Matrix provides perhaps the most extensive list with the ability to search for packages that meet your criteria in terms of features.
At the end of the day CMS packages aren’t for everyone, but if you’ve been yearning for something different, a way to leverage your traffic or provide extra features, the CMS packages listed here are a great starting point.
PS: if you’ve got some other recommendations, or are hosting a blog on a CMS package, be sure to add some thoughts and a link in the comments of this post as a reference point for other readers.