Content management systems (CMSs) are designed to streamline the process of managing content for a website, but not all of these systems are equal in terms of functionality, usability, or aesthetics. It may seem like a minor decision, but your choice in CMS can have a lasting impact on your website management and quality of life.
There Is No Best CMS
If you’re reading this article because you want to figure out which CMS is the best one, you’re going to be disappointed. That’s because there is no such thing as the “best” CMS. While there are some CMS platforms that are clearly better than their competitors, the CMS platforms in the upper echelons tend to have complementary strengths and weaknesses.
Umbraco, for example, is often considered an ideal CMS for B2B companies – but it’s not always the best fit for B2C applications or indie bloggers. It has a host of features that are necessary for B2B companies to thrive, but that doesn’t make it a perfect fit for every situation.
Finding the best fit CMS for your company requires you to understand your own needs and your own niche as much as it requires you to understand the inner workings of the CMS.
Why Choosing a CMS Matters?
Why does choosing a CMS matter so much when they all effectively do the same thing?
1. Cost. There are many CMS platforms that are completely open-source. In other words, they’re completely free to use, even for commercial applications. But to get access to some CMS platforms, you’ll need to pay a fee or a recurring subscription. Depending on what you’re looking for, it may be worth spending the extra money, or you may prefer taking advantage of the budget option. There are certainly plenty of free CMS platforms worth using, and they can help you stay under budget.
2. Ease of use. Different CMS platforms also have very different user experiences. If you want your website management to flow as smoothly as possible, and if you want fewer headaches as you publish and manage your onsite content, it’s important to choose a platform that offers convenient ease of use. Ideally, you’ll have a platform that is so intuitive you don’t need to spend hours of time training on how to use it. Not only will this save you time initially, but it will also reduce the time you have to spend training others. On top of that, easier-to-use platforms typically present fewer complications; you’ll encounter fewer obstacles while using one, and you’ll be much better capable of resolving problems as they arise.
3. Customizability. Some brands demand a CMS with significant customizability. They don’t want a package that’s totally out-of-the-box; they want to perfect the back end of their content management experience. That said, customizability isn’t a high priority for every CMS user.
4. Security. Obviously, web security depends on your ability to adhere to general best practices with your CMS – especially simple ones, like maintaining a strong password. But the strength of your CMS also matters. If your CMS has security holes or vulnerabilities that go unpatched, it could render your entire website vulnerable to cybercriminals.
5. Access to features. Some CMS platforms are designed to be as minimalistic as possible, only offering essential features. Others are much more robust, offering a wide array of different features to control the content on your website. For some entities, these features are superfluous; for others, they’re practically necessary.
6. Support and future development. You also need to pay attention to a CMS platform’s current level of support and potential for future development. Is there a team of developers responsible for maintaining this platform? Or does this open-source platform have a thriving, stable community? Is there a road map for new features to come in the future?
7. Scalability. Finally, you’ll need to think about scalability, especially if your business is planning to grow in the future. Will you be able to maintain this CMS even as your business explodes in popularity and has much more content to distribute?
Doing Your Due Diligence
As you start searching for the perfect CMS platform for your needs, be sure to adhere to the following strategies:
- Understand your top options. When you generate a list of CMS platforms to consider, dig deep to find out all the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. You need to understand your top options, inside and out.
- Talk to the pros. Website designers and developers typically have more experience with different CMS platforms, so they can help you understand which platform will serve your needs best.
- Do competitive research. See if you can figure out which CMS platforms your competitors are using. It could help you narrow down the list or discover an option you hadn’t considered before.
- Read ratings and reviews. Ratings and reviews are excellent indications of CMS platform’s overall utility and popularity.
- Compare apples to apples. Try to compare options as directly as possible for a more objective analysis.
Your choice in CMS matters. And since there isn’t a single, “best” CMS, it’s important for you to understand your own wants and needs as you search for one. Talk to a team of professional designers and developers to get a much clearer picture of which CMS will be the best fit for your organization.