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5 Best small CMS apps for Designers in 2019

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5 Best small CMS apps for Designers in 2019



You're not alone: we've struggled with updating a simple site too. Most designers have been there too. The client has a simple site and they now want to update it themselves. You don't want to rebuild it in WordPress and so want to make it editable from the current template or pages they already have live. How do you go about doing that and what are the best options out there in 2019?

In the old days, you might have kept updating it on their behalf. And hopefully charged a retainer fee for your troubles. That still works today but it's also great to empower your users and give them the freedom to make the site content changes themselves without having to bother you. That's a win-win. You get your time free and can work on new projects; and they are autonomous and can change things as and when they want without having to wait for you to complete it. This is powerful especially for small sites and mini-changes.

There are a lot of options out there and some are more complex (and expensive) than others. Let's look at the top ones for designers in 2019 and give you a head start with your project.

Dropkick CMS



Full disclosure: it's us! But our customers have told us the beauty of Dropkick CMS is the simplicity. We all like to get projects finished quickly right? Setup for making your web pages editable in your PHP or HTML site is easy. You just need to add the content to your Dropkick CMS install then place a content ID in your page where you want that to live and be editable. That's it. Off you go and edit that part of the site!

Not only can Dropkick make it easy and quick to setup editable static sites, but you can also manage media, add multi-users and edit your sites from your mobile devices.

Price: Another great thing is the price. No subscription or per domain pricing here, just a one-time forever pricing to get all-can-eat. Install on as many domains as you want for $79. Not bad at all and you just need to factor this into 1 client invoice and the next client project will be pure profit!




Pulse CMS



Pulse CMS is another very impressive and easy to work with CMS system. It's flexible and offers a lot of power. This includes a lot of features such as a blog engine, multi-users, templating engine, short codes, addons, SEO features, ecommence store, 2FA logins and real lot more. It could be seen as a more powerful static CMS but still not as heavy or troublesome as WordPress.

It has integrations with lots of design tools so your workflow shouldn't be affected and also another great thing is the community around ti is really growing. There is a forum with users and developers mingling and making great things together and the product seems to have a bright future.

Price: Another great all-you-can-eat pricing! This time is more expensive at $297 but there is also a 1-site license for $97 if you just want to try before upgrading to the unlimited pack.

Craft CMS



Craft CMS is a powerful CMS tool with a lot of extensions and addons available to make really powerful and complex sites. Whilst this can mean a bit of a headache at first to get going and adjust to a new workflow there are ample of support docs and communities dedicated to making Craft sites. The app itself is really feature rich and you can make practically any kind of site you're need to.

A popular feature in recent times has been the commerce extension. This allows you to create a store extension and whilst you may not want to build a Shopify site for a user, this allows you to keep the site and store together under one system.

Price: A little more expensive than the first two but if you are billing your clients correctly for the hard work and value you are providing them then this should be covered in a project budget. $299 per project for the CMS and $199 per project add-on for the ECommerce module.

Statamic CMS



Statamic CMS is built on the popular PHP framework Laravel. And whilst the other systems mentioned are more aimed at designers, this CMS is definitely aimed at developers. Statamic is designed to rapidly scaffold sites, eliminate repetitive tasks, and structure your data on the fly. It comes with a host of addons and the community is growing.

It also works with GitHub and version control so will suite the developer workflow. And if you can code your own sites by hand then you can bring your own markup.

Price: There isn't an unlimited license pack and each sites costs $199 per domain.

Surreal CMS

Surreal CMS is a little different to the above options as it's a hosted solution. The others live on your server (or your client's server) so this option may not suite all client needs and projects. That said, it does make it easier to setup as there's nothing to install. Just create an online account with their site and then start creating your editable areas.

It has includes and repeatables which will save a lot of time and you can also make pre-defined blocks of HTML. That said, hosting on another's server might not be possible in all projects as we mentioned and also might leave a little readability issue such as if the server goes down then your site would appear but content would be empty!

Price: $9 per site (this one is a monthly subscription) but is for unlimited sites. $19 per month includes a white-label option.

Want to get started with an easy to setup and user-friendly CMS right away? Let's make 2019 your year to get projects shipped and empower users to edit their simple sites without needing to ask you. Get Dropkick today!