Selecting the Right Content Management System (CMS)

Today, Content Management System have become one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of the marketer.  We’ve come a long way since the times when a content management system (CMS) was just a way to manage and update the content on your website. Today, a Web Content Management Systems is a crucial component to better manage your customer’s experience with online presence of your brand.

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What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a Web application that uses a database (usually MySQL) or other methods to create, edit, and store HTML content in a manageable way. Content is created and edited on the web in an administration portion of the web application (referred to as the Backend). The resulting content is then displayed to the viewers on the regular site (referred to as the Frontend).

Wikipedia describes content management system (CMS) as computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.


“It is time to start thinking about WCM [webcontent management] beyond  just managing content or siloed websites or experiences. Instead, we need to think of how WCM will interact and integrate withother solutions– like search, recommendations, eCommerce and analytics  – in the customer experience management (CXM)ecosystem in order to enable  businesses to manage experiences across customer touch points.” — Stephen Powers, Forrester


Factors to Consider When Choosing Content Management System (CMS)

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In a market where websites need to be built faster and easier, it’s definitely a challenge to select the right CMS for your organization. The best strategy is to first evaluate your organization’s CMS needs and requirements. Then select the best software that meets these specifications at an affordable investment.

Seth Gottlieb, a 15-year veteran of the web content management industry tells says that one must looj for a vendor capable of building a “mutually beneficial partnership.”

To assist you in your search, here are some of the factors that should be evaluated while choosing a CMS system:

Ease of Use

This is perhaps the most important factor when evaluating a CMS. The website is a communication tool for your organization, and by allowing your subject matter experts to update the site, the new content can be relevant and helpful to visitors. The CMS needs to be easy for the subject matter experts to use. Easy editing leads to broader adoption, more frequent updates and better content.

Technology Platform

This is an important factor for two reasons

  1. Expertise and Knowledge of a Technology Platform – if you have an ion-house team to maintain and implement the CMS and they have expertise in a specific programming language then it may make sense to choose accordingly incidentally also minimizing the need (and cost) for training or external support.  If you are hiring a firm to do maintenance and development for you – it will do you good to make sure that the shortlisted firm has plenty of experience supporting the chosen technology platform.
  2. Ease of Integration with Legacy Applications ( if applicable ) -  You might need to ensure that the chosen CMS technology platform can easily integrate with legacy applications. If not it is often costly and time consuming to rewrite application code to make them compatible.  This is more difficult in practice today as most organization have mixed technology environments.


Content Management System Platform Support, often an overlooked criterion, is of key importance when deciding on a CMS. You might have some questions about the software or run into issues, and in such cases reaching out to an able support team to quickly get reliable advice is of paramount importance.

  1. Product Support: Licensed CMS solutions, such have dedicated support teams and fully staffed product development teams. Open source solutions don’t have product development teams, but one can seek guidance from the vast community of developers leverage their expertise in your chosen CMS.
  2. Implementation Support: Regardless of which platform you choose, implementation support has to specific to your use of the CMS, while product support refers to the support for the CMS code base. Your implementation partner should be your first line of support for all issues. They should resolve implementation related issues and refer product support issues to the vendor.

Total Cost of Ownership

Apart from the license cost of a CMS, cost of training, integrating internal/legacy applications contribute to your understanding of TCO of a Content Management System.

Other cost factors to consider are the number of contributors you plan to have, costs for multiple environments and cost of integration with your technology architecture.

The technology requirements of your firm are continuously changing. It is important to prepare your organization to evolve with these changes. The CMS that you choose should be a system that will last you for a long time. Your chosen CMS is an investment that should pay you dividends in the form of increased user satisfaction and broad adoption, and reduced reliance on technical staff time.

 Things to consider include:

  • How often the vendor releases innovative and new updates to the product.
  • How platform development is currently funded and how it will be funded over the next few years.
  • Does the CMS vendor have strong technology leadership with a mindset for staying current with market trends?

Choosing the Best Content Management System (CMS)

This quick overview is meant to provide some high level considerations for choosing the best CMS for your organization. Making that selection takes time and careful consideration. Always remember to research a CMS before investing time in it. Never forget that the main purpose of a CMS is to make creating and editing content simple and easy. Never sacrifice the user experience for functionality. Remember these things and it will drastically improve your experience with Content Management Systems.


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