9 questions to ask before choosing your Open Source CMS
Your CMS is a fundamental element of your content marketing campaign. No matter the quality of your content, if your CMS can not display and manage it properly, it will not have half the impact it deserves.
This may seem obvious, but it is important that your CMS can follow your company's ambition and eventually growth. Choosing a CMS is an important decision that you will not be able to easily change. You need to be sure that the one you select fulfils your expectations.
Here are some questions you may like to consider before selecting a new CMS.
Is the CMS easy to use?
Want to easily add new pages and update your content without the help of someone with technical skills? You will need to be sure that the CMS you choose makes it easy to download content, update text, add images and videos, insert links, and update other types of content. Most platforms are easy to use and enable website owners to use them without advanced technical coding skills.
Indeed, you'll want a CMS that is intuitive and user-friendly for the most technologically advanced and less experienced members of your team.
The interface of the back office (i.e the administrative panel) should correspond to your business needs and facilitate the management of the site (intuitive to use, customizable interfaces, dashboards etc.).
Does the cost of the CMS fit your budget?
In addition to hosting costs and the cost of the domain name, you need to take into account the human input and associated costs that the development of your site will require. Whether you have resources in-house or have depend on an agency, the higher the demands on your budget, the greater interest you'll have in a CMS platform that enables you to be operational quickly.
Typically, we find that small ecommerce sites favor Prestashop or Magento whereas blogs and corporate sites will use WordPress to Drupal. Similarly, for a high traffic site with a lot of content, eZ Platform would be the CMS of choice.
Is the platform secure?
First you need to ensure that the CMS you have chosen enables you to assign different access rights to the people who will work on your site. Generally different users would be expected to have different levels of access so it's important that you can define these roles as an initial way of securing the site.
In addition, Content Management Systems are one of the main targets of hackers and other cyber criminals and the most popular have serious security issues that need to be considered. It's important that you ask about the security features implemented by the CMS and learn how to use them
A good place to find out more is to check out the Hacked Website Trend Report for the most commonly infected CMS Platforms.
Does the CMS make it easy to link with or integrate to other applications?
For both Marketing or Sales departments, it will be essential that your Open Source CMS can connect to third-party applications. Marketing, for instance, may require a solution that easily integrates with marketing automation, business intelligence or KPI tracking tool. Sales would be interested in connecting a CRM solution like SalesForce to this new CMS.
Therefore check that these connections are easily feasible between the solution you have chosen and your third-party applications
Is the CMS SEO friendly?
Choosing the wrong CMS could alter all your SEO efforts and your SEO would be highly damaged.
Here's some considerations to think about in relation to SEO:
- How does the platform go about rewriting URLs?
- Does the platform allow users to write unique titles and page descriptions?
- Does the CMS come with or integrate with SEO tools?
The vast majority of CMS have plugins or extensions that allow users to fully manage the site's SEO, including page descriptions, titles, etc. while others support the technical aspects of SEO for you.
Does the CMS enable workflows?
When it comes to the CMS selection process it's worth including a request in your RFP for the ability to create workflows. Workflows make it possible to create tasks, assign permissions to different people and/or roles and follow their progress. For example, an author on your site could write articles and, at the end of the writing of them, assign them to a reviewer before publishing.
In other words, having a workflow makes it possible to have several tasks and ongoing projects with different people responsible for completing them throughout the cycle. This reduces the need to manually monitor tasks and actions and this creates a more open information culture.
Does the CMS provide technical support?
You have found the ideal CMS? Awesome! Don't celebrate just yet. Are you sure it has flawless technical support? It would be unfortunate if you could not connect to the CMS for one reason or another and there'd be no one to help you.
Check that the CMS solution provider has a strong community. The bigger it is, the easier it will be for you to have timely answers to your questions. If you go through an agency for the development of your site, it's more likely that they will be your intermediary in resolving any potential issues you have.
Does the CMS enable you to manage several websites?
Managing multiple sites daily can quickly become very time consuming. If your company manages several or even many websites, ensure you select a CMS that enables you to manage them via the same platform. This will bring various benefits:
- Ability to maintain and secure only one platform
- Centralized data
- Centralization of the backend
Another consideration, in addition to saving you time, is that setting up multisites using one CMS will save you money. And if you are looking for your web presence to be multilingual, make sure your CMS can easily handle this feature.
Is the CMS design easily customizable?
Depending on the time and resources you have, consider the ease of use of the CMS in terms of design. Can it easily create or import templates? Does it work in WYSIWYG? Can someone in the marketing department easily create a landing page or will they need to call upon someone with strong technical skills?
Ultimately the choice of your CMS will depend on your project and your goals. Having correctly articulated these then you will be able to make a checklist of all the parameters essential for the selection of your CMS.
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