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Technical SEO Audits: Tips For Successful Implementation

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According to BrightEdge, 68 percent of all online experiences start with a search engine, and 53 percent of website traffic comes from organic search.

Yet, only 0.78 percent of these searchers click results on the second page of Google.

That means if you’re not showing up on the front page of the SERPs, you aren’t getting traffic.

It’s clear why SEO is a top priority for marketers. In fact, 61 percent say it’s their main focus when it comes to inbound marketing.

If you can get your client’s website to the top of user search, you’ll have a much easier time improving their ROI.

Of course, mastering SEO is no easy task.

There are so many things to consider, from on-page SEO to off-page SEO, copy, content, and even technical SEO.

A truly effective SEO strategy includes all of these strategies, plus regular optimization to ensure consistent returns.

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This post dives deep into technical SEO and how you can use it to increase organic traffic, show up in search, and improve your overall site experience.

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is an area of SEO that covers optimizations that improve search engine ranking by making your site easier for search engines to crawl. For example, improving site load time, checking robot.txt files, and making redirects work properly.

Essentially, it’s the process of ensuring your website can be seen, crawled, and ranked by search engines.

Search engines, such as Google, give preference to websites that meet their webmaster guidelines. The basic principles state your website content should be accurate, easy to access, and user-friendly.

If your website loads slowly, has an unresponsive design, or lacks a secure connection, your content will not meet these guidelines.

This is where technical SEO comes in, as it can help you improve the technical characteristics of your website to improve organic traffic.

Why Is Technical SEO Important?

Imagine you wrote the most amazing content in the world. It’s content that everyone should read.

People would pay buckets of money just to read it. Millions are eagerly waiting for the notification that you’ve posted this new, incredible content.

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Then, the day finally comes, and the notification goes out. Customers excitedly click the link to read your article.

Then, it takes over 10 seconds for your web page to load. Readers are annoyed and they don’t want to wait.

For every second that it takes for your web page to load, you’re losing readers and increasing your bounce rate.

technical seo for bounce rate

It doesn’t matter how great that piece of content is—your site isn’t functioning well, and you’re losing precious traffic.

That’s just one example of why technical SEO is so critical.

Without it, Google and other search engines are incapable of finding, crawling, and indexing your site.

If search engines can’t access your site, you can’t rank and you become one of the 90.63 percent of websites that get no organic search traffic from Google. Yikes.

Even if your site can be found, user experience issues, like page load times and confusing navigation, can still negatively impact SEO.

Other issues like mobile optimizations, duplicate content, and site security can cause search engines to rank your site lower.

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Elements of Technical SEO

While crawling and indexing are important factors in SEO, there are many more aspects to consider when performing a technical SEO audit. These include:

  • mobile optimization
  • page load speed
  • link health
  • duplicate content
  • schemas
  • crawl errors
  • image issues
  • site security
  • URL structure
  • 404 pages
  • 301 redirects
  • canonical tags
  • XML sitemaps
  • site architecture

At a minimum, a technically sound website should be secure, quick to load, easy to crawl, have clear and actionable navigation, and not contain any duplicate links or content.

It should also have systems in place to engage users even if they do hit a dead end, such as content created for 404 errors and 301 redirect pages.

Finally, a site should have structured data to help search engines understand the content. This can come in the form of schema graphs and XML sitemaps.

When conducting a technical SEO audit, be wary of over-optimizing your website. Too many improvements can work against your best intentions and actually damage your SEO rankings.

What Is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is the process of evaluating your website to see how well it is performing on search engines.

SEO audits are a great way to create actionable plans to outperform your competitors, identify opportunities within your website, find and fix exit points, and create better customer experiences.

You should perform technical SEO audits, on-page SEO audits, and off-page SEO audits regularly.

As you go through your audit, you’ll find places where you can improve or optimize your website performance to improve performance and keep site visitors happy.

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You may not be able to fix every error at once, but you can figure out what’s going wrong and make a plan to fix it.

What Are the Key Elements of a Technical SEO Audit?

There are three key factors to look at during an SEO audit:

  • back-end factors, such as hosting and indexing
  • front-end factors, such as content, keywords, and metadata
  • link quality and outside references

Sometimes, you won’t have the time to address each pain point. So, when deciding which audit insights are worth taking action on, use the 80/20 rule.

The most important part of your site’s SEO is the part that your incoming traffic actually sees.

That’s all washed away if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, though.

With the introduction of the mobile-first index, you need to make sure you understand how your site performs on mobile to ensure proper placement on SERPs.

What does the mobile-first index mean?

Due to 52.2 percent of global web traffic coming through mobile, Google has adjusted its algorithm to crawl the mobile version of websites.

technical seo - mobile first indexing example

It boils down to this—if your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, you are not just losing traffic; your site also looks bad to Google. That can result in lower rankings, and even less traffic.

