As mentioned in last weeks' blog post How to judge the usability of a CMS, this week we'll take a closer look and go into more in depth. Today there's a myriad of options available when you’re looking for the right CMS to build your website. In this post we want to share some advice on what you should consider when choosing a CMS.
First of all, you want to take a note of what your requirements are and what goals you want to achieve. Go from fuzzy, general goals like “we want to have a website” to clearer defined goals like “we want to give our customers the opportunity to buy our products online”. From there onward, write down must-have, should-have and could-have criteria for your ideal solution.
Once you have that list, you can start to filter systems on the market. Don’t whittle it down too much at this point, just reduce the list of CMS solutions until you have those that fulfill at least your must haves. Use the questions in the following sections to rate your list.
The CMS market constantly changes, old systems are taken off the market and new players emerge. When choosing your CMS, you don’t want to decide on a system that’s taken off market during your websites lifetime. However, with a system too new, there's no data available on its’ stability or continued development - additionally the ecosystem is smaller and there are less potential support partners. If you can, you should take a look at the history and the potential future of the CMS you’re looking at.
While the CMS itself is an important factor you should also look at its ecosystem.
When choosing a CMS there's significant focus on the design and usability of the website you will build with it. That is understandable as your visitors are your primary focus. Read more.
Make sure the CMS allows any type of design.
But you should also focus on two other parts of the system - usability for editors and usability for developers.
After defining your goals and requirements do a projection on expected gain. For example calculate how much value your CMS will yield in one, two, three and four years. To get a reasonable time frame define a point in your future where you think the solution you will implement now will not return significant profit anymore and calculate your profit until that point. Read more.
Now that you know how much profit you estimate on making, you have a baseline for calculating your ROI. On the cost side you have to consider at least the following questions:
These are all pretty direct cost factors, but there are also some indirect ones, for example:
After answering all these questions for the content management systems you are considering, you should get a ranking. Weigh the answers according to your priorities and you’ll have a pretty good idea which system is the right one for you.