A content management system – also known as a CMS – helps you keep track of the information on your website and behind the scenes. Choosing the right system for your website can be a challenge, however, since there are hundreds of different products on the market. These programs can be commercial programs by a major software manufacturer or open-source programs that are constantly being updated for the users by a base group of programmers. If you have no idea where to start when you’re trying to decide on the right system for your website, consider these five questions.
1. What’s your goal?
Since no two CMS’ are the same you need to decide exactly what you are going to use the program for. Some of the CMS’ available on the market are great for personal websites while other programs are perfect for your e-commerce corporate site. You need to take into consideration things such as blogs, intranet needs or social network needs when you are deciding which CMS to use. Most of the content management systems available are geared towards a specific purpose so you need to outline your goals carefully.
2. What functionality do you require?
This question goes hand in hand with the first one. Because CMS’ vary greatly, some programs will be better for some needs than others. There are CMS’ available that can support forums, polls, or WYSIWYG editors while others will not support these features. You will need to research how these functions are handled by the CMS you are interested in using in order to make sure it will do exactly what you need it to.
3. Is the program compatible with the web hosting program you are using?
When you research the CMS program you want to use you will have to be sure that it is compatible with the web server that you are using. Not all web hosting companies can support the many different CMS’ that are on the market. A good example of this is that some web hosting servers will only support PHP systems while other will cater to specialty languages such as Ruby on Rails. If you are going to use a CMS with a database function, you will need to verify that the hosting company will support the database language, such as MySQL or MS SQL. Also, check the versions of your software to ensure that your hosting service can handle the newest ones on the market.
4. Can the CMS be customized?
You may not use every feature of the CMS that you choose so customization is essential. If you cannot customize the CMS you are using, then you will be left with features that are simply in your way. Additionally, some CMS’ come with special themes you can use. You need to take all of these factors into your decision when choosing the right program for your needs.
5. Does the CMS come with support?
Regardless of what type of CMS you use you need to make sure that it comes with adequate customer support. The technical support the vendor offers is important if you use a commercial product, and if you use an open source product make sure it has an active user community.