5 Steps to Choosing the Right Software for Your Website
With the software landscape ever evolving, selecting the “best” software for a business website can bewilder and confound. It’s a complex, high-impact decision. One thing’s for sure: everyone wants software for their website that’s smooth and safe. Plus powerful, of course.
And everyone will also want a professional partner to implement and maintain their website.
A lot has happened in the software field in the past decades and some techniques have radically changed. How does one make a wise software choice with the vast variety there is to choose from?
Step 1: Investigate general software options
First off, there are two major developments that have had an especially strong impact on the website software solutions available today.
Content management systems
In the beginning, those many web years ago, web pages used to be built by hand. And the HTML code – which was also the content for each individual page – was assembled into files. When changes needed to be made to content, you had to fiddle around with that code. A time-consuming issue, to say the least. In the meantime, content management systems (a.k.a. CMS) grew and expanded.
In CMSs, code and content are nicely separated from each other. This gives you an interface that lets you easily make your own changes to your website and keep your site current, letting it grow as your business grows.
Proprietary and open source software
It also used to be a question as to which proprietary software to use. Today, with open source software having revolutionized the IT world, the range of choice is far wider. Before deciding on which software you want, you have to decide whether you want proprietary or open source software for your business.
The general move to open source software has been a fundamental shift. And although one misconception stubbornly prevails: it’s not about saving money. Open source software is about gaining control over your digital world! And that’s only one of the many good reasons for opting for a well-maintained open source system.
Step 2: Explore your CMS software options
Do you expect your business and your website to grow?
Choosing software that’s not powerful enough can be a hurdle further along the road.
Will your website be in more than one language?
You’ll want this to be simple to handle.
Will you need your backend to be in various languages too?
You’ll want so-called localizations to be part of the system you choose.
Do you need to integrate social media?
Login or share via common social networks and blogging should be easy to integrate.
Do you need to incorporate third-party software?
Do you need a PSP (payment service provider)? A PIM system (product information management)? Or a marketing automation software(MAS)?
Will you need to migrate content from your old website?
Does your website need to be responsive?
Which shouldn’t be a question in today’s day and age. :-)
Step 3: Evaluate the CMS software
The CMS market is constantly changing. You should take a look at both the past, the present and the potential future of the CMS you’re looking into. You don’t want to decide on a system that may be taken off the market during your website’s lifetime!
How long has the software been around?
Is it actively maintained? Are there regular updates?
How long are the support periods?
Is there a clear road map for update releases and are these dates published well in advance?
How long are the release cycles and do they fit in with my running systems?
Is there a security guide?
How many security issues have there been in the past?
How were those security issues handled?
Step 4: Investigate the CMS ecosystem
While the CMS itself is important, you should also take a closer look at its ecosystem.
If you have problems with the software, who do you turn to?
Is there professional support for the software system?
Is it only 1 vendor providing support or can you choose?
How many users does the system have? Is it well established?
Who else uses the software? Are there case studies?
Step 5: Take action!
It’s always difficult to know what to include and what to leave out in compilations of this sort and ultimately the choice has been a personal one. Hopefully, after you’ve answered these questions, you have a clearer picture of what you really want and need, and can start evaluating the alternatives.
You’ll notice that TYPO3 CMS comes off pretty well in all of the relevant questions. TYPO3 CMS helps you create powerful experiences that are smoother, safer, and more comfortable for people, be it website visitors or those handling the backend. It’s an open source CMS that’s backed by a commercial arm - that’s us, the TYPO3 GmbH. :-)
One of the services we provide is the TYPO3 Partner Program that allows our partners to stand out and extend their reach. Use our search tool to find a qualified partner for your project!