July 11, 2018
Selecting the right CMS can sometimes feel a bit like picking where to go for vacation. Pin map to wall. Step back. Close eyes. Throw darts. There’s just so many variables! Do you go with the most popular? The most familiar? The most advanced? Or even the most secure? (if there is such a candidate.) Do you plunge head first into the world of building out a custom CMS?
How does one choose?
Here are the 5 questions pros ask when choosing the right content management system for their next project:
Not every CMS is built the same. Nor does every CMS handle the administrative functions the same. Some content management systems require quite a bit of training to bring admin staff up to speed. Drupal, for instance, can be quite technical. And “intuitive” is not the first word that comes to mind when I think of Joomla. WordPress might be the easiest for a non-technical administrator to tackle, but the trade-off might be a level of functionality, or speed you’re not willing to accept.
Know who is going to be responsible for the care and feeding of the site both from a technical perspective as well as from a content management perspective. Of the three top CMS platforms (WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla) you’ll find each varying widely when it comes to the technical skill required to administer.
The platform needs to support all of your administrative users and provide users with access to areas of responsibility for which they require access. For example, your administrative professional might only need access to the invoices. The shipping manager might only need access to the completed orders. Marketing might only need access to user management and administration of the products. Or maybe everyone needs access to everything.
It’s very easy to overlook the fact that when updates are posted to pages or documents within your content management system, there needs to be a “paper trail” showing the changes that were made—and by whom. That’s the heart of any content management system—a bit of a challenge if you’re leaning towards building a custom CMS, btw. Those with the proper authority within the system are also going to want to be able to quickly and easily roll back changes if those updates need to be undone.
Whether you’re upgrading or making a lateral shift from one CMS platform to another, you’ll need to take an audit of the plugins and integrations you’re using. If those applications are not available on your new platform, what will they take to create?
Security is important, but not really in the scope of choosing a CMS. You are going to have the same security considerations no matter which CMS solution you choose.
SSL, for instance. You’ll need to encrypt all communication from the user to the server. You’ll also need a way to lockdown databases and servers.
The only time you don’t have to consider security directly is if you use a hosted CMS. (e.g., CushyCMS). For these, the burden of security is placed on the CMS provider because it lives on their server.