How to Perform a Technical SEO Audit

SEO guidelines are constantly changing. Every time a major search engine significantly updates its algorithm, SEO has to adapt.

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The good news is the frequency of changes in technical SEO tends to be lower.

After all, it’s not like search engines or readers will suddenly decide they’re okay with slower speeds.

If anything, you will see the average acceptable speed continue to drop. Your site simply has to be faster if you want to keep up with SEO demands.

Your website has to be mobile-friendly. This is only going to become more important over time, too.

It has to work without errors, duplicate content, and poor images.

Search engines also have to be able to crawl it successfully.

These things are all crucial to your success on search engines and site visitors. If you want to prioritize your SEO efforts, make sure you tackle the technical aspects first.

1. Crawl Your Website

The most important part of the SEO audit is the crawl.

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Before you do anything else, start a crawl of your website. You can use Ubersuggest to make it a simple process. Here’s how you do it:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Site Audit” in the left sidebar.
technical seo ubersuggest sidebar
  • Step 3: Run the scan. Upon completion, you’ll see this:
technical seo - Ubersuggest audit page crawl

Crawling is useful for identifying problems such as duplicate content, low word count, unlinked pagination pages, and excess redirects. Ubersuggest will even rank issues in order of importance, so you can focus on what matters most.

technical seo audit with Ubersuggest

If you find anything here, click on it for more information and advice on how to fix it. For example, our website has 32 pages with a low word count.

technical seo audit links

You can then review these pages to determine if you need to add more content.

What does this all mean?

In short, it gives you a glimpse into how the Googlebot is crawling your site.

If you don’t use Ubersuggest for your technical SEO audit, you can also search your site manually. We’ll explain that below.

2. Perform a Manual Google Search

A few Google searches can tell you approximately how well your website is ranking. This will help you figure out where to start your technical SEO audit.

How many of your pages appear in relevant search results?

Does your site appear first when you search for it by name?

Overall, where does your site appear in the results?

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To figure out which pages are actually being crawled, you can use a “site:rootdomain” search to see what shows up.

Here’s what this looks like in action:

technical seo audit - root domain search

Missing pages don’t automatically mean that your site is un-crawlable, but it’s useful to understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

Your website doesn’t need to be at the very top of your searches, either. By using the site search, it will show you only pages on your own site.

3. Make Sure Only One Version of Your Site Is Browseable 

If your website has multiple “versions” of itself, you send search engines a mixed message about how to crawl your site.

Basically, the crawlers don’t know which one is the right one.

If search engines don’t even know how to show your site to prospective traffic, your site’s SEO ranking will be negatively impacted.

This could be a mobile and desktop version warring with each other, or a duplicate “https” version and a non-”https” version.

The impact of HTTP vs. HTTPS on a site’s SEO is debated in the SEO community. Some sites using AdSense saw a decrease in revenue after making the switch to HTTPS.

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For example, Crunchify’s revenue decreased 10 percent after switching to an HTTPS site.

However, it seems that websites without SSL protection are being deprecated on Google SEO moving forward.

Google is even taking steps to make it more known which sites have SSL protection and which do not. Chrome is marking pages as “Not secure” to make it clearer.

technical seo audit http

With this change from Google, it seems you will need to make sure that your website only uses “https.”

4. Conduct On-Page Technical SEO Checks

When evaluating your site and the results from your crawl, there are tons of things to check. Don’t get overwhelmed! Start by looking for duplicate pages, headers, and title tags.

If you’ve published a lot of content with similar themes, like me, some seemingly unrelated content will show up in your crawl.

That’s okay. You’re looking for duplicates of the same content.

You can use a tool like Copyscape to assess potential technical SEO problems arising from duplicate content.

technical seo audit plagiarism

From there, closely examine a few key criteria that Google evaluates in their rankings.

Page Titles and Title Tags

A title tag is an HTML code that tells search engines the title of a page. This information will be displayed on SERPs.

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It looks something like this:

technical seo audit serp

You’ll want to make sure these are relevant to the content on your page. The content should also answer the questions your users are asking as fast as possible.

The optimal length for title tags is between 56-60 characters. You can use a pixel width checker to make sure that your title isn’t truncated.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions don’t directly impact ranking; but they are still incredibly important because it’s the first thing a user sees in the SERPs.

Meta descriptions should be compelling, engaging, and give a taste of what the user will find on the page.

Google recently expanded the limit for descriptions from 160 to 320, which provides even more real estate to draw in a click.

Clear Hierarchy

You’ll want to make sure your content is organized, with a clear hierarchy on the page.

