Back to Blog
Sep 22 2016
Choosing your Content Management System (CMS) is as important as choosing the name of your business: it will influence every decision you make thereafter. The type of CMS you choose will affect the kind of site you build, how you make changes to your site, not to mention how frustrated or happy your future employees will be as you build your empire. Before you make such an important digital business decision, spend a bit of time considering your answers to these questions.
What Kind Of Site Are You Building?I’m often asked these questions: “How long does it take to make a website and how much does it cost?” I like to answer with another question: “Imagine you asked me to build a truck. Are you looking for one made of Lego or a Dodge?” It’s impossible to answer how long or how expensive a site build will be without knowing what you are building. Consider the following criteria as a starting point:
- Will your site have ecommerce?
- Will your site be available in multiple languages?
- Will your site have 10 pages or 10,000?
- Will your site have any complex functionality like external database integration or in-site tools?
How Often Will You Make Major Changes?The point of this question is to determine what kind of version control and sandbox tools you will need. It might not be possible to know exactly how often you’ll make changes, but consider whether you are setting up:
- A calling card - this is a space to show off your business and tell your customers what you’re about, where they can find you, and how they can get in touch.
- A blog - from a personal journal space to a full-blown publication, this type of site will likely include commenting, publishing shareable bits of content, as well as archiving and scheduling functions.
- A tool - are you building a game? Facebook? This type of site is the product you are selling, rather than being a place that shows pictures of what you’re selling.
Who Will Use Your CMS?This may be the single most important consideration. The person or team making the decision about which CMS to use may not be the day-to-day user, so make sure you have the input of that user. Consider the following:
- How many people will be making changes to your site? Will they be working at the same time? You will likely need some kind of version control and the ability to lock a piece of content for editing.
- Will they all be administrators or do you need different levels of access? For example, do you want to have final approval over changes or is everyone equally able to publish?
- Will your CMS users be technical people? Some systems allow you to build and manage a site without ever seeing so much as an <h1>, but you may need more in-depth control.
- Will you be updating from a mobile device? Mobile usage is only increasing, and more and more you’ll need business tools that offer you that on-the-go flexibility.
What Is Your Budget?Like many business decisions, it all comes down to the money. Doing your homework upfront will ensure you don’t buy a sports car when you need a sensible commuter. Many solutions will offer a tiered option to fit your needs, but some of the considerations will be:
- What kind of support do you need? Do you have an internal team to troubleshoot issues or will you need 24/7 support?
- How secure does your site need to be? A government’s tax website will have different security demands that a local dog groomer’s. An open-source platform like Drupal offers a high level of security.
- Is hosting and domain registration part of the package?