CMS Expo LogoWe were recently in Chicago for the 2012 Annual CMS Expo. The CMS Expo gives us a chance to review any new technologies that are up and coming, as well as the newest features to and additions. It basically gives a very personal status report to all of the different leading CMS’s.

If you’re not familiar with a CMS, well it stands for “Content Management System”, which is a system that is able to handle a very large amount of data and make sense of it for the user. A Web Content Management System basically does exactly that and manages all the content that you are compiling to put on a website.

Here is an exact definition from our friends at Wikipedia: A content management system (CMS) is a computer system that allows publishing, editing, and modifying content as well as site maintenance from a central page. It provides a collection of procedures used to manage workflow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based…Easy to understand right?
So here are a couple things to consider when choosing a content management system.

1. What are you looking to do with your website? Whether it be from marketing to eCommerce, to developing a full enterprise with your website, you need to know what you are trying to do, or what the overall goal of the website is to start on anything. It makes the next steps a lot easier.

2. “Open Source” or “Proprietary”. Now, this is a whole different discussion for later date. However, in terms of choosing a CMS, there are mainly 2 types of CMS’s. One is “Open Source”, where there is a social community of coders that contributes and builds the CMS are openly offered for free to use. The other is “Proprietary, or Commercial”, where the CMS is developed by one main company that charges a licensing fee to use, modify it, or work on it.

On top of that there are a large number of different CMS’s that specialize in different things(Here's a top 10 list of some). Some do things very well, and lack in other areas, while other excel in one area and lack in the other. All of them claim to do everything, from the smallest of the small business sites, to the biggest of big in full enterprise sites. Which brings us to the next thing to consider...

3. What is the Resource footprint? How much are you willing to dedicate to working with the CMS. Some CMS’s require a couple coders, plus maybe even an administrator to be constantly working with the CMS and your business. Some require substantially less coding knowledge and therefore less dedicated resources. Therefore, a marketing person would be able to add content to the site no problem with some CMS’s, but with others you would need an administrator to do exactly what the marketing person wanted.

A list of CMS logos4. Determining your end market needs. Some CMS’s are geared toward a certain area. One example would be EzPublish. EzPublish is geared towards more traditional publishing tactics. So if you want your marketing content of what you make a brochure out of to just be put up on a website, than that’s easy. If you are looking for a specific medium, such just web or just mobile, there are certain CMS’s you should lean towards. In addition, there are very large and rich CMS’s that can administer both.

5. Are you looking to just build a website or do something even more? Building a website is really great. In today’s world with innovation coming every day, a lot companies are looking to take it even further and develop custom website applications. A web application basically means something that has a specific function such as punching in a zip code in a website and getting a map of lowest gas prices. CMS’s can be the platform in which that can be done. Open Source frameworks are lot easier to make web applications with because of the resources at one’s disposal for free without a licensing fee.

However, sometimes, you don’t want to investigate any of this. That’s where CommonPlaces comes in. We have over 15 years in the internet industry and have been keeping up on these things since the beginning of it all. We’re technology agnostic, which means we have no lean towards one technology or the other, and always find the right technology that fits specific business needs. So we make sure we meet and exceed all your expectations.

Stay tuned for more head to head comparisons and more in depth looks at some today’s leading CMS’s.

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