Once you’ve ascertained, you need a content management system to manage your website, blog or forum, selecting a content management system can be tricky business.
There are a good number of options available, each one touting itself to being the best, and offering features which can have you foxed into believing, it would be great to have with your CMS.
The truth in this matter is that most modern day content management systems are capable of replacing the other in terms of features you need. What remains for you to define is your set of requirements and not being seduced by the functionality that one offers over another.
If you’re having difficulty in choosing a CMS for your needs, having professional help to assess the needs and requirements of your company or organization will be instrumental towards saving time and taking the right decision. Here are a few tips that will help you determine what to look for, while choosing a content management system.
- Quantum. One of the first questions to answer while considering among a choice of content management systems, is how much content you have, and you want to publish your content management system. You will need to critically look at the nature of content and how you would like to organize it – on pages, in everyday posts or if you would like to categorize your content according to varying content types such as photos, videos, write-ups or organize them along different taxonomies, or all.
- Collaboration. Different content management systems allow for varying levels of collaboration among users. This requirement is good to assess early on, as this feature is usually taken care of as part of the core functionality of a content management system. A good content management system will allow you to assign different roles and permissions to users who create and manage your content, and you can specify whether some users can edit certain pages or even entire sections of the website.
- Methods of Organizing. Not all content management systems allow you to organize your content in the same manner. What you need to remember here is, the more flexibility you want, the more complex the system will be. However, you could be making a mistake by assuming that all content management systems will offer you the same flexibility over how you would like to manage your content.
- The Editor. Most often, people feel that having a WYSIWYG Editor for creating and managing your content is the best option. However, this can be a very dangerous option to be attracted by, and we’ll explain to you why. If you’re used to making your own documents or spreadsheets in a document editor like Microsoft Word, or Pages, and chances of this being high, you’d like the concept of WYSIWYG. And that is because, you’ll think it’s good to be able to see ahead of publishing, what your content is going to look like. But this does not usually happen with Content Management Systems. Which is because, whatever you input is processed by the CMS along with styles and formatting that’s specified as part of system’s engine or an applied theme. The result is therefore, what you will publish will appear quite different from what you thought was good in the WYSIWYG editor.Modern content management systems use a different approach. Content providers use the editor to mark up headings, lists, links and other elements, without specifying how they should appear. The CMS then takes up the content along with the design specifications provided in the system, and publishes it, in an a consistent manner across the entire site. A good editor should however be able to manage external assets such as media, including photos and videos or documents which you might want to provide links to from your content.
- Managing Assets. Some content management systems are not good at handling images and files. They can leave you feeling frustrated with poor usability and accessibility. So, if you’re planning to host images using your content management system, it would be good to have it force the use of tags along with each image. Last, but not the least, it would be good to have a content management system that allows you upload multiple file types such as Word Documents or PDFs, or use a third-party application to enable the feature, in case you need to use it in the future.
- Search. Search is a very important feature of a website. Almost half your visitors, will use the search option while looking for content on your website. If your content management system’s search feature is capable of organizing search results according to freshness, degree of context and deliver speedy results while allowing you to customize the design, you’re probably in good hands. If not, these were some features you should probably start looking for.
One thing most people will feel great while implementing or buying a content management system, is the automation behind making your content look designed and consistent. However, it will not be long before you will want to customize the look and feel of your pages and content, and when you get around to doing this, technology should not be the limiting factor while working on your design. You need a content management system that allows flexibility in the way content is retrieved and presented.
What could be more worth the while, than being able to converse with the visitors to your website, while you’ve invested in a content management system. There can be multiple options for doing so, in terms of collecting feedbacks around products, services and news announcements, or actually hosting communities on your website with features such as chat, forums, comments and ratings. How easily does your content management system allows you to do this, can be a great factor towards determining which system you would like to implement.
Often, while updating content for a page, you might end up making a mistake and would want to roll back to the previous state. Some content management systems will keep multiple records that allow you to roll back to the previous state on a particular date or time. While this might be a bit overkill, it would be worth to consider if the one you’re choosing allows you to move back at least to the last saved state.
As the quantum of content grows, you might want to host multiple sections of your website separately, but within one CMS environment. This could be with the idea of addressing a narrow section of the audience in one part, while you might want to redirect mobile traffic to another. This might not be a big thing to consider if you’re just starting out with a content management system. However, since most good modern content management systems offer this feature, it might be worth to invest in one, that offers this for the sake of future.