This makes it easy for Google to analyze your site and index it for search.

technical seo hierarchy

Essentially, you want to make sure the placement of pages makes sense—all your service pages should be under your “services” tab, for example. Make sure users don’t have to click through four levels of pages to find best-selling products. The goal is to make it easy for Google —and users—to find the information or products they are looking for.

Keyword Placement

Every page on your site should have a focus keyword included in the first 100 words.

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For example, in this post about social proof, it’s included twice in the first 100 words.

technical seo keywords

This helps Google understand what the post focuses on—but don’t stop there.

While keyword stuffing will penalize you, you should be strategic about keyword placement.

Include them, when possible:

  • title
  • alt tags
  • URL
  • subheadings (h2, h3, etc.)
  • meta description

Overall, on-page SEO checks are incredibly important, but they are only one part of your overarching technical SEO strategy. There are also other SEO checks to consider.

5. Manage Your Internal and External Links

Sites with logical hierarchies have improved SEO rankings. That’s why it’s important to check your internal and external links—to make sure visitors can navigate your site intuitively.

Pages might be deleted or moved, which can result in broken links and annoyed site visitors.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to do this manually.

Integrity and Xenu Sleuth can help you identify your broken links on your site. (Note: Integrity only works for Mac.)

While both tools are straightforward to use, I’ll use Integrity as an example.

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Once you download it, add your URL in the text bar at the top of the page and click “Go.”

technical seo audit integrity

Then the tool will begin testing all the links found on your site and provide you with the results.

technical seo audit backlinks

In the top-left corner, you see a snapshot of links and how many are bad.

Depending on the size of your site and how many links you have, you might consider viewing the results by link, page, status, or flat view to understand the results.

You’ll want to change any links marked in red with the “404 not found” label. These dead ends can negatively impact your technical SEO.

Google does score clicks from internal and external links differently, although both have their purpose in improving your SEO.

technical SEO audit links tweet

6. Check Your Site Speed

People are impatient. Google knows this.

Your customers don’t want to wait around. The longer your page takes to load, the higher the chance your customer will bounce.

You need to check your site speed, and Ubersuggest can help. Here’s how to get started:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Site Audit” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Scroll down to “Site Speed.”
Technical SEO - ubersuggest site speed

Ubersuggest displays loading time for both desktop and mobile devices. The results above show my site is in the “excellent” range for both.

In addition to loading time, it also tests:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Speed Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Est. Input Latency

Take action if your website scores less than excellent or good.

You might need to optimize your images, minify JavaScript, leverage browser caching, or more.

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Ubersuggest will outline just what you need to do to improve site speed.

7. Leverage Your Analytics and Compare Site Metrics

This step determines whether your analytics service (e.g., Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, etc.) is reporting live metric data.

If it is, your code is installed correctly.

If not, your code is not installed correctly and needs to be fixed.

If you’re using Google Analytics, you want the tracker code to be placed above the header of each web page.

Once you have an analytics service up and running, compare the metric data to the results of your earlier “site:rootdomain” search.

The number of pages showing in your metric data should be comparatively similar to the number of pages from the “site:rootdomain” search.

If not, certain pages aren’t properly accepting crawl requests.

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Check Your Bounce Rate

Google Analytics can be helpful when assessing your page’s bounce rate.

A high bounce rate means that people aren’t finding what they are looking for on your site. This means you might have to go back and make sure the content is optimized for your audience.

You can check your bounce rate by logging into your Google Analytics account and clicking on Audiences > Overview.

Compare Metrics With the MozBar

In addition, you can use Moz’s tool called The Mozbar to benchmark between pages.

The MozBar is a tool that provides various SEO details of any web page or search engine results page.

The toolbar adds an overlay to your browser and offers a number of features.

For example, MozBar can be used to highlight different types of links that you view.

technical seo mozbar tool

This is useful on its own, but it also lets you compare link metrics on or between pages.

It also comes with robust search tools to make your life easy.

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With it, you can create custom searches by location, down to the city.

Page Authority is also supported by the MozBar.

It ranks each specific page from 1 to 100 in terms of how well it will rank on search engine results pages.

When doing a technical SEO audit, tools like this help you quickly take the temperature of your site’s relationship with search engines.

The less guesswork you have to do, the better quality your SEO audit will be.

8. Check Your Off-Site SEO and Perform a Backlink Audit

Backlinks are critical for SEO success.

This way, Google and other search engines will know that your page is particularly relevant and that other users will find it useful.

Remember that hyperlinks are not the only thing crawlers look for in off-site SEO.

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Your site is also crawled for brand mentions. This is why it’s crucial to pay attention to what’s happening both on and off your site.

