3 Questions You Gotta Ask Before Choosing a CMS

choosing a CMS

If you are in the market for a new content management system (CMS), WordPress may seem like the obvious solution. The darling of the industry, it’s the platform of choice for nearly two-thirds of the top one million websites as measured by total traffic. That puts it well ahead of the next two most popular choices, Joomla and Drupal (which garner 11 percent and 9 percent of the market, respectively), and light years ahead of the dozens of other lesser-known systems.

Though it’s tempting to follow the wisdom of crowds, don’t take your selection for granted. Ask the important questions many marketers often overlook:

1) Do you really need all the bells and whistles?

During a website redesign, we’re often biased toward solutions with more functionality, more flexibility, and more creative control. And yet the reality is that many of the add-ons deemed essential during a redesign never get used once the site is built. Resist the temptation to control things you don’t need, which will save you both time and money. (Plus, anyone who either lacks the expertise to manage a complex CMS or doesn’t have ready access to a technologist should probably go for a simpler option as well.)

2) What are your long-term plans?

Look beyond the next year or two and think about how your website might grow. Then make sure that the CMS under consideration can support that growth. For example, just because you are not using Salesforce or a marketing-automation platform on your website today, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Also ask yourself if your choice will support a growing reliance on mobile access? Will it scale effectively to include a large pool of guest contributors?

3) Is there a strong company or community backing the CMS?

Down the road, when you are ready to make significant changes to your site’s structure, layout, or presentation, you will want a CMS with an active company or community behind it. Without it, transitioning your repository of content will be a challenge — to put it lightly — assuming you are able to do so at all.

It’s particularly important to be cautious of open-source CMS options, which may not have a traditional company providing around-the-clock support. If you go the open-source route, make sure your choice has a robust community to answer questions you may have. If you purchase a content management suite, be sure the developer has the resources to support its product and be confident that the company will still be around in five or 10 years when you inevitably need to update your website.

Making your selection based on your particular circumstances — and those that may arise in the future — will serve you much better than simply following the crowd.

What CMS are you using and how happy are you with it?

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