Key considerations when choosing a CMS for your website
Choosing the right CMS is a very important decision as the outcome will affect your whole website development project.
Having worked on many different CMS (Content Management System) website projects over the years we have noticed that many issues recur over and over again. Most of the time these issues arise because of a lack of understanding of the requirements of the CMS or lack of understanding of content management issues.
In this article, we will look into a few of the things you will need to consider when selecting the right CMS for your organisation’s website project. As you will see, many of these mistakes can be overcome by considering the issues fully and identifying what purposes the CMS system needs to fulfil.
Understand the solutions your website needs to provide
Before you even begin to think about selecting a CMS you need to identify what problems your website will be providing the solutions for. Many businesses make the mistake of choosing the wrong CMS in the first instance because they choose software that sounds like it will provide the solution to a problem. Instead business should begin by analyzing the needs and focus on the business problems that the website will provide the solution for. So, you should start by understanding your website needs before assessing CMS requirements.
Understand content management issues
If you have little to no experience in using a CMS system then understanding all of the content management issues may be difficult. One of the biggest challenges is actually identifying what you require from the CMS system. When considering which CMS you need for your website you should think about the following questions;
What challenges will implementing the chosen CMS bring?
Which features of the chosen CMS are most important?
What web design issues will arise in the near future?
What are your company’s best practices approaches to content management?
What kind of problems does your selected CMS solve best?
The earlier you know the answers to these questions the better you will understand the issues relating to CMS systems. This will help you to make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing your CMS.
Know your options
While you may think that the options for CMS systems available to you are limited, in truth they are not. There are thousands of Content Management Systems available to you. These include free open source systems to licensed versions. The challenge that your business faces are finding an affordable CMS system that will work around your business needs. When choosing your Content Management System you should take the time to research your available options and get to know them inside out. It is only then that you will know if it the right CMS for your business’ website project.
Be clear about your requirements
By defining your requirements of a CMS in the first instance you will be able to rule out content management systems that will not work for your organisation. This will help you to narrow your scope to find the CMS that fits your needs perfectly.
When defining your requirements it pays to think about things in context and what particular functions you will need to achieve clear business goals. This will help you to evaluate the CMS when the time comes for making the final decision.
It also helps to be realistic about the number of requirements you have. If you have too many requirements it can convolute what is really important, and what isn’t. If you find that your list of requirements is growing, it may help to separate them into lists of what is crucial and what isn’t. This will help you to identify the right CMS to solve your organisation’s crucial needs first, and then you can work on secondary needs afterwards.
As well as these four main considerations, here are a number of slightly smaller considerations to think about before choosing your CMS:
Develop a Content Strategy
Once you know what your organization’s business goals are and how you will achieve them using your website content strategy, you will then have a much clearer idea of choosing the right CMS. You should never choose your CMS without knowing what your content strategy needs to achieve as your CMS will need to work around these requirements.
Focus on business goals over processes
Unless the CMS provides a better process you should focus on what business goals you want to accomplish rather than trying to adjust your current business working methods to suit the CMS system.
You should plan a testing schedule right from the beginning of your project to make sure that developments and upgrades work. This includes the first stages through to any future developments. You should make sure that you create a testing environment that you can test any changes on before taking them to the live version of your CMS.