Perform Your Backlink Audit

Use a tool such as Ubersuggest to perform a backlink audit and assess the kind of backlinks pointing to your site. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Enter your URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Backlinks” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Review the report.
technical SEO backlinks ubersuggets
technical seo audit new and lost backlinks

Backlink audits are helpful because:

  • You can assess your current link profile and see how it is affecting your site.
  • You can identify areas where you can focus on getting more high-value links.
  • You can assess your competitors’ number of backlinks and work to outperform them.

Don’t just stop with your site’s backlink audit—you’ll also want to see what the competition is up to.

Analyze Competitor Keywords

Your competitors were busy upping their SEO capability while you were sleeping. Now, they rank higher for your most important search terms.

Ubersuggest can also help with this.

It allows you to see what keywords other sites are ranking for. It also shows what backlinks are going to those sites.

Basically, you want to explore your competitors’ backlinks and see how they compare to your own. Here’s how you do it:

  • Step 1: Enter your competitor’s URL and click “Search.”
  • Step 2: Click “Keywords” in the left sidebar.
  • Step 3: Review the results.
technical seo keywords list
ubersuggest technical SEO audit

This provides a clear overview of what your competitor’s site is ranking for. In addition to a list of keywords, you can review:

  • Volume: the average number of monthly searches for the keyword
  • Position: position the URL is ranked in Google search
  • Estimated Visits: estimated monthly traffic the webpage gets for the keyword
  • SD: estimated competition in organic search, the higher the number, the more competitive the term is

Engage on Social Media

Social media is a conduit for consistent backlinks and engagement. You can use it to support your technical SEO efforts.

technical SEO social media chart

You want to figure out which additional social media platforms are frequented by your target audience.

Simply put, social media can improve your SEO by:

  • Increasing the number of your backlinks. Those who discover your content on social media might be more likely to link to it.
  • Increasing brand awareness, which can help with search queries including your brand’s name.

Social media is an opportunity to increase traffic and mentions beyond what people are searching for on a search engine.

Social media saturation is also simpler than putting together a link-building campaign.

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Use the Facebook Sharing Debugger to see what your web content looks like when shared on Facebook.

This tool also allows you to check your Open Graph tags.

Technical SEO: Final Thoughts

There are three different aspects of SEO, and technical SEO is the most important of the three.

It won’t matter how amazing your on-page SEO is if you fail at technical SEO.

It also won’t matter how great you are at off-page SEO if you’re horrible at the technical stuff.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of it being “technical” or complex. Start with the big, critical aspects discussed above and tackle them one problem at a time.

How have you found success with technical SEO on your site?

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25 Best SEO-Friendly Alternatives To WordPress Websites

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25 Best SEO-Friendly Alternatives To WordPress Websites

There’s a reason why WordPress is so popular: it’s relatively easy to use, offers a lot of functionality, and gives you many customization options. And it can be great for SEO, too.

If you know what you’re doing, you can use it for structuring, managing, and publishing content in a way that generates traffic.

It’s a sort of a one-stop shop for blogging, content management, ecommerce, and website building. And maybe best of all – it’s free.

But, running your own WordPress site isn’t without its drawbacks.

For one thing, you’re responsible for your own updates, security, and backups. Click the wrong box in the settings section, and you could be vulnerable to hackers.

And you will be dealing with frequent updates because it relies so heavily on plugins to provide the functionality you want.

It can also be problematic for web developers. If you have a high degree of skill in creating websites, you may find WordPress’ templated approach restricting.

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On the other end of the spectrum, you may struggle without drag and drop functionality if you don’t know how to code.

Finally, WordPress is a jack-of-all-trades type of platform. It does many things well but is not exceptional in any area. This means you may want more functionality in an area that’s important to you.

In this piece, we’ll look at 25 SEO-friendly WordPress alternatives separated by primary functionality and give you a quick rundown of each, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Ready to get started?

Web Design Platforms

1. Wix

If you’re looking for an easy, all-in-one, fully customizable platform that doesn’t require third-party sites and plugins, look no further than Wix.

This option houses everything you need within the Wix platform, from hosting to handling structured data. Their step-by-step guide helps beginners create a beautiful website without any prior experience.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution.
  • No software to self-install.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one website builder and platform.
  • Free version available.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available for all plans.
  • Free custom domain available with paid plans.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No option to retain full control of your site as you can with WordPress.
  • No access to source code.

2. Squarespace

This all-in-one option allows you to easily create a website on Squarespace’s fully hosted platform. You do not need prior experience to use this intuitive site builder.

Squarespace hosts all its features in-house, meaning you can’t install third-party extensions or use custom coding.

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It’s a great solution for hobbyists and small businesses to build a professional site themselves, although it can be an expensive solution if all you’re doing is running a basic website.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution (including video).
  • No software to self-install.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one website builder and platform.
  • Free version available.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available for all plans.
  • Free custom domain available with an annual subscription.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No option to retain full control of your site as you can with WordPress.
  • No custom coding.
  • No access to source code.
  • No third-party extensions.

