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Is MODX the Best ‘WordPress’ Alternative CMS?

A computer screen full of code.
  • Aug 26, 2019
  • 0
  • by A2 Marketing Team

When it comes to using a Content Management System (CMS), WordPress is by far the most popular. For many, this makes it the obvious choice for building a website. However, there are some definite advantages in choosing an alternative platform such as MODX.

Created for developers who want to build sites using semantic HTML styled exclusively with CSS, MODX provides a unique and highly customizable development experience. Its founding principles of flexibility and creative freedom make it a playground for innovative coders.

This post will take a closer look at MODX, discuss why you may want to consider it over other solutions, and explain whether it’s a viable alternative to WordPress. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to MODX

MODX is a powerful CMS comparable to Joomla! and Drupal. It can be used to create websites of all types:

The MODX home page.

Unlike WordPress, it’s designed for people with more advanced web development skills. While less-technical users will find WordPress easier to manage out of the box, MODX may be preferable for developers looking for more customizability.

MODX has been described as more of a framework for developers, rather than a template-driven CMS like WordPress. It does not have menu-builders, pre-built widgets, or other features you can insert into predefined theme positions. Instead, its back end manager offers a blank slate for full editing control of your project:

The MODX dashboard.

You can run your MODX installation on most popular servers, including Apache or NGINX. In addition, it’s backed by an engaged community, including an Advisory Board and the platform’s founders. Chances are, it’s not going to disappear anytime soon and can provide for your long-term web-related efforts.

5 Reasons to Choose MODX as Your CMS

Although it’s less well-known than WordPress or other popular CMSs, MODX still brings a lot to the table. Here are five reasons to consider using it for your next project.

1. The MODX Platform Offers High Performance

One of the most important aspects of any website is its performance. If your pages take too much time to load, users are more likely to click away. This increases bounce rates and can negatively impact conversions.

One of the key features of MODX is its fast page loading times. Unlike WordPress, MODX loads its HTML files directly from your site’s database. This increases efficiency and helps with website performance.

Furthermore, you have full control of its back end manager and are not weighed down by extraneous themes or plugins. Instead, MODX incorporates skins that are quick and easy to use.

2. MODX Code Templating Makes Customization Simpler

MODX is a developer-friendly platform that is easy to customize. It’s built almost exclusively on HTML5 and CSS3, two of the most common coding languages. As long as you’re well-versed in both, you shouldn’t find it difficult to build and style your site from the ground up.

This also means you’re not constrained by a particular framework as you might be in WordPress. You’ll have full control over your site’s appearance, so you can be sure it will be unique and fulfill the needs of your brand.

Plus, you can take advantage of code templates to speed up site creation and customization. Using your own custom HTML and CSS templates can enable you to quickly add commonly used features to your site, while still adhering to your coding preferences and style.

3. MODX is Search Engine-Friendly Out of the Box

Making sure your website is optimized for search engines is key to its success. Google and other similar platforms drive a large portion of organic website traffic, so getting your site onto the first results pages for keywords related to your niche can make a significant impact on the number of visitors to your site.

MODX helps with this by using a simple code architecture that is highly accessible to search engines. Its HTML is optimized for crawlers, making it easy for Google and other search platforms to index your site.

It’s also easy to set up meta tags in MODX. Search engines use these elements to read the content of your website more accurately and better define the value it has to offer. This can help improve the likelihood that your content will appear in relevant searches.

4. MODX Extensions Provide Front End Editing Capabilities

While it’s true that MODX is geared more towards users who want to write their own code, it is possible to create a visual editing experience. There are several extras you can incorporate into your site to enable front end content creation.

The most recently released of these tools is Fred, the ‘friendly editor’. It’s recommended by the MODX community and provides a drag-and-drop interface for customizing your site’s layout, content, and more.

This extension also enables you to save pages as ‘blueprints’ for future projects and to preview the mobile version of your site. Although it was only released in February of 2019, it already has TinyMCE and Font Awesome plugins you can use to incorporate advanced text editing and icons in your designs.

5. You’ll Have the Support of the MODX Community

MODX is backed by an extensive community. This provides several opportunities to seek support should you encounter any problems, including via the active MODX forum.

There you can find professionals of all levels available to promptly answer your questions, as well as previously answered questions that may provide guidance for your current situation. Many in the community are happy to assist newcomers.

Additionally, MODX is well-documented. There are a number of books and videos to help you learn the platform, including a quick start series for new users. Its Slack channel is also fairly active and can provide fast access to support from other community members.

How MODX Compares to WordPress

As we mentioned earlier in this post, MODX differs from WordPress in that it’s not designed to be beginner-friendly out of the box. You’ll need a solid foundation in HTML, CSS, and PHP if you want to build your next website with this platform.

Compared to WordPress, MODX has a fairly steep learning curve and probably isn’t the best fit for those without prior development experience. Its permission settings and user roles are known for being particularly confusing, which can lead to security issues.

Furthermore, its library of extensions pales in comparison to the WordPress Plugin Directory. If you want certain features for your site, you may have to code them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. With WordPress, you’re more likely to be able to find a plugin to help with advanced functionality.

It’s safe to say that MODX isn’t necessarily the most ‘WordPress’ alternative CMS. That said, it offers extensive customizability that developers will be hard-pressed to match in WordPress.

MODX Conclusion

Choosing a CMS is a delicate process. While WordPress is the go-to option for many, it may be wise to explore other platforms such as MODX, which could offer more extensive customization abilities and a more interesting development experience.

Here are five reasons to choose MODX for your CMS:

  1. The platform is high-performing.
  2. Code templating makes customization simpler.
  3. It’s search engine-friendly out of the box.
  4. Extensions provide front end editing capabilities.
  5. You’ll have the support of the MODX community.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels.