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5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a CMS for your Website

jasonlimon profile image Jason Limon ・5 min read

According to Forrester, around 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage, whether it be a website, social media pages, mobile, or in person. This makes it imperative for business owners to purchase quality website development services to ensure they have the right “backbone” or “Content Management System” for their website. Your CMS is the heart of your website. No matter how compelling or well-crafted your write-ups are, if your CMS cannot display and manage your content properly, you’re missing out on a pool of potential customers.

Choosing the right Content Management System for your enterprise is crucial for taking control of your website content. A good CMS not just helps you design and manage your website, but also make it more engaging to your target audience. However, picking the right one can be tricky. With hundreds of CMSs available today each with unique strengths, levels of complexity, the range of licenses, and nearly endless bugs and shortcomings, finding the best match for your business can be quite overwhelming.

Here are some great questions that you really need to keep in mind when choosing a Content Management System for your site.

1) Is it open source or closed source?

It is important to know whether the CMS you’re about to choose is open source or closed source. Open source CMSs are free to use and are predominantly developed, supported and maintained by a community of developers and collaborators.

In contrast, closed source systems, also known as proprietary software systems, involve a hefty upfront fee which you’ll have to pay monthly or annually based on your subscription plan. They are distributed under a licensing agreement to authorized users or companies with private modification, copying, and republishing restrictions.

Another major drawback of a proprietary software system is that it has a less learning curve than an open source system.

2) Does it provide blogging or publishing tools?

It’s no secret that publishing content on your company’s blog or third-party websites is a central part of both your SEO and content marketing strategy. Thus, to make your business found online and stand out from the crowd, it’s essential to have a robust CMS that lets you easily publish engaging, quality content across several platforms.

Also, make sure it provides a good range of blogging and publishing tools. A good example is WordPress – the most popular and widely-used CMS for blogging with a good standard of publishing tools, as well as a large ecosystem of available themes and plug-ins from third parties.

Squarespace is the next most popular blog-based Content Management System after WordPress. Although these CMSs are excellent for blogging or publishing, you may require quality website development services to get the most out of these powerful platforms.

3) Does it support multiple websites or pages?

Make sure the CMS you’re choosing supports the use of multiple websites or pages. If you have numerous websites for different aspects of your business, you’d love to pick a CMS which allows you to integrate and manage them all from one place.

In that scenario, you’ll be allowed to edit all your websites from one dashboard instead of having to log into multiple sites, which saves you time and allows you to focus on the core functions of your business.

This way, all of your content will be stored in one place, thus freeing you from the mess of switching between multiple systems and making sure your data is consistent throughout your organization. This eliminates the possibility of data silos, encourages better team collaboration, and leads to better content efficiency.

4) Is it easy to learn and use?

Keep in mind that what might be intuitive to one user might be completely alien to another. So, to get the most bang for your buck, it’s always recommended to choose a CMS that is easy to learn and use, even for those who’ve never coded before. It can help your business save time and resources, especially when hiring new employees.

Make sure to check whether the CMS requires any special skills or training. Figure out whether you’ll require an expert to manage the software for you or will you be able to manage it on your own. If you’re familiar with languages such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, or PHP, then platforms like Drupal, Magento, or SilverStripe could be a good place to start.

A demo can be of great assistance in this scenario to help you decide which one is best suited to the needs and skills of your staff. Besides ease of use, a good CMS also provides highly customized functionalities and features that help your brand develop a goal-driven website with an incredible user experience.

5) Does it help maintain or even improve your SEO rankings?

It won’t do you any good if you choose a CMS that hinder your search engine optimization activities. If you’re aiming to improve your search engine rankings, or at least maintain your current rankings, then you’ll need to check the SEO capabilities of a CMS before deciding upon it. It is always wise to choose SEO-friendly CMSs as they:

  • Allow you to customize page metadata, which includes page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and image alt text.
  • Assist you in internal linking, which involves drop-down navigation menus and effectual internal link structures.
  • Make your website mobile-ready (combination of responsive and mobile friendly). An SEO-friendly CMS helps you deliver content seamlessly to your customers across all devices.

The vast majority of Content Management Systems come with an array of plugins or extensions that allow users to fully manage their website’s SEO. Some CMSs like Squarespace handles the technical SEO aspects for you.

Which CMS is right for your business

Long story short, choosing a Content Management System is a tough ask. This checklist is a good place to start, especially if you’re a beginner. Hopefully, the above-mentioned questions will narrow down your options and help you pick a CMS that fits your existing infrastructure stack, specific business goals, and technical competence.

Need help migrating to a new CMS platform? Feel free to reach out to us, we’d be happy to have a conversation. We provide best-in-class website development services at affordable prices in Carlsbad, and throughout the United States.

Discussion

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Ian bradbury

I highly recommend Ghost.

ghost.org

twitter.com/tryghost

Open source. Great features. Clean. Very clean. And they have a hosting offer just in case you need it.