Choosing a content management system, or CMS, to support your business’ online presence is a very important process. In our blog post “Choosing The Best CMS For You,” we’ve done an in-depth dive on each of the three most popular open source CMS platforms on the market today. However, before you immerse yourself in the different benefits and features of each available platform, you should first define and prioritize your business’ needs. This guide includes the most important questions to ask when choosing a CMS platform.
IMPORTANT! Before you ask yourself any of the below questions, first consider the following: If you’re already using a CMS and are looking to make a change, you should build your list of priority features by taking a look at your current pain points. It might surprise you how often Liquid Web technicians work with customers who want to upgrade, but haven’t taken the time to list their reasons why. A solid understanding of why your current system isn’t working for you will make the process of choosing a new CMS that much easier.
Does your business have goods or services to sell on your site?
Many different CMS’s offer ecommerce capabilities for online stores both small and large, some through plugins or modules and some were built primarily for ecommerce. As you research the possibilities keep in mind how robust of an online store you need, ease of use, who will be maintaining the site, how many products and services you have, and what payment options you want to offer. Of the major open-source CMS platforms, Joomla is most well known for its ecommerce capability, however WordPress and Drupal are also great options.
Does your business need to support multiple sites through the same CMS installation?
Make sure any potential CMS’s multi-site support is done in a way that fits your business and is easy for you to manage. In our blog detailing the pros and cons of the major open-source CMS platforms, we mention that Drupal excels at multi-site support. However, other open source platforms (like WordPress and Joomla) are more than capable, depending on your needs.
Will your site collect or store sensitive data?
If so, you’ll need to make sure your future CMS platform is capable of securing that data, and be compliant with any industry regulations, like HIPAA. In addition, you’ll want a CMS that proactively updates their software to protect against online attacks and breaches. The good news is, all of the major open source CMS options are known for maintaining updated software to keep you secure! Of course it’s still important that you follow best security practices, like these tips to make sure your website is secure.
Do you need to provide a community platform for users or employees?
If you need a community forums for users to interact on – or even an internal forum for employees – it’s important you find a CMS to provide exactly what you need. Depending on how extensive you need your community forum to be, there are plenty of CMS’s that can provide the service. As we note in our blog describing the major CMS platforms in depth, Drupal is often touted as ideal for community platforms.
Will your site administrators or content editors have a platform preference?
Despite offering many of the same features, each CMS platform has a different look and feel and might appeal to different site admins, especially depending on how technically-inclined your team is. The best way to determine the usability of any CMS is to have your team test out the interface. All of the major open source platforms are known for being relatively easy to use, however WordPress is considered by most to be the easiest to use.
Side note: Of course, if you ever find yourself needing more support than your team can provide, most CMS platforms come with a myriad of support options, either through your host or through a large online community. It’s worth noting that WordPress Hosting is known for having the largest support community online – that’s not to say, though, that the other major open source platforms lack in support.
Choosing a CMS to support your online presence is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly – it needs to be able to support all of your current needs and provide the capability for any growth you see in the future, all while being easy to use and maintain. This guide will help focus your needs, prioritize them, and make researching potential CMS platforms that much easier. After considering these features, check out our in-depth review of the three most popular CMS platforms on the market and see if they fit your needs. As always, our Heroic Support® is available 24/7/365 to answer any questions you have.