3. Weebly

If you’re looking for simple and affordable, Weebly might be up your alley.

This site builder takes an all-in-one approach to make website creation accessible for everyone, not just programmers and web developers.

Weebly is revered for being user and SEO-friendly, but if you’re on the free plan, your website will be limited to only five pages.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution.
  • No software to self-install.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one website builder and platform.
  • Free version available.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available.
  • Inexpensive premium plans are as low as $6.00 per month.
  • Free custom domain available with premium plans.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No option to retain full control of your site as you can with WordPress.
  • No access to source code.
  • The free version restricts you to a maximum of five pages.

4. Google Sites

Google’s webpage and wiki creation tool, Google Sites is a free and easy way to build a website.

Because it was developed by the search engine giant, it integrates smoothly with all other Google products, including Gmail, YouTube, and Fitbit.

It is free to build, host, and maintain with a Google account, with no web hosting fees.

However, if you want to link your site with Google Apps, it costs $50 per user per year.

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Key Features:

  • Creator has full control over page access and permissions.
  • Tools can be accessed anywhere.
  • It can be used as a basic project management program.
  • Plenty of web development and deployment options.
  • Real-time editing.
  • Uses website speed optimization tools to minimize loading times.

Pros:

  • Fast to get started and easy to use.
  • Free to use.
  • Integrated with other Google products.

Cons:

  • Limited functionality compared to other website builders.
  • It may not work with non-Google apps.
  • Limited customization options.
  • No SEO tools and you can’t edit metadata.
  • It cannot integrate Facebook pixels.

5. Jekyll

Jekyll was designed to be a lightweight alternative to other website creation platforms, including only necessary components so you can run your website without database access or other additional software.

It’s an open-source platform that allows you to quickly create and launch a website.

Key Features:

  • No programming involved.
  • SEO is built-in.
  • GitHub manages redirects.
  • Easy setup of custom domains.

Pros:

  • No server maintenance.
  • Very fast.
  • Secure.
  • Free hosting.
  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Works with GitHub as CMS.

Cons:

  • It can’t create contact forms.
  • No dynamic content options.
  • Posts cannot be scheduled.
  • Does not include image manipulation functionality.

6. Hugo

Billing itself as “the world’s fastest framework for building websites,” Hugo is an open-source platform for creating static sites.

It can generate most webpages in under one millisecond, with new pages built every time you create or update content.

Its goal is to provide an optimal viewing experience for users and authors.

Key Features:

  • Can build most websites in seconds.
  • Cross-platform with easy installation.
  • Allows you to host your site anywhere.
  • Customizable URLs.
  • “Minutes to Read” and “WordCount” functionality.
  • Integrated Google Analytics and Disqus comment support.

Pros:

  • It easily integrates with Google Calendar and other apps.
  • Easy to use with responsive customer service.
  • Multilingual capabilities built-in.
  • Extendable as needed.

Cons:

  • It can’t create one-off tasks.
  • It can be confusing upon initial use, particularly in templating syntax.
  • No plugins are available.
  • Limited text formatting features.

7. Webflow

Webflow is a responsive tool for web design that lets you create websites without the required coding knowledge.

It includes a visual designer, which lets you see the changes you’re making in real-time and includes significant versatility.

You can create nearly any website you need, including ecommerce, blogs, and business sites.

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Key Features:

  • More than 100 templates to choose from.
  • Design is prioritized, with animation, interaction, and parallax scrolling options.
  • Offers automatically generated sitemaps and customizable 301 redirects.
  • Multiple payment options for ecommerce sites and automatic tax calculation.

Pros:

  • Affordable, with plans ranging from free to $235 for top-tier ecommerce plans.
  • Free starter plan.
  • Numerous learning and help resources.
  • Good range of templates.
  • Good security.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Integration with social media can be frustrating.
  • Advanced capabilities aren’t built-in and require integration.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

8. Joomla

Like WordPress, Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS).

Joomla is free, but you have to pay for your web hosting.

Joomla’s appeal is its broad range of functionality that allows you to run any type of website – blogs, ecommerce, portfolios, informational websites, and more.

The downside to Joomla is that it isn’t ideal for beginners, so it’s best if you have some experience.

Key Features:

  • Almost 6,000 extensions are available.
  • Traditional content editing (no drag-and-drop visual editor).
  • Optimized for mobile (depending on the template).
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • Free, open-source software.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Access to source code.

Cons:

  • No free subdomains or custom domains are available.
  • No customer support.
  • Requires a PHP-enable server to run.
  • Fewer templates and extensions than WordPress.

