Choosing a Content Management System or CMS is a job no one should envy. I often have clients or perspective clients who are VPs of marketing or have some such role (i.e. not a technical one),  that find themselves in charge of making this decision. For a non technical user who just wants a Website that works this is a daunting, confusing and potentially overwhelming process. There is no one right answer, each system is different, each system has pros and cons and those advantages and disadvantages are different for every organization and project.

The Problem

They can all seem just about the same. Yes you can create blog entries, yes they allow you to create a new page, yes they have a friendly browser based administrative interface, yes, yes, yes…

The Pitch

So as these things go, the Web client listens to all the sales pitches and each sales person does their best to explain why the CMS they use is the best option. However at the end of the pitch cycle the potential client is often still left no clear winner. Why? Because they all allow them to create blog entries, create new pages, have a friendly browser based admin tool, blah blah blah.

Every Organization is Different

I highly recommend that non-technical buyers of a CMS work with a consultant to help them choose the best option for their organization. Each organization is different and there is a way to make solid business decision to which CMS would work best.

Getting to the Point: How NOT to Choose a CMS:

  • You heard open source is cheap (or free)
    Almost certainly not true, unless your developer works for free
  • You heard enterprise/licensed solutions have better support and documentation
    Just because it was built by a big company does not guarantee better long term support or documentation
  • You had one bad experience before with a particular CMS
    A lot goes into setting up a CMS properly and there are some really bad setups out there that should not speak to the framework as a whole
  • You admire how another site looks and it was built on X
    In most cases, features, functions and design elements are not platform dependent
  • You have heard that one system is ‘insecure’
    There is not such thing as a ‘secure’ website, just one that is built to best-security practices
  • You have heard that one system is ‘secure’
    I say again: There is not such thing as a ‘secure’ website, just one that is built to best-security practices
  • You saw a demo of a particular CMS and it didn’t have a feature you want
    In most business scenarios, your CMS is going to be setup and customized to your needs by your developer
  • Your high school kid (who is ‘really good’ with computers) says one of the options ‘sucks’
    I have heard this one more than I like to admit

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