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Choosing The Right Content Management System For Your Business

Choosing The Right Content Management System For Your Business

March 2021

Content Management System (CMS) is a software that is used to manage,create and modify your organization’s digital content. Although there are a lot of CMS’s available for you to use, it is important that you choose the one that best fits your company’s needs.

Reviewing the questions below is a good starting point and can help you sift out and select the CMS that will help you achieve the objectives for your organisation.

What do you want the website to achieve?

It is important to be clear on this at the onset as this will define the entirety of your organization’s CMS needs. Are you looking to sell online? Provide online courses? Do you want to create a digital portal for your services? The objectives are varied and so it will be more beneficial if you’re more specific in your answer to this question.

What functionality is required to achieve this?

After you’ve answered the “What” question, let’s now ascertain the “How”. The key to this question is to determine how you can make your website easy to use and convenient for your customers. Think of the various steps that your typical customers go through when purchasing your services and then list the different functions you’d like your website to have to make each step as stress-free as possible.

Are there any technical areas or functionality which may make one CMS better than the other?

Each CMS comes with its own features. So keep yourself up-to-date and informed through extensive research. Are the features included useful for you and your customers?

Open source vs SaaS based

One of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a CMS is the type of technology that it uses. This aspect can be intimidating for new entrepreneurs more so for those deemed as technologically challenged. However, we hope the key points we’ve presented below can help you visualize how each is built, how things run in the backend and its impact on your business.

There are 2 types of platforms available, namely, Open source and SaaS based. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages.

Open-source Content Management Systems

Open-source software (OSS) is software in which the source code is freely available to its users. The source code is released by the copyright holder under a license wherein users are granted the rights to modify it for any purpose. Popular options include Wordpress, Drupal, Umbraco, Magento. Whilst the code for the application is made available freely, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the platform is free of costs - there are still costs that apply when it comes to implementation or use of the tool, especially where the functionality is needed to be adapted to suit the needs of your business.

Pros are:

  1. There is often good community support and additional modules / functions that can come from various sources
  2. Good documentation.
  3. Portable and easy to find resources that can support them
  4. No or minimal license costs

Cons are:

  1. Depending on your specific needs, functionality may not exist and may need to custom develop from scratch.
  2. Risks around security and need for ongoing maintenance
  3. Don’t come with any support should an issue arise

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a web-based software made available to its users through a monthly subscription. Popular options include Squarespace, Webflow, Shopify, Hubspot Enterprise CMS

Pros are:

  1. All (most) maintenance and updates are managed by the provider directly
  2. Simple monthly fee which covers service, hosting and updates
  3. Security benefits and peace of mind
  4. Some include drag/drop type editors which streamline development

Cons are:

  1. Rigid or fixed functionality
  2. Black box - no transparency in some cases which can limit customisation or impact features/functionality in the future depending on your needs
  3. Ongoing cost of plugins / modules can add up, depending on your needs
  4. Functionality your business needs may not be supported -- wait time for the platform to develop or gaps with regards to what your website will be doing
  5. If selling products online, some providers take a % of sales

Making the right decision

Before deciding on your content management system, we’d like to recommend the following steps:

  1. Focus on features and functionality primarily - there will be some obvious choices for the selection of content management systems based on the bigger picture items that you need to achieve.
  2. Understand the resources required - can you develop this with your in house team, or do you need a specialist web developer?
  3. Understand the ongoing requirements - hosting, support, future development, updates and security. Check to ensure you have someone that can provide ongoing support for your web platform where required
  4. Understand impact of costs (upfront, license based and ongoing)
  5. Try before you buy - seek out the specific vendor to review demo sites or other similar sites you can review before making a decision

So, how can we help?

Assure Digital is a CMS-agnostic provider that focuses on helping you and your business choose the right content management system for your business needs. We've supported businesses with the content management system selection process, right the way through the website development and migration process. To find out more about how we can help you get started on your next web build - contact us, we'd love to help you get everything underway.


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Kurt is the Head of Strategy of Assure Digital and leads a team of specialists focused on creating high performance website solutions.