9. Drupal

Like WordPress and Joomla, Drupal is a CMS platform. The software is free, although you’ll have web hosting fees.

Drupal is one of the most technical and powerful CMS options on the market, but it requires more skills to tap into Drupal’s full potential.

This site-building option is best suited for advanced users.

Key Features:

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  • Content Management System (CMS).
  • Over 47,000 modules are available.
  • Traditional content editing (no drag-and-drop visual editor).
  • Optimized for mobile (depending on the theme you choose).
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • Free, open-source software.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Access to source code.
  • Strong security and data encryption.

Cons:

  • No free subdomains.
  • No customer support.
  • Requires a PHP-enabled server to run.

10. DataLife Engine

DataLife Engine, often referred to as DLE, is a multifunctional CMS. Primarily designed for mass media websites and blogs, it allows you to manage news, articles, and users. 

Flexible and customizable, it can be used to create websites that can handle high levels of visitors with minimal load on your servers.

DLE emphasizes SEO and security, which has led to its adoption by more than 100,000 organizations.

Key Features:

  • Content Management System (CMS).
  • Designed for multiple users.
  • SEO-focused.
  • Tracks statistics.
  • Automatically filters words in comments.
  • It supports an unlimited number of categories.
  • Low server load.
  • Allows plugins.

Pros:

  • Stores data using MySQL.
  • Excellent user experience
  • Websites load quickly, even on low-end servers.
  • Excellent for publishing news and blog posts.

Cons:

  • No free version licenses vary from $79 for basic to $199 for unlimited.
  • English users are a secondary focus.
  • A limited number of plugins and themes.
  • The lowest license doesn’t include customer support.

11. Sitefinity

Progress’ Sitefinity is a CMS and digital experience platform that allows you to create multi-channel marketing experiences.

Sitefinity allows you to create, store, manage, and publish content on your website. It lets you operate across departments, units, locations, and brands from one platform.

Key Features:

  • Manage multiple sites from one location.
  • Sync assets across pages and sites.
  • It makes personalization simpler.
  • Integrated analytics and optimization.
  • Four versions include basic, marketing-focused, PaaS, and ecommerce.
  • Multilingual capabilities.

Pros:

  • Low-cost license compared to other CMS.
  • No setup fee.
  • Minimal coding is required for integration.
  • Flexible deployment time shortens time to market.
  • Options for marketing automation.

Cons:

  • Free trial, but no free version.
  • Setup and administration can be challenging.
  • No mobile interface.

12. Hubspot CMS

Hubspot is one of the biggest names in marketing software, so it should be no surprise that they also have a CMS tool.

Combining website creation with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool lets you cover the entire buying journey from one place.

And because it was built for cross-departmental use, it doesn’t require extensive development knowledge.

Key Features:

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  • Cloud-based.
  • Includes SEO recommendations.
  • Includes numerous themes and responsive templates.
  • Fully integrated CRM.
  • Drag-and-drop webpage editor.
  • Built-in security.

Pros:

  • Adaptive A/B testing helps you identify the best page layout.
  • All-in-one publishing tools.
  • Built-in SEO tools.
  • Supports smart content with personalized rules.
  • Mobile pages supported with Google AMP.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Does not support ecommerce.
  • No automatic backup and recovery.

13. Contentful

Contentful is a backend-only CMS. Intended to allow users to create content at scale, it integrates various tools, giving you the freedom to publish across channels.

A cloud-native platform, it has a clean interface and was designed to be API-first, which provides serious flexibility.

Features:

  • RESTful API gives you full control over assets, translations, and versions.
  • Customizable interface and framework that works across third-party component providers.
  • It provides regional autonomy, so pieces in multiple languages and time zones can be published globally.
  • Content modeling allows you to structure content by channel.
  • Single sign-on and secure access.

Pros:

  • Focus on integration simplifies the technology stack.
  • User-friendly with a clean interface.
  • Free version for up to five users.
  • Good scalability.

Cons:

  • Expensive for an upgraded version ($489/month).
  • Poor internal search tools.
  • Modeling content can be tricky.

14. Adobe Experience Manager

Combining the functionality of a CMS with a digital asset management (DAM) platform, Adobe Experience Manager is intended to be an all-in-one platform for building websites, managing marketing content, and overseeing media libraries.

It offers cloud integration and plays well with other programs, including its own flagship creative suite.

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive marketing platform.
  • End-to-end digital document solution.
  • Enterprise-level security.
  • Analytics included.
  • Intelligent search.
  • Scalable to your needs.

Pros:

  • Streamlines workflows by keeping everything on one platform.
  • Authoring and publishing can be handled by individual marketers.
  • Easy authorization of workflow.
  • Can handle massive content loads.
  • Can manage multiple sites at once.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve.
  • Requires different sign-ins to access different areas.
  • Doesn’t integrate well with external DAMs.
  • Not ideal for communities and forums.

