Content management systems are tools that allow for creation, editing, publishing and deleting of content on websites. CMS stores all the content and data that is used on your website.
CMS is a popular tool for business and marketing websites. Such websites usually contain news, blogs and online shopping sites.
CMS allows you to build and edit content and view it as it would appear in the website. Therefore, you don’t have to memorize or remember anything. Any number of administrators assigned to the site can easily update the site.
The need for CMS has increased, and a wide range of CMSs have been developed to fulfill this need. Any of these CMSs could be suitable for your business. To choose one, you should follow this procedure:
1. Establish why you need a CMS
• Find out what all stakeholders want
Your business might have many departments and all of them will have a stake in the business website.
o The website designers are concerned with the structure of the site
o The editors post and edit content to the site
o Marketing needs to target consumers with ads and campaigns and will need a site that can support graphics.
o The sales and customer service departments will want a site that promotes interaction with consumers and supports online sales
o Other employees need useful content on the intranet
You should hold a meeting with all these stakeholders to establish such needs and decide what the CMS ought to do for everyone.
• Prioritize the list of wants you collected from your team
After you collect information from members of your team, you should do further research to see if there are capabilities that you need to include in your list. You cannot please anyone with this process, so you will have to decide what functionalities the site can and cannot do with.
• Settle on a budget
Consider how much you want to spend on a CMS. If your business is still small and cannot afford to buy a CMS, you can use an open source CMS as it will cost you nothing. Decide if you need to pay designers, factor in the cost of installation, training for users and technical support.
2. Research your CMS
• Background research
Contact businesses that you know and find out which CMSs they are using.
It’s sometimes better to work with a recommendation than to rely on a seller’s promotional material. A CMS might not do what it is purported to do by the seller, so be careful to confirm with people who have first and experience with it.
• Create a top 10 list
Search the internet for companies that sell CMS. Do not choose a CMS because of its popularity. There is a wide range of CMS options available so choose objectively by sticking to your list.
Narrow your pick to top 10 websites you might consider using.
• Contact the CMS Company
Contact the CMS companies in your top 10 list and ask for more information. If you are not able to get information from a CMS company, drop it from your top 10 list.
If a company is not reachable, chances are that after you buy the product, you will not get any customer support and this can be very frustrating if you really require assistance.
• Arrange for a meeting with the CMS providers to make the enquiries below:
o Find out if the vendor can be flexible with the cost of the CMS.
o Arrange for a demo session where you go to their premises or they come to yours. You can also settle for an online demo if it’s more convenient for you.
o Inquire about real life experiences of companies that have used the product. You can insist on testimonials from existing users.
o Ask about timelines for installation and expected length for switchover from your existing systems.
o Find out how much maintenance will be required once the system is in use. This might have a cost implication. Determine whether maintenance will be done as a value-added by the vendor.
o Establish how much down time the site will suffer as a result of maintenance and system updates. You don’t want to buy a CMS that will be offline for prolonged periods of time as this is bad for business.
o Make sure the CMS supports customization of templates that are built into it and can support imported templates. The front end of your site needs to be unique and customization is the only way to achieve this.
o Inquire about the process of making changes in the backend. You don’t want a CMS that requires technical assistance every time a change has to be made. The CMS should also support assignment and/or restriction of editing rights.
o Ask for a demo on the use of the intranet. The intranet should be easy to use and should only be visible to your employees. You don’t want a situation where data that should only be accessible to your employees finds its way into the public domain.
o Ask about how frequently you can expect to get new features and capabilities. As the internet and business environments are always changing, you want to work with a system that changes just as fast.
o Ensure that the CMS can support marketing options such as social media functions, tags and SEO. Such features are useful because they will help your site to rank highly on the search engines.
3. Choose your final CMS
At this point, you should be working with the top 2 CMSs. the companies that own these CMSs need to perform demos in a testing sandbox.
The site’s stakeholders will be the test subjects. Their role is to use the CMSs like they would every day, and then report any irregularities that need to be worked on further.
Your IT team should also be involved in this stage.
Depending on the consensus of the test subjects, yourself and the IT team, you should pick the best CMS and embark on rollout.
4. Implement your CMS
Implementing your CMS is a process that should be handled by your IT team. The team should come up with a timetable for the rollout process. The implementation process should give enough time for collecting feedback.
Based on how thorough the testing process was, the transition from current systems to the new system should take place seamlessly.
Barrack Diego is a developer with 8 years’ experience in project management and web design and development. He likes to share his experiences with other web enthusiast and has written articles for Bigdropinc. To find out more visit his website.