When embarking on the journey of website development, a pivotal choice revolves around selecting the optimal content management system (CMS) to underpin your project's success. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing CMS , or you’re a first time shopper, the process can be quite overwhelming. With so many platforms to choose from, how do you choose the best CMS for your specific business needs and goals? And how do you differentiate the robust systems out there from the flimsy ones?
From researching and setting up demos to comparing features and pricing and more; you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you. Here’s what your business needs to think about when choosing a content management system that makes the most sense for your business, and your budget.
Open Source vs. Proprietary CMS
Amidst the diverse array of options, two prominent categories emerge: Open Source and Proprietary systems. These distinct categories bear significant implications relating to control, cost, and ownership of the underlying source code.
Open Source Software
Open Source Software, such as Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress, presents a realm of possibilities accessible to the public as they are free to download and use. These platforms are free to use and can easily modified and customized based on your business needs. They are also maintained, contributed to, and improved upon regularly by a community of developers, culminating in a versatile and adaptable toolset that can be tailored to diverse project requirements.
Proprietary Software, such as Wix and SquareSpace, are owned and managed by one company and often charge a licensing fee to use. These platforms provide user-friendly website building, enabling quick website creation. This controlled approach streamlines usability and support but curtails customization, relying on the software provider's decisions.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the right CMS.
1. Know what you want it to do
There are CMS platforms out there that do just about everything except make your coffee, and there are others that are simply meant to provide a space for publishing content. Without first defining what you need or want most out of a CMS, it can be difficult to determine what will work best for your business. Decide ahead of time what you can and can’t do without, and will make the decision-making process a whole lot easier.
2. Assess functionality and usability
How many users will need to access the platform, and what level of technical expertise do they have? Will it be used mostly by developers or marketers? Be sure to get input from team who will be using the CMS when researching your options. It doesn’t make sense to choose a CMS that the majority of your users will have a difficult time using, or that isn’t customizable to meet the specific challenges of your business.
3. Determine budget
Unless your business has an unlimited supply of funds, you’ll need to factor in your budget when making a decision. At the end of the day, can you justify the cost of a new CMS? If content management is a focal point of your business, then it makes sense to have a more complex solution. Think again about what you need the CMS to do versus what would be nice to have. When making a final decision, be sure that if you’re paying extra for a complex feature that it will actually benefit those using the platform.
Picking a CMS platform can be a long and complicated process, but if you go into it knowing exactly what you want, you’re more likely to find the perfect solution for your business.
When it comes time to analyze your Open Source CMS options contact us and we can help you with a strategy.