5 Free content management system software and their key features

Published on 24/12/2021 by Sukanya Awasthi

Gone are the days when content may have been considered a ‘good to have’ feature and nothing more. Content affects more than just marketing; it has possibly become an integral aspect of businesses —affecting nearly every area including sales, merchandising, and development. A content management system can potentially help businesses attract more customers and connect with their target audience by interacting with them more frequently.

Content management system software offers tools to manage content

What is a content management system?

A content management system (CMS) is a tool that allows users to create a website without having to write all of the code from scratch. The software could aid in the production, modification, publication, and deletion of all types of content and digital assets such as documents, photographs, and videos. In the next section, we discuss some of the advantages of utilising a CMS.

Benefits of using a CMS

Most CMS tools let multiple users work on a task simultaneously and allow for collaboration among different team members during the production and publication of content. In addition, there are many other benefits that come from utilising CMS software, some of which are listed below.

Role management

It makes it convenient to manage roles so that only the people who have been given permission to modify or publish content using the CMS system can do so. Some CMS may also offer cybersecurity capabilities which can evaluate system needs, as well as keep users up to date and protected against security breaches.

No coding skills required

It enables relatively non-technical people who are unfamiliar with programming languages to generate and manage their own online content, since not everyone may be equally comfortable with advanced technology. 

Content management 

It could also make the management of content relatively convenient. For example, most CMS tools offer the feature to apply changes universally, meaning if one user wants to edit something, they can do so by making a change on one web page and applying it to the entire website instead of manually updating each and every page. 

In this article, we have curated a list of five content management system software with a free version listed on Capterra Australia. These CMS software in Capterra’s directory have been chosen based on the following:

  • Software offering a free version
  • Rated at least 4/5 stars by users on Capterra Australia
  • Arranged in alphabetical order
  • Have at least 20 reviews over the past two years

1. Box

 BOX CRM document editing [Source: Capterra]
BOX CRM document editing [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4.4/5
  • Customer service – 4.2/5
  • Features – 4.3/5
  • Value for money – 4.3/5

Box software provides a platform called ‘Content Cloud’ where users can collaborate on content-related tasks. This CMS offers features like file creation and sharing, co-editing, classification, and retention of documents. Box software also offers security capabilities such as access control in case of multiple users and watermarking. It also allows for real-time collaboration between team members both from within and outside the organisation from any device, so multiple stakeholders can work on a particular task simultaneously. 

A feature of Box software called Box Relay helps in automating workflows by offering pre-built templates by the vendor as well as custom-configured templates that can be created by users. This CMS comes with a free version and more information on their paid version can be found at box.com.

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2. Directus

Role management dashboard in Directus CRM [Source: Capterra]
Role management dashboard in Directus CRM [Source: Capterra]
  • Ease of use – 4.5/5
  • Customer service – 4.5/5
  • Features – 4.4/5
  • Value for money – 4.9/5

Directus is a platform that allows users to manage the content of any Structured Query Language (SQL) database vendors like PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, OracleDB, MariaDB, AWS Aurora, and more. It lets users manage their content by providing a code-free interface where they can manage omnichannel content for websites, kiosks, eCommerce websites, and more. This CMS also offers email templates that can be used to send out individual or bulk emails to the target audience as part of companies’ marketing campaigns. 

In addition, Directus offers features like a dashboard where users can view, analyse, and interact with their data, a text-editing interface, document management, and workflow management. It comes with a free version and information on their paid version can be found at Directus.io.

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3. Lucidpress

Document creation using pre-built templates in Lucidpress [Source: Lucidpress]
Document creation using pre-built templates in Lucidpress [Source: Lucidpress]
  • Ease of use – 4.5/5
  • Customer service – 4.3/5
  • Features – 4.4/5
  • Value for money – 4.5/5

Lucidpress provides templating solutions using which users can create personalised brand-related content. These pre-built templates also allow users to create brochures, posters, presentations, flyers etc. This CMS offers a drag-and-drop editor where users can customise their content. Their multi-channel distribution feature also allows users to publish their content on social media platforms and via emails. 

Moreover, Lucidpress lets users keep all of their files in one centralised place, making it accessible for everyone who has access to the dashboard to discover, utilise and edit the material they need. The CMS has a free version and information on their paid version is available at lucidpress.com.

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4. Webflow

SEO console in Webflow CRM [Source: Webflow]
SEO console in Webflow CRM [Source: Webflow]
  • Ease of use – 4.1/5
  • Customer service – 4.2/5
  • Features – 4.4/5
  • Value for money – 4.2/5

Webflow offers a visual canvas to users using which they can build custom blogs, eCommerce stores, flyers, websites, portfolios etc. Using this CMS, users can create content structures, add their content, and design it themselves, making it relatively more convenient for content developers to add design elements to their work. 

Webflow also offers customised fields where the user can pull the desired content from a repository of files/templates and either import that content from another CMS/spreadsheet or vice versa. It also lets editors edit content already published on live websites and these changes can then be applied universally across the website. This CMS offers a free version, and to know more about their paid version and additional features, visit webflow.com.

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5. Zoho Docs

Document editing in Zoho Docs [Source: Zoho]
Document editing in Zoho Docs [Source: Zoho]
  • Ease of use – 4.5/5
  • Customer service – 4.5/5
  • Features – 4.4/5
  • Value for money – 4.6/5

Zoho is a CMS that can be used for creating, storing, sharing, editing, and collaborating on documents of different formats such as .pdf, .xlxs, .jpg, and .html using a tool called Zoho Writer. Since it is hosted on the cloud, users can access their documents, spreadsheets, and images from different devices at different locations. This CMS also allows users to organise their files by project, file type, and author, and helps organise document management. This CMS has a free version and information on its paid version can be found at zoho.com.

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Looking for a content management system? Check out our catalogue!

Methodology

For the free content management system software listed above, the following factors were considered:

  • Vendors offering a completely free version of the tool. 
  • A minimum 4/5 star rating on Capterra Australia’s website.
  • The existence of at least 20 reviews of the software over the past two years (August 2019 – August 2021) on Capterra Australia.
  • The software mentioned in this article are listed in alphabetical order.
  • All of the above software match Capterra’s definition of content management system (CMS) software: CMS is used for managing digital content across an enterprise and often refers specifically to managing websites and editing web content. There are many different kinds of CMS on the market —including both open-source and proprietary solutions. Many CMS software allow the creation, modification, and removal of content from the website without extended knowledge of HTML or the expertise of a webmaster.

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Content Analyst for the UK market. Committed to offering insights on technology, emerging trends, and software suggestions to SMBs. Plant lady, café hopper, and dog mom.

Content Analyst for the UK market. Committed to offering insights on technology, emerging trends, and software suggestions to SMBs. Plant lady, café hopper, and dog mom.

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