Content management systems

Choose the best CMS for your business

Guide

Choosing a content management system (CMS) is a complex task. It requires careful consideration of features, costs, scalability, integration and, most of all, your business needs.

How to choose the right CMS platform?

Most businesses begin the selection process by making sure that they have a solid understanding of their business - its current and future needs and content management practices. Come up with a clear set of requirements that the CMS should meet and decide from the start what you can and can't do without.

It's a good idea to prioritise your CMS requirements using the MoSCoW method:

  • must-have: critical features you can't work without
  • should-have: features you consider equally important but not time-critical
  • could-have: features you desire but aren't critical for performance
  • would have: features that seem nice but are not required or appropriate at this time

Prioritising features in this way will give you a requirement matrix against which you can assess different solutions and their functionality.

Remember to speak to different teams in your business to take in their requirements and organisational needs too. For example:

  • your IT team could need a CMS that fits with the existing infrastructure stack
  • your sales team might want CRM or e-payment systems integration
  • your marketing team might desire automation or digital marketing capabilities

If you're planning to sell products or services from your website, make sure the platform you choose is suitable for e-commerce. See examples of important CMS features and functions.

Key decision points to consider when choosing a CMS

Some of the common critical factors in choosing a new content management system are:

  • ease of use
  • level of technical knowledge needed to use the CMS effectively
  • type of platform (eg open source, proprietary or cloud)
  • core or 'out of the box' features and capabilities
  • customisation (ie ease of adding new features and functionality)
  • third-party integration (eg with CRM or e-commerce platform)
  • scalability
  • responsiveness
  • ease of deployment
  • design flexibility
  • security
  • level of support (communities, forums, user support, maintenance etc)

You must also consider budget and licensing when choosing a CMS. Some platforms are free while others will require a purchase. Be realistic about the initial costs as well as ongoing fees, for example for licence renewals, hosting or future development.

Every project will be different, but the factors covered above should help you narrow down possible choices to a select few that may fit your specific business requirements. If possible, watch a demo, speak to current users and try out the software first, before making the final choice.

How to find the right CMS supplier

The process of finding the right CMS supplier is similar to that for choosing any other IT supplier. You need to deal with someone you can trust, and who will support you throughout the process. You'll also need a CMS supplier who can meet your requirements at a price you can afford. Find more tips on how to choose an IT supplier for your business.