Ecommerce Platforms

15. BigCommerce

If you’re looking for scalability in an SEO-friendly WordPress alternative, BigCommerce might be the right option for you.

It features strong SEO support and smooth multi-channel integration, and there are no platform fees or commissions.

However, customer reviews weren’t overly favorable regarding setup, and this ecommerce-targeted platform isn’t the best for small businesses or stores with tight margins.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution.
  • No software to self-install.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • High level of customization options.
  • Over 100 themes to choose from (including some free).
  • No platform commission fees.
  • Free subdomain available.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No free version is available.
  • No access to source code.
  • Pricing is based on revenue, which isn’t great if you have tight margins.

16. Shopify

One of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the market, Shopify, is designed to help you sell products.

That gives this option a major edge in the post-COVID digital shopping era, especially if your Shopify site is optimized for SEO.

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Although Shopify can handle blogging and other niches, it isn’t the best solution for anything outside of ecommerce needs.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution.
  • No software to self-install.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one website builder and platform.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No free version is available.
  • No access to source code.
  • Platform commission fees.

17. Magento

Magento is an ecommerce-based platform with more bells and whistles than Shopify.

And while it offers a ton of business features especially suited to large-scale enterprises, it’s not the easiest platform to use.

Magento specializes in ecommerce and not much else. If you want a website that capitalizes on different features, your investment in Magento probably isn’t worth your time.

Key Features:

  • Option to pay for Magento Commerce for a full hosting platform or download the free, open-source software to install on your own web server.
  • Drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Ecommerce store.
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one ecommerce platform or open-source ecommerce software package.
  • Free version available.
  • Designed for large-scale ecommerce.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available (mainly for setup and testing purposes).
  • Customer support (paid version only).
  • Access to source code with the downloadable version.

Cons:

  • No blog module, although you can add it as an extension.
  • Not optimized for web projects or website purposes outside of ecommerce.
  • The steep learning curve for inexperienced users.
  • A large investment for small-scale ecommerce.

18. Prestashop

Prestashop is a freemium open-source ecommerce platform that allows you to set up stores on your host or via the cloud. 

Available in 65 languages, it offers a powerful interface that is responsive to mobile users.

Prestashop has a variety of add-on features and provides a reliable online shopping solution.

Key Features:

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  • Customizable to your needs, including themes and features.
  • Includes backend tools like payments, shipping and data.
  • Community of translators for multilanguage digital stores.
  • Secure payment modules.
  • Scalable.
  • Includes demographic assistance.

Pros:

  • Free version available.
  • Open source, so you can customize your site to your needs.
  • 5,000+ themes, modules, and services are available with the premium plan.
  • Excellent user experience.

Cons:

  • Limited scalability.
  • No support team.
  • Initial setup requires some programming knowledge.

19. OpenCart

A PHP-based ecommerce solution, OpenCart is free to use. Flexible and customizable, it comes with access to a dedicated community to help you troubleshoot.

Because it’s open source, there are extensive add-ons and modules for just about anything.

Features:

  • The administrator dashboard gives you information at a glance.
  • User management allows you to assign permissions and separate access.
  • Allows you to run multiple stores from one dashboard.
  • Customizable variables let you include options for sizes, colors, or anything else.

Pros:

  • The platform is completely free, as are many add-ons.
  • Extensive metrics and reports provided.
  • Works with your current payment gateway.
  • Comes with dedicated technical support.
  • Flexible.

Cons:

  • Often creates duplicate pages, which can cause SEO problems.
  • Not all extensions, modules, plug-ins, and add-ons work well together.
  • Checkout can be slow, particularly if you have numerous plug-ins.
  • Can be difficult to import a list of inventory.
  • Requires some degree of technical ability for optimal use.

Blogging Platforms

20. Medium

Rather than joining the others on this list as a site builder or web software, Medium stands alone as a publishing platform with its own community and user base.

This is a great solution if you’re a blogger looking for an inexpensive way to publish content.

But remember that you don’t have customization options, meaning you can’t brand your own website.

If you need a unique website with design control, Medium isn’t going to suit your requirements.

Key Features:

  • Full hosting solution.
  • No software to self-install.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Limited social media tools.

Pros:

  • A community site for blogs.
  • Free version available.
  • Medium Partner Program to earn revenue.
  • Customer support.

Cons:

  • No extensions.
  • No ecommerce stores.
  • No premade designs or themes.
  • No free subdomains.
  • No third-party extensions.
  • No access to source code.

21. Ghost

This platform is a WordPress contender for blogging, but Ghost’s capabilities are limited for anything more.

