10 Tips for choosing the right content management system

When you are looking for a company that can build a website for you, or when you want to build one yourself, you will come across all kinds of technical terms. Like among many others, a ‘CMS’ is something you will often come across. But what is it exactly and how do you choose one that suits you best? In this article we will explain how CMS has effect on how easily you’ll be able to manage your own website. This article is written by Lemon Companies and also available via this link. 

In simple terms, a CMS is the system behind your website. The Content Management System allows you to easily manage your website. You don’t need to have a great deal of knowledge about coding in html, for example. The system is often set up in such a way that you can simply process text in it, and the models and templates will do the rest for you.

In recent years, our team has seen the negative consequences of choosing the wrong CMS system far too often. This is of course because there is a wide range of CMS vendors and products and people often do not know what to look for.

For a CMS, we look at a few different options:

Choosing a content management system is only the beginning of a long process that will only show its value in the long run. A CMS system that requires a lot of maintenance and thus hampers the ability of teams to manage content leads to an unpleasant experience. That is something we want to avoid at all costs. Because it should not be the case that a system which is supposed to make your work easier, ends up making it harder and giving you setbacks.

A common mistake that people and companies make when choosing a CMS system is to go for the cheap solution. In doing so, they underestimate the long-term costs, such as the amount of maintenance they have to do with a CMS. They also forget to coordinate the needs of their own team with the chosen system.

10 tips for choosing the right Content Management System

To choose the right CMS for your websites – and avoid making mistakes, here are 10 things we keep in mind when helping you choose the right one.

1. Don’t build custom content management software, unless being unique is very important for your brand
We get it, everyone wants something custom-made. After all, isn’t that what works best for your team’s needs? Well, that is a mistake. We have seen it go wrong often enough. This is often because your team does not have the experience and skills to handle the complexities that a CMS brings. The long-term support required often does not outweigh the cost of selecting a CMS system. Also, custom builds are more prone to errors, which doesn’t make things easier. However, sometimes it is crucial for a company or a brand to have a custom-made CMS. In that case, it is important to find the right partner to help you build the CMS, because you will often have to rely on them.

2. Make sure the developers don’t make you dependent
Make sure you choose a CMS solution that allows you and your team to focus on the work at hand, rather than spending time managing the technology. Choose a content management system that works for you and doesn’t make you constantly run back to the system’s developer.

3. Your CMS must be scalable
You don’t need to think about this. Every company should keep scalability in mind with every choice they make. A company that grows is a company that changes. This of course also affects your online story and therefore your websites and CMS system. So from the start, make sure your content management system can grow with the needs of the company.

4. A CMS should support omnichannel
You probably think you will use the CMS system for desktop or mobile websites. But remember that technology is changing rapidly, and you will probably have to grow along with these innovations. Things like AR and VR, or digital assistants, are already present these days. When we look to the future, this will only increase. So make sure your content management system can grow in the future and can be used on new channels.

5. Make sure your developers can code according to their preferences
Even if you have a good content management system, if there are no suitable programmers, it will be difficult to maintain it. So go for a system that allows your developers to code in their preferred programming language. Because often there is a specific CMS infrastructure, which only requires specialised people. Which in turn can create bottlenecks within your team’s operation.

6. Prefer support over software
Once you have the content management system, it is best to make sure there is sufficient support. If problems arise and the platform team is not immediately available, you have a problem. This is why we recommend choosing a CMS that allows your developers to work without disrupting content management. This will save your company and team a lot of time and money.

7. Test before you start!
Make sure you try out the CMS first and test it as well as possible. Because if you roll out the CMS for the entire website, and then problems surface, this will again cost a lot of time and money to fix. So be sure to take a part of the site first and test it together with your team. So that everything is clear to everyone. And the whole team knows how to create and write pages, for example. Testing = Crucial!

8. Choose an intuitive user interface
When your team will not be working in the content management system every day, it is important that it is user-friendly. The user interface should therefore not require too much technical know-how or training, so that your team can easily get around it.

9. Make sure the CMS has APIs and supports integrations
To start with, what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface. And an API provides the possibility to offer other systems and software an entrance to your system. For example, every company wants to gain insight into the web interactions and the web behaviour of its users in order to determine its marketing strategy. Therefore, marketing solutions are required that can be easily integrated into daily tasks and services. We are talking about things like marketing automation, business intelligence tools, Google analytics and many others. Your partners also need to be able to connect easily across devices and platforms, thus improving your collaborations with your partners through a smooth CMS. Choose a CMS solution, such as a headless API-first CMS, that has robust APIs and allows you to easily connect to third-party content management tools.

10. Ask stakeholders for their opinion
This is one of the first things you should do when you want to use a new CMS. You gather all stakeholders and ask for their findings and input. Nothing is more important than the opinion of users, visitors, developers and many others. This way, you know which direction to take and you can perfectly plan the system and how to roll it out. Because a good content organisation is already half the work and makes it easier to achieve your goals.

This article is written by Lemon Companies and is also available via this link.