7 Points to Consider When Choosing a CMS Platform for Your Business

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Jun 2014
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Author : Pete Peranzo

When redesigning your website, you might want to make it responsive and/or implement a new  CMS, content management system. Businesses have an extremely wide range of content management systems to choose from. It’s important to pick one wisely as the system you choose will have a serious impact on the effectiveness of your website.

What is a Content Management System?

A content management system (CMS) is an application that provides capabilities for multiple users to manage content, data, or information of a website.

Different content management systems serve different goals. For example, some are specifically used for shopping carts, sales or blogging. Some of the most popular open source systems include: Drupal (a full website CMS), Joomla (a full website CMS), WordPress (blog CMS), and Zen Cart (shopping CMS).

Using a CMS for your website gives you many advantages, the most obvious being that you can edit your site’s content yourself.

Choosing a CMS that works best for your website and users is challenging. So here is a list of 7 things you should consider when choosing the right CMS.

Evaluate Your Current CMS

If your current CMS does not meet your needs, it’s time to change it. Before considering a purchase though, it’s vital to ask yourself the following questions:

• What are the main drivers for changing the current system?
• What business challenges will the new CMS overcome?
• What different opportunities a new CMS will bring to your business?

In choosing a new CMS, you clearly need to identify your needs and system requirements. Spending time in evaluating your current CMS and identifying your business goals and requirements reduces the business risks inherent in purchasing a CMS.

System Scalability

Before making a decision about which CMS to choose, you need to foresee the growth of your company. As your company grows, you may want to create additional blogs, websites or microsites. The CMS you choose must have the ability to scale with your business as your needs change over time.

Check whether the system you have chosen has the necessary plugins and extensions to enhance the functionality and size of your website. Planning ahead for increased traffic will ensure that you are not required to move to an alternate CMS to fulfill future business needs.

Easy to Understand and Use

Among the many selection criteria, ease of use is the primary requirement of any CMS. The system should allow you to manage all the content, functionality and navigation in an easy-to-use ‘Word-like’ interface. It’s important to make sure that you are not required to rely on external technical services to manage updates to your site.

Opt for a CMS that allows you to change text and images, add or remove pages, modify the layout of the pages, and create templates quickly and easily. Such an intuitive CMS interface will enable marketers to add and edit online content without having to know about the technical details.

Review the Options: Open Source CMS vs Licensing CMS

The CMS market is growing by leaps and bounds. Some are proprietary systems that come with a cost (licensing fee) and some are totally free to download and install (open source). While picking a CMS, ask yourself which would be the best for your business — a closed or an open CMS? Why? And most importantly, why should you pay for a CMS if good alternatives are available free of cost?

Each has its own pros and cons; therefore, choosing one over the other depends on your business needs. Apart from that, you should also consider your requirements related to customization, the scalability of the CMS, the support provided by the CMS developer, and your budget.

Need for Initial and Long-term Support

Whether you choose an open-source or a commercial product, it will require time and effort to move to the new CMS. Without proper support, implementing a new CMS can be an uphill battle. In the long term, you might need maintenance support from the developer. If the vendor isn’t going to be implementing a functionality that you see as an upcoming trend or a business requirement, it could get costly down the line implementing it yourself. So, look for an experienced vendor with market reputation who is ready to provide support in future.

Assigning Roles and Permissions

Multiple website managers may be editing the content of the website. In such a scenario, the CMS you choose must ensure that each manager has the right to perform only his set of duties.

For example, a member of staff looking for candidates to hire should be able to post job requirements on the portal but should not be able to change the homepage of the site. Pick a CMS that allows you to assign different access permissions to edit, publish or delete content to different users as per the roles and privileges you have set for them.

SEO-Friendly

The majority of your traffic will come from organic searches on search engines, so SEO has to be among the top considerations for you when selecting a CMS. A good CMS can have a dramatic impact on your SEO performance.

Site loading times can make or break your website. It’s important you choose a CMS that creates clean and simple code. Clean code is critical to ensure that search spiders will successfully crawl your website. To make the most of your content in reaching better search engine rankings, your CMS users must be able to optimize content easily. For this, you need a CMS that allows users to easily specify keyword-rich URLs, title tags, descriptions, and image alt text.

Choosing a CMS for your business is often a multimillion-dollar exercise. It is therefore critical that the CMS you opt for meets your current and projected needs. All the above points will help you find the best CMS solution to achieve your business goals.

 

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