Colour Pallette
How to Choose a CMS: Complete Guide on Picking the Right One
2019-07-22
Old Moon Digital

Most business owners do not have the knowledge or time to code their websites. Some also might not have the budget to hire out and rack up extensive development and design bills. You need a simple solution that will allow you to quickly get a website up and running without a lot of effort or money.

 A content management system (CMS) allows you to create, control, and edit all the content on your website. The best CMS gives you the ability to make edits quickly without having to understand coding or advanced development. Many of these content management systems have drag and drop features and editing areas where you can quickly change things without compromising the rest of the site.

If you aren’t using a CMS, it means you are relying entirely on a development team to manage your website. This means you have to go through them to make any changes to your website. This creates tremendous bottlenecks when you can’t go in and make quick changes as they pop up.

Why Use a CMS?

Regardless of your level of experience or position in your business, there are many reasons why you would want to start using a CMS.

Make Quick Changes 

As we said, the main reason you want to use a CMS is so you can quickly access your website to make changes on the fly. If you are in the start-up stage or even if you’re transferring information over to a new website; you will need to go back and make changes or add things.

If you have to work through a development team to get things done, there's no telling how long that could take. CMS software lets you go directly to the page and find exactly what you want to change.

Prevent Mistakes

If you don’t have a lot of coding and development knowledge, it can be easy to play where you don’t belong. A CMS allows you to easily make changes and save those changes as you go so you can limit mistakes and accidental edits. Instead of interacting directly with the database of your website, you're accessing it safely.

User-friendliness

Many CMS software like Wordpress, Weebly, and Squarespace offer intuitive functions that make their programs incredibly easy to use. Anyone with any level of technical knowledge could go into these dashboards and learn how to use them. 

Handle More Issues Yourself

Since everything is so easy to use, you won’t have to call upon a design team for every little change. If you decide you want to get your logo redone, you don’t need to hire someone to fix it on your website. You can quickly go in and click the logo section and change it without any coding or experience.

Automation and Plugins

One of the best features of CMS software is the number of plugins and tools they have. You can quickly turn your basic blog into a full-on e-commerce store using plug-ins and extensions. Next thing you know you’re accepting payments and fulfilling orders directly from your website without any coding knowledge.

How to Choose the Right CMS

Now that you understand the many benefits of using a CMS, you might be wondering how you should decide on one. There are a handful of questions you want to ask yourself to help settle on a CMS.

What Kind of Technical Experience do you Have?

Although every CMS is incredibly user-friendly, some are more than others. For example, using a CMS like Wordpress or ExponentCMS is a lot more user-friendly than ones like Joomla or Drupal. They all share the same benefits, but the first two are more beginner-friendly. If you’ve never used a CMS before it’s best to stick with the popular ones that work well for novices.

What is the Website For?

Keep in mind that not every CMS will work for your needs. If you plan on selling items directly from your site, you need one that is e-commerce compatible. Unless you want to hire a development team, you want to get a CMS that has payment processing and e-commerce functionality.

If you plan on using the website entirely for informational purposes, you wouldn’t have to worry as much. But, some CMS software offers more design and editing tools. Shop around based on your needs.

What Type of Features do you Need? 

As we said before, you want a CMS that offers flexibility. If you’re running a standard blog, it might not seem like you need much, but you might want social sharing tools, forum capabilities, and a dashboard where you can manage a team of writers. The key is to understand your needs so you can read reviews and find out what will work best.

Proprietary CMS vs. Open-Source CMS

If you’ve ever seen these two phrases, you might not understand exactly what they are. They refer to the source code, which is the core deciding factor of how an application works. For content management software, there are two types of source codes, proprietary, and open-source. 

Proprietary CMS 

When you see the word proprietary, it means that the CMS is the legal property of an organization or individual. This means that the owner of the source code will not release it unless someone purchases a license key.

The main advantage of this type of CMS is that the organization has total control. That is also the main disadvantage. You are highly limited in what types of changes and modifications you can make to a proprietary CMS.

Open-Source CMS 

This type of CMS is more common and includes examples like Drupal and Wordpress. Here, the source code is available to anyone, and developers can change and modify anything they want.

The advantage of an open-source CMS is that users have complete freedom to tweak and modify the code. This results in constant development and growth because people are always improving it. The downside is the lack of control by the organization. Another advantage would be the cost-savings as Open-Source CMS generally have minimal to none licencing fees.

Choose a CMS

There are many different content management systems out there, and they each bring a lot to the table. You want to make sure to ask yourself some of the questions above so you can understand what matters most to you and your website.

Keep in mind the user-friendliness and features of the CMS. Narrow down your options and jump in with both feet! 

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