.NET Based CMS Alternatives To WordPress

In this article we will look at a few alternatives to WordPress, in particular we are looking for a Microsoft .NET based alternative.

The WordPress Standard

This website happens to use WordPress and I have been using it for several years, and have a good idea of what a good CMS should do and how they should perform.  Wordpress is platform independent and is typically installed on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, mySQL, PHP, Perl or Python) software bundle.  It is a great blogging platform and has the highest market share of all the CMS’s which makes it a great one to use as the “standard” for quality, ease of use, security, performance, flexibility and performance.

If you prefer a Microsoft .NET based CMS then there is no clear-cut, or safe choice like WordPress.  Many of the .NET based CMS’s do not have the huge developer community that WordPress has and that usually means the software will not be as robust and there will be fewer modules, themes, options and widgets available to customize your CMS.  Consider that WordPress has some 60 million users since it was created in 2003.

Listed in the image below are the top six CMS’s in number of downloads (in Microsoft’s Web Installation Tool).   I’ve decided to install three .NET based CMS’s, Dot Net Nuke Community Edition, .NET CMS, and Orchard CMS.

Top Five Content Management Systems - CMS

  • WordPress
  • Dot Net Nuke Community Edition
  • Joomla 2.5  (not .NET based)
  • Umbraco (not .NET based)
  • .NET CMS
  • Orchard CMS


CMS Experience Matrix – How Much Have I Used Each CMS

This article may be posted before I have fully evaluated all of the tools so I thought it would be appropriate to add a section that shows how much experience I have with each of the CMS’s being discussed.  As with most new technologies things seem overwhelming at first and then as you start to learn them they seem less daunting.   If I happen to mention that a particular CMS is hard to use, then you might want to see how much I’ve worked with the CMS before you decide how much weight you want to put into my opinion.

I’m also listing the “impressions” that I have about the CMS at the time the article was created.  These are things I might say to someone if the subject of the CMS came up.

That All Important First (2nd and 3rd) Impression

Hours Used By Me
Impression 1
Impression 2
 Impression 3
Easy to use, just works
PHP, Yuck
Tons of Features
DNN Community
Multi-tenant not easy
Good design
Milks you for money
Intuitive UI
.NET Developer dream!
Professional Looking
Very Easy Install & Use
Look & feel dated/ugly
Proj Name Sucks (DuckDuckGo-ing)


What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

The definition of a Content Management System as taken from Wikipedia:

Content Management System (CMS) is a computer program that allows publishingediting and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual steps or an automated cascade.

In my experience it seems that the term “CMS” is used loosely to mean many different things including blog, photo gallery, forum or wiki.  It is also difficult to find a succinct definition of a CMS which is probably the reason the term is used so loosely. I happen to like how Vasont Systems describes a CMS:

Content management is the process of organizing and consolidating these pieces of content (text, graphics, and multimedia clips) and tagging schemes (XML, HTML, etc,) in the most efficient way and storing them only one time in a repository, known as a content management system. The organized content can then be used over and over again (content reuse) for many different publications and repurposed for multichannel publishing.

Popularity & Trends Of CMS’s?

When you look at the top 130 million websites according to Alexa trends, they list market penetration of a CMS by category.  When looking at this information you can find some interesting trends for example, in highly visited sites the percentages using WordPress are lower and percentages using Orchard are higher, proportionally speaking.  Orchard has a very low market penetration at all levels compared to WordPress.

The Alexa categories we are looking at in this section are listed here along with a example of a site example for that category.  I had originally planned on evaluating Drupal and Joomla but since they are not .NET based I removed them from the comparison because of this the matrix below includes Drupal and Joomla.

  1. Very Popular Websites (in the top 10,000) –  Sample site is Tucows.com #9,936
  2. Popular Websites (in the top 100,000) – Sample site is Lottery.com #97,719
  3. Somewhat Popular Websites (in the top 1 million) – Sample site is DisplacedGuy.com #636,164    p.s. thank you!
  4. Less Popular (in the top 130 million)
  • WordPress is the most popular CMS and is increasing in popularity among less visited websites and decreasing in use by more frequently visited websites.
  • Drupal is increasing in market share slightly in most areas.
  • Joomla appears to be popular on less visited sites, in fact the 12.96% in the top 130 million looks proportionally large compared to others.
  • Dot Net Nuke (DNN) has fair market penetration but may have peaked as it seems to be losing some ground to competitors across the boards.
  • Orchard is new, fresh and has very little market penetration and opposite of WordPress it is gaining popularity among established frequently visited sites.
130M Most Visited
1M Most Visited
100K Most Visited
10K Most Visited
Dot Net Nuke


My Favorite By Far – Orchard CMS 

The Dashboard for Orchard CMS

Orchard CMS Dashboard


The Dashboard for the Orchard CMS is a very pleasant looking well designed interface. Orchard is definitely the winner in first impressions for me, it looks professional, installs easy, and is very intuitive.







Orchard really impressed me in its’ ability to build a professional looking, and robust blog on short order.  I can throw a website together pretty quickly with WordPress, but it could take several days of tweaking before I’m happy with the layout and I’ve monetized it to my liking.  Orchard on the other hand… it took me all of one day to get a blog started, monetized, and looking decent.  I absolutely love the admin interface of Orchard, and get the feeling that if I can be this productive this quick, maybe I’m in for a surprise once I really learn how to use it.

One huge factor when deciding to use Orchard, is that is runs on Windows and IIS and WordPress though typically run on Linux, will run on either OS.

I kept using Orchard CMS , and posted a link to one of my actual Adsense Niche Sites at the bottom of the article.

My Second Best Choice for CMS alternate to WordPress

Dot Net Nuke is my second choice but it doesn’t come close to Orchard as far as being easy to use, professional and “really” free which is unlike DNN.  With DNN you feel like you are being milked for every dime.

.NET CMS my Third Choice for CMS alternate to WordPress

In my mind, .NET CMS and DNN are pretty close to tied for 2nd and 3rd.   The both have potential but fall short in some area.  .NET CMS seemed difficult to create a professional looking site from the start, and finding documentation was challenging because of the lame name which doesn’t differentiate it from .NET the development framework, or CMS a term used by all CMS’s.   I became bored with both of these CMS’s pretty early and have continued using Orchard.  In fact, here is the site that I put together in one day…

It is an Adsense Niche Website, one of the first I’ve attempted without WordPress.  I will post more once I get information, am curious to see if the Orchard CMS has any effect on Adsense RPM, and profitability of the site.  I have had good luck with “medical” type niche sites as far as Adsense income goes.  That was my Adsense tip for the day, also notice the dash in the domain name… I have learned they don’t seem hurt you at all, and it allows you to put important words into your domain name and rank better in the SERPs.  Also, notice that I only have one ad on the site, it seems that too many ads from the start will keep your pages from moving up in Google search results at first.

My Orchard CMS Website – Adsense Niche Site

Adderall Vs The Other ADHD Medications  ( http://www.adderall-vs.com/ )






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