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What Is the Best CMS for Cannabis eCommerce Websites?

Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 4:10 PM EST

The cannabis market is flourishing and growing at a spectacular rate. The global pandemic has become its breakthrough moment. To reap the benefits of increased demand, your company needs a powerful and visually attractive website. Picking a CMS is the first crucial choice. Which platform should you build your site on?

Every popular platform has its pros and cons. Basic solutions will let you implement cannabis website design without any coding experience. Comparing CMS is like comparing compact vehicles and large diesel trucks — your decision will depend on your needs.

Image Source: Pexels


1. Basics for Startups: Wix, Weebly, Squarespace

These platforms are low-cost and user-friendly. Even beginners can master them relatively quickly. If your cannabis startup is in its early stage and cannot afford a web developer, try one of these three CMS. The differences between them are only subtle. 

A free plan will let you create a subdomain, so the URL will look like www.yourbusiness.weebly.com. The biggest disadvantage is that all traffic to your site will technically go to the platform. Thus, it will not contribute to SEO and cannabis site visibility on Google. Building credibility with your own domain name requires a paid plan. 

On the upside, you can get started for free or very affordable. All three platforms come with a plethora of basic templates that you can customize to a degree. They are a decent starting point for entrepreneurs. 

Subsequently, you will need to switch to a more advanced CMS. As templates are not fully customizable, your cannabis site will resemble other stores built on the same platform. 

2. Small to Medium Size: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla

These systems are more expensive and require a website host. They are preferred by companies that can hire a developer but need moderate functionality. All three are open-source, so there are no license fees. They also come with a variety of plugins and templates that let you build a website like a Lego house.

  • WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. It powers over 30 million live websites. Thanks to an abundance of free and paid themes and plugins, you can build a site that will look unique.

This platform is convenient for non-tech savvy users. After your site goes live, you will be able to add blog articles and make basic content changes without professional help. On the downside, using a lot of plugins for wider functionality requires more resources. To maintain high load speed, you will need a Content Delivery Network.

  • Joomla

This platform is less user-friendly, so hiring a developer is a must. It is great for e-commerce sites, but its out-of-the-box SEO functionality is fairly limited. Lower popularity means there are fewer plugins and themes available.

  • Drupal

Drupal is lightweight and focused on performance. Statistically, sites load faster out of the box. The biggest drawback is complexity: you will have to hire a developer with relevant experience. Making changes on your own is far more difficult compared to WordPress and Joomla.

3. Large Enterprises: Magento

This e-commerce platform is best for big cannabis businesses, particularly multi-state lifestyle brands or cannabis distribution websites. Magento was created for companies that operate on a large scale and have products with variations. 

Magento is great for SEO, but it is quite sophisticated. First, you need a professional developer to build a site. Secondly, DIY changes after launch will be complicated. There are plenty of themes and extensions, but most of them are quite pricey — between $100 and $1,000.

One of the biggest advantages is market-specific website versions. Magento lets you modify the look of your site based on the user's language or location. This is useful if your cannabis dispensary operates in several states.


Image Source: Pexels

Which to Choose?

As you can see, the size of your business is one of the primary criteria. Free platforms like Weebly are very easy to use, but they won't deliver a truly professional unique look that big brands have. These CMS are worth considering if you are just starting with a limited budget. 

Once your business can afford to hire a developer or a team, consider more complex and flexible options, such as Drupal or WordPress. Subsequently, as your dispensary becomes a multi-state provider, you could switch to Magento and deliver a personalized experience to users across the US.

Where to Hire Developers

Businesses looking for development services have three options: managing everything in-house, outsourcing, or hiring freelancers for specific tasks. The first path is the most time-consuming and expensive. 

Outsourcing to a team will let you cut costs and access the best foreign talent immediately. Developers' rates in the US are the highest. In comparison, Eastern Europe has a strong pool of candidates that are highly qualified but cheaper to hire. 

Finally, some companies opt for staff augmentation. If your in-house team lacks specific skills or expertise, you can hire freelancers to fill these skills gaps.  

To sum up, start small if you have to and let your website grow along with your business. The best SEO strategies will help you gain visibility and drive traffic on any CMS (unless you use a subdomain). As revenues grow, switch to more advanced solutions.

Disclaimer: This and other personal blog posts are not reviewed, monitored or endorsed by TalkMarkets. The content is solely the view of the author and TalkMarkets is not responsible for the content of this post in any way. Our curated content which is handpicked by our editorial team may be viewed here.


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