Home > Articles > CMS Website Design | Explore the Superior Design Capabilities

CMS Website Design | Explore the Superior Design Capabilities

February 16, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Key takeaways

Among the top CMSs with superior design capabilities:

  • Drupal for its scalability.
  • WordPress for its user-friendliness.
  • Joomla for its balance of features.
  • Magento for e-commerce functionality.
  • Shopify for its all-in-one e-commerce solutions.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of CMS website design, highlighting its transformative impact on modern web development.

Definition of CMS Website Design

A Content Management System (CMS) is known as a web application that enables creators to manage website content without coding. It includes a content database and a user-friendly interface for website administrators. This interface allows for adding, deleting, and editing content easily.

A content management system (CMS) website design
A content management system (CMS) website design

Most CMS platforms feature intuitive content editors, facilitating the creation of page layouts and the placement of content through drag-and-drop functionality. Additionally, many CMS solutions provide analytical tools for tracking website traffic and visitor behavior, aiding in content optimization and identifying areas for enhancement.

Impact of CMS on Website Design Choices and Flexibility

The flexibility and efficiency of CMS website design are significantly influenced by several key factors. Let’s delve into these impacts.

Predesigned Templates

A treasure trove of pre-designed templates to choose from
A treasure trove of pre-designed templates to choose from

CMS platforms typically offer an array of pre-designed templates, streamlining the customization of your website’s appearance and functionality. Selecting a responsive template guarantees optimal display across various devices, bypassing the need for extensive coding. Templates not only expedite the initial design process but also simplify future redesigns.

Efficient Content Update and Modification

The CMS website design excels in providing efficiency in updating and modifying content. A CMS enables quick and straightforward content adjustments. Rather than altering each page manually, content updates made in a central location are automatically reflected site-wide. This streamlined process ensures time-saving for website administrators and maintains content accuracy.

Collaborative Editing and Version Control

Collaborative editing in the Drupal node
Collaborative editing in the Drupal node

CMS website design facilitates collaborative editing and version control, enhancing team productivity. Multiple users can simultaneously edit content, allowing for efficient team collaboration without manual coordination. Additionally, version control preserves previous content versions, providing an option to revert changes if necessary. 

Easy Addition of New Features and Functionalities

Integrate social media with WordPress
Integrate social media with WordPress

CMS website design empowers site owners to enhance the user experience without deep coding knowledge. Through plugins or modules, functionalities like contact forms, social media integration, or e-commerce capabilities can be seamlessly integrated. This adaptability enables businesses to continuously evolve their websites.

Main types of CMS Website Design

CMS website design encompasses various types, each catering to different needs and preferences. Let’s explore the three main types.

Open-Source CMS

Open-source CMS software is freely available for download and use, eliminating the need for licenses or fees. While most open-source CMS solutions are ready to use, they offer extensive customization options to meet specific business needs. 

However, before using the open-source CMS, all merchants should consider the potential financial investments of this type of CMS, including:

  • Technical support during setup and installation.
  • Compatible add-ons, plugins, and templates.
  • Regular software upgrades and support.
  • Customizations beyond standard offerings.
WordPress - a prime example of an open-source CMS, 
WordPress – a prime example of an open-source CMS, 

This type of CMS allows installation and management on a web server, with a plethora of customization possibilities, from e-commerce plugins to SEO tools and design theme alterations.

Proprietary CMS

Proprietary (commercial) CMS software, developed and maintained by a single company, typically involves certain financial commitments. Unlike open-source CMS, using a proprietary CMS usually requires:

  • Purchasing a license to use the software.
  • Ongoing costs for updates, support, and potentially for customization and training.
  • Additional charges for integrating the CMS with existing systems or websites, which might necessitate extensive development.
Kentico CMS - one of the proprietary CMS software
Kentico CMS – one of the proprietary CMS software

While these systems often offer built-in functionalities for customization, they may come with extra costs. It’s advisable to select a CMS that fulfills most requirements ‘out of the box’ to minimize additional development and costs.

Software as a Service CMS (SaaS CMS)

SaaS CMS, or Software as a Service Content Management System, is a cloud-based platform that allows users to create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for specialized technical knowledge.

