Shopping for a CMS

June 22nd, 2015By Amanda Blumeyer
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What is a CMS and how do I choose one?

A CMS is a “Content Management System”, and it’s the basic platform on which a website is built. From WordPress and Drupal to Magento and even custom CMSs, there are a lot of potential CMS options out there. But how do you know which one is right for you?

The two basic criteria you need to focus on when shopping around for a CMS are:

  • Does this CMS support my needs?
  • Is it easy to use?

To get more specific, start by asking yourself the following questions:

RE: CONTENT

  • Who will manage content? How tech-savvy is this person? Do they have experience with HTML and coding, or will they be primarily using content editors to manage site content?
  • How often will you be updating content? What kind of content is most frequently updated? Copy changes, image uploads, blog posts, etc.?
  • Will your site have a blog? Will the whole site BE a blog? Who will manage/update this content? Will you allow comments and if so, who will moderate them?

RE: SITE GOALS

  • What are the goals of the site? Generate/track leads? Provide information? etc.
  • How will you gauge success of the website? Analytics? What goals will you track?
  • Who is your audience? What do they want from your site?
  • How will you incorporate social media into your website?

RE: E-COMMERCE

  • What percentage of your business, if any, is e-commerce? If it’s a large portion, you may want to do use a strictly e-commerce platform, but if it’s only a small amount you might be able to get by with an e-commerce plug-in.
  • What sort of automated emails might come from your site? If it’s e-commerce, you may have order confirmations, shipping confirmations, e-receipts, etc.

RE: USERS

  • How many authenticated users will you have on your site, and what are their roles? Do you have any content that can only be accessed behind a password-protected login?

RE: SITE OPTIMIZATION

  • What steps will you take to optimize your site for search engines?
  • What custom elements will your site have? Image carousels, FAQ’s sections, calculators, etc.

RE: LANGUAGES

  • Do you need multiple language versions of the site? Some international companies make their sites available in multiple languages based on their audience.

There are a lot of CMS options on the market – some are better for high-tech gurus and others can be useful for the everyman. Some are great platforms for e-commerce and others are built primarily to support blogs. Knowing the goals, scope and limitations of your site is the key to narrowing down the right CMS for your needs.

 

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