So you want to build a new website. Great! You’ve done an exhaustive self-audit of your messaging, identity, and the content at your disposal. You’ve researched the competition, and you know your target audience. In the process of it all, you’ve likely come to realize that you’re going to need a CMS to achieve your content strategy goals.
A CMS, or Content Management System, is a way to easily update a site through an administrative interface, most commonly a webpage in your browser. Typically, a web development partner will build this for you, avoiding the need for you to have in-depth knowledge of HTML and other code requiring developer skills and experience.
Additionally, your developer can probably provide you with templated pages featuring blocks or sections you can customize to your needs.
Easy peasy, right? Not so fast.
Which CMS is Right for My Business?
Finding the right CMS is a lot like buying a car. There isn’t one solution that fits everyone’s needs. Some drivers want a minivan that can haul half the t-ball team, even if it means compromising style and flash. Another driver, however, may be dead-set on a high-performance sports car with only enough seats for her and her teacup poodle companion. Meanwhile, another buyer might be looking for a huge, go-anywhere, drag-anything four-wheel pickup, no matter the price tag. And, in every market, there’s the no-nonsense economy car shopper.
Like vehicles, CMSs vary in cost, capability, and scale. There is a large open source catalog with popular options including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Many have free options to get you started with little or no initial investment. They have large development communities, varied templates to get you up in running in relatively short order, especially if you don’t want to pay for a custom-designed site, and offer a plethora of plugins to enhance their capability and functionality.
On the other end of the spectrum you have large, enterprise-level CMSs offered by companies such as Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, etc. They require a substantial investment of both money and implementation. They offer endless scaling opportunities, but often have an extremely high learning curve and will require a team dedicated to maintaining the platform.
A third choice is the full-custom option, where your developer builds you a CMS from scratch. This may be fairly costly, but should allow you all the content management abilities you need, and none of the distractions you don’t.
Choosing the right CMS, as with any important marketing decision, can’t be effectively sorted out and decided in a single blog post like this…or even a single meeting. This is one of the decisions you owe your company and brand to make with the help of a trusted partner.
First Things First
There are a few questions you can start by asking yourself right now. The more clarity you can reach on these issues now, the better off you’ll be at decision time.
- What is my budget?
- What content will my site be serving, and how often will it change?
- What third party databases and technologies need to tie into the website?
- Who will be updating and adding new content in the CMS?
- What kind of outside support will be required to keep the website running and current?
- What future functionality and scalability do I anticipate?
- What components of my website are mission-critical to our daily business?
- Who do I trust to help me make these decisions?
Knowing some or all of the answers to these questions at the outset of your CMS journey will give you a big head-start. It’s best to know where you stand on the issues above and let them guide your CMS decision-making; not the other way around.
Ready to grab the keys and start your own CMS conversation? DKY has experience working with a wide variety of content management systems, and a vast network of strategic development partners who specialize in finding the right fit. Contact us today.