When deciding to build or update a website, it’s best to approach the project with an open mind, rather than a one-size fits all mentality. If you think deciding on a Content Management System (CMS) is quick process, you should take a step back and begin with a Discovery phase. Lay out all of the essentials that will need to be met in order to ensure a successful outcome.
A few things to decide on ahead of time include:
- Your overall marketing strategy
- Current and future content needs
- Analytics requirements
- 3rd party integrations
- SEO goals
- …and much more.
Having the right system in place is critical to your organization’s agility and long-term success. So, what steps should you be taking to ensure that your next one is your last?
Here are some questions to consider when making an important decision like this.
Does Your Project Even Need A CMS?
At their core, content management systems are good at enabling marketing teams to make changes to the site’s text, images, media and more. However, if the project involves e-Commerce functionalities, the system you choose would be a small part of the overall solution. You must ask yourself what it is you want your website to do, as this will help guide you down the correct path.
Once you establish the main functionality of your site, you want to find a Content Management System that does that particular functionality better than the rest. If a blog is the main focus of your site, then choose a platform such as WordPress would make sense. Is rich media your main focus? Consider choosing something like Koken. If you’re building an e-Commerce site, then a solution like OpenCart or Magento might be best.
Creating an elaborate list of the features and functionalities you want on your website will save you a lot of time, money and energy in the long run.
How Is Your Current System Performing?
It is a very good possibility that you already have a CMS solution in place. During this time, you might want to reflect on how you are currently using it and if it’s really working for you. This could spark a more in-depth conversation around server requirements, scalability, SEO, security, support and other criteria. Many of those things might be outside your wheel-house - but that’s what your IT staff is there for.
Now that you’ve asked yourself some of these important questions, there are some other factors to consider moving forward.
Ease of Use
Although a developer may be implementing the CMS solution for you, it is more likely that you or your marketing team will be the ones responsible for updating the site’s content and interacting with the management system on a daily basis. When choosing a content management system, you want your choice to allow you to do your job easily.
The templating engine should give you complete creative control. Whatever your CMS choice is, it should allow you to design pages the way you want.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best. There’s always a chance that you are going to run into some sort of problem, despite what CMS you choose. Having somewhere you can turn to for advice on how to fix problems is invaluable. Whether it be tech support or a user community, these are important services to consider.
Still unsure on what content management solution your project needs? Feel free to shoot me a question on Twitter @morsecodemedia.