Ghost is a simple and straightforward platform to suit your needs if you’re in the right niche.

But if you know your website might grow, remember that Ghost isn’t designed to scale a blog up into a business website or complex project.

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Key Features:

  • Option to subscribe through Ghost’s hosting platform or download the free open source software to install on your own web server.
  • Basic drag-and-drop visual builder.
  • Extensions are available through integrations with other tools.
  • Optimized for mobile.
  • Blog module.
  • Ecommerce store (subscription only).
  • Social media tools.

Pros:

  • All-in-one website builder and platform.
  • Free version available.
  • Premade designs and templates.
  • Free subdomain available with the paid version.
  • Customer support.
  • Access to source code.

Cons:

  • Not compatible with all third-party web hosts.
  • Highly specialized with limited capabilities beyond blogging.
  • Not built to scale up into a business site or complex website.

22. Tumblr

Tumblr is a unique blend of social media and microblogging.

Like a traditional social media platform, it allows you to post status updates and share images, as well as re-blog posts your audience may find relevant.

Customizable to your needs, it has a unique tagging system that helps you accurately target an audience and build a community.

Key Features:

  • Features strong social media functionality.
  • Customizable.
  • Google Analytics Integration.
  • Unlimited storage.
  • Ad-free blog themes.
  • Free SSL certification.

Pros:

  • Free to use; no upgrades are required to access all features.
  • Free web hosting.
  • User-friendly and easy to set up.
  • No storage limits.
  • Can post audio, video, images, gifs, and more.

Cons:

  • Daily posting limit (250/day).
  • Files must be under 10 MB.
  • No plugins.
  • Safety and security leave something to be desired.
  • Unsuited to long-form content.

23. Bluehost

After Typepad stopped accepting new signups in 2020, EIG began directing people to Bluehost for their web hosting needs.

Bluehost supports over 80 open-source projects beyond WordPress, including Drupal, Joomla, and phpBB. It’s currently used by more than 2 million websites.

Key Features:

  • Domain names can be purchased through Bluehost.
  • Versatile hosting options let you choose what works best for you.
  • Dedicated servers and virtual private servers are available.
  • A variety of plans are available based on your needs.
  • Comes with customer service chat options.

Pros:

  • The first term is inexpensive.
  • Lots of storage and unlimited bandwidth.
  • Good uptime.
  • Free SSL certificates.

Cons:

  • Extra features come with added costs, which can get pricey.
  • High renewal rates.
  • Speed could be better.
  • All servers are U.S.-based.

24. Blogger

If you’re going to name your company “Blogger,” you better be good at blog hosting; it shouldn’t be surprising that Blogger delivers.

Acquired by Google in 2003, Blogger is more than just one of the oldest blogging platforms; it’s also a CMS.

Free to use, it lets you publish everything in your own personal space, whether it’s a business blog or a series of posts about your favorite Harry Potter characters.

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Your site can be hosted at yourname.blogspot.com or your own domain.

Features:

  • Clear analytics.
  • Included layout/themes.
  • Monetization options, including Google Adsense integration.
  • Uses Google security.
  • Unlimited storage.

Pros:

  • Free to use.
  • Extremely user-friendly.
  • Free SSL security.
  • Good uptime.

Cons:

  • You don’t own your website.
  • Fewer options and control over design.
  • Limited support.
  • Hard to port to a different platform.

Community Management

25. vBulletin

If your site’s primary purpose is to create a community and host forums and message boards, vBulletin may be the right choice for you.

Easily installed on any web hosting service or run from vBulletin’s cloud, its primary focus is on community websites, though it does include tools for content discovery and site management.

It comes with various templates, graphics, and styles, so you can customize your forum to your brand.

Key Features:

  • Built-in SEO and security.
  • Includes a chat app.
  • Easy to get started.
  • Built-in applications.
  • Optimized for mobile users.
  • Blogging functionality.
  • Fully customizable.

Pros:

  • Frequent patches and bug fixes.
  • Customer support.
  • Easy to install and get started.
  • Designed to host forums.
  • Includes templates.

Cons:

  • No free option.
  • Limited features compared to some other platforms.
  • Requires some tech skills to take full advantage of the functionality.
  • It can’t customize code for the cloud-based version.

Which One Is Right For You?

Including WordPress, you have 26 options for building your website.

So, how do you know which one is right for you? It comes down to your needs and what you want your website to accomplish.

If you’re looking to create a website that is ecommerce-first, you’d be well served to pick from one of the options listed in that section.

On the other hand, if you’re primarily interested in blogging, you’ll want a platform that focuses on that.

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And if you want one that does everything, well, there are a few on the list.

Hopefully, by reading this, you’ve gained a little insight into which platform will work best for you.

More Resources:


Featured Image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

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