It contains a series of services like web content management, hosting, and technical support. SaaS CMS solution is hosted in the cloud and based on a subscription model. The core services of SaaS CMS usually cover the following functions:

  • Data transfer bandwidth.
  • Storage for content and data.
  • Ongoing support.

Currently, there are two variants of cloud-based CMS used in the SaaS CMS service, including:

  • Fully Cloud CMS: Often offered as part of a service package, these are usually proprietary systems with limited customization options, as they’re controlled by the supplier.
  • Partial Cloud CMS: Hosted on your cloud server, offering more flexibility with options to modify functionality through add-ons or source code alterations.
Cloud-based CMS
Cloud-based CMS

SaaS CMS is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses for the following reasons:

  • Low initial costs, with basic setup fees covering the initial implementation.
  • The supplier handles upgrades, maintenance, and technical issues.
  • Accessible from any internet-connected device.
  • Real-time software and feature updates.
  • Scalable packages to accommodate growing needs.

Top 5 CMSs with superior design capabilities

When it comes to superior design capabilities in CMS platforms, certain names stand out for their robust features and flexibility. Here are the top five CMSs known for elevating website design.



Drupal is renowned for its high customization and scalability, serving as the backbone for the websites of major enterprises and educational institutions. It’s celebrated for its modular architecture and extensive theme library. Additionally, Drupal’s strong security features and ability to handle high-traffic websites make it a top choice for large organizations needing robust solutions.



WordPress powers over 40% of websites globally. Its user-friendly interface, massive theme selection, and plugins make it the go-to choice for small businesses and bloggers. Known for its ease of use and vast plugin ecosystem, WordPress web care service caters to users with varying levels of technical expertise and offers strong community support.



Joomla offers a middle ground between the user-friendliness of WordPress and the technical capabilities of Drupal. It stands out with its robust Access Control List (ACL) features and multilingual support, making it suitable for international websites. Joomla’s unique ability to use different templates for various pages adds an extra layer of design flexibility, distinguishing it from the CMS market.



Magento is specifically tailored for e-commerce, equipped with features to build a powerful online store. It excels in handling large product catalogs and high traffic, supported by advanced SEO tools and a customizable checkout process. Magento’s scalability and specialized functionalities make it a preferred choice for developing comprehensive e-commerce platforms.



Shopify emerges as a user-friendly, all-in-one e-commerce platform, ideal for non-technical users focusing on business growth rather than coding. Its intuitive interface simplifies website creation, even for beginners. Shopify’s built-in payment gateway and an array of SEO and marketing tools make it a comprehensive solution for anyone looking to start and efficiently manage an online store.


Yes, certain CMS platforms like Drupal and Magento are specifically designed to handle high-traffic and large-scale websites. They offer robust architecture, scalable solutions, and strong security features, making them suitable for large enterprises, e-commerce sites, and websites with extensive content and user engagement.

No, it is not necessary to have coding knowledge to use a CMS. Many CMS platforms, such as WordPress and Shopify, are designed with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive dashboards that enable users to manage and customize their websites without coding. However, some customization and functionality might require basic coding knowledge or assistance from a developer.

A CMS enhances website design flexibility by offering predesigned templates, efficient content updating mechanisms, collaborative editing capabilities, and easy integration of new features. This allows for rapid customization, efficient content management, and adaptability to changing business needs.

Open-source CMS is freely available for use and modification, offering extensive customization options but may require technical expertise for setup and customization. Proprietary CMS, on the other hand, is developed and managed by a single company, often requiring license fees, with more structured support and less customization flexibility.

WordPress is favored by small businesses and bloggers due to its user-friendly interface, a vast array of themes and plugins, and strong community support. It makes website creation and management accessible to users with limited technical expertise, making it ideal for small-scale operations.

Final words

CMS website design is pivotal in shaping the digital landscape. It offers unmatched flexibility, catering to various needs from basic blogs to complex e-commerce sites. Understanding these CMS platforms is crucial for anyone looking to excel in web design and development.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.