23 Mar 2021 - Dennis Egen

How to Decide on a Content Management System

Light 2021-03-10 PM

Content management systems (CMS) are practically a necessity in today’s web-based world. These toolsorganize, produce, andautomate content for the organizations that use them to power their business-critical functions. 

It used to be incredibly difficult to update and build a website. It required hours and hours of work, extensive knowledge of coding, and many other skills to produce compelling content. After the introduction of CMS solutions, the way we manage websites has forever been changed.

Just how impactful has the introduction of the content management system been? One needs not look much further than the global worth of the CMS industry, and how quickly it’s growing.

In 2018, the CMS global market share was $39.5 billion. By 2026, it’s estimated that this figure will reach $123.5 billion in revenue, with a compound annual growth rate of 16.7 percent each year.

What makes this even more astonishing? WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS, is free.

But WordPress isn’t the only game in town. Each CMS offers its own unique array of features and functionalities, and some will be more suited to your work as an organization than others. So, how do you go about choosing a CMS?

The Varied World of Content Management Systems

Gartner defines content management systems the following way:

“Content management systems comprise a set of templates, procedures and standard format software that enables marketers and their proxies (e.g., webmasters) to produce and manage text, graphics, pictures, audio and video for use in Web landing pages, blogs, document repositories, campaigns or any marketing activity requiring single or multimedia content.”

Essentially, there’s not much your CMS can’t do for you, your marketing team, and your web team. Now, a CMS can even provide personalized, real-time digital experiences for your customers on multiple devices and platforms. It all depends on what you need your CMS to do.

Choosing a CMS

Selecting and implementing a CMS can be a major investment of time and resources—and it can even feel overwhelming or risky if you don’t have the right support system.

The right CMS can take your organization to the next level, with email automations, user-friendly, personalized experiences, and more. The wrong CMS might mean you don’t fully realize the promise on the return of your investment. Here are some suggestions that CMSWire has to offer about choosing a CMS that will work for you.


Think about Usage Scenarios

Spreadsheets might give you key information about what each CMS can do, but these aren’t always indicative of how your specific users can use a CMS to create content that’s tailored to your organization's needs. Usage scenarios can help you think of things you may never have realized you wanted or needed. 

It may be helpful to come up with a usage scenario; a short story written in easy-to-understand language about how you plan to interact with the system to achieve a certain business objective. This scenario should include specific requirements, along with their greater meaning and context. Your scenario should include:

  • A point of view written with specific users in mind
  • Commonly executed tasks
  • The kinds of content you want to manage

It should also be open-ended to highlight the differences between your approach and how each CMS is designed.


Consider Your Content Operations as a Whole

Gone are the days when content managers could think of their CMS as a single technology purchase that would manage and publish all the content on their website. Today, it’s likely more useful to examine your content operations process. Is there an overlap between content management and digital asset management?

Anymore, organizations need multiple content solutions to fulfill all of their needs. These requirements should be guided by your content strategy, not the vendor you choose or the features they happen to offer. 

Examine how your CMS should support your current content strategy, not the other way around!


Understand the Four Content Management Pillars

Web CMs buyers need to have an understanding of the four pillars of web content management selection. These are as follows:

  • Support: Do you only need basic product patches, or do you need services like hosting, user mentoring, strategic guidance, or web development?
  • Vision: How does your vendor see the market developing, and what role do they expect to play in that market? They may fit your needs now, but could be shifting in an entirely new direction. Features added down the road may get in the way and clutter your CMS instead of support you.
  • Community: Who is part of the existing customer community? Do you have a point of reference for similar organizations with like-minded challenges and goals?
  • Stability and focus: If a CMS platform is too focused on growth, that may suggest an “exit strategy” which could leave you stranded! Ensure that your software vendor plans on keeping their CMS as the core of their overall strategy.


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Other Important Considerations

Choosing a CMS is more than just about how you feel about it. While it’s important to share a vision with your CMS provider and understand the use cases, there may be other technical aspects and considerations to keep in mind. 

What else should factor into your decision?

  • What technology do you already know?
  • What database and scripting languages do you want to use? PHP, SQL, Java?
  • Do you need extensibility and plugin modules to do things like enable eCommerce, forums, or full web applications?

HubSpot also recommends thinking about the following factors when narrowing down a large list of CMS options:

  • Ease of use
  • Customizability
  • Security
  • Pricing

The right CMS platform for your organization should be the one that aligns with the needs and goals of your website and your brand. If a platform offers all the functionalities you need but is way out of your budget, it’s not the best, most sustainable choice. Likewise, if a lower-cost CMS will require lots of maintenance and too many extensions to meet your needs, it’s also not the best fit. 

Getting Support to Find the Right CMS

With some websites detailing “30 CMSs to Consider,” it can definitely feel like a never-ending quest to find exactly the right one for your organization. Are you overlooking a lesser-known CMS? Are you settling for a CMS that won’t serve you the way another could?

To successfully select and implement a CMS that serves you takes work—but it’s not work you have to do alone. Picking the right CMS platform for your organization all depends on finding a solution that fits your needs and expectations. A CMS Success™ Service can lead you through the process. 

How can you know what CMS platform is right for your organization?

  • What are your operational business and digital needs?
  • What features and content are available on the platform today?
  • How will users interact with the site and what are their expectations?
  • What are the steps to build and maintain a website on each potential platform?
  • What do you need your website to do for your team and your users?
  • What information can we learn from other organizations in your field or outside?

Our team at Engine Room works closely with you throughout this journey. We’ll conduct research and take an in-depth analysis of your current and desired processes to gain a full understanding of what your technical and operational requirements are to help you evaluate which CMS platform is the right fit for you and your team. 

Elements included in this selection will include inspection points and necessities like:

  • Site features and functionality
  • Content administration and workflow
  • Technical and non-functional requirements
  • Performance, reliability, and maintainability
  • Costs based on your needs

Why Partner with Engine Room Tech to Select Your CMS 

You would hire an expert contractor to build your home or new place of business—why wouldn’t you also work with an experienced tech guide to help you choose and implement a CMS platform that will best support the functions of your company?

There’s a lot of discovery that needs to happen when you choose a CMS platform. Of course, it needs to power your website and all of the functionalities that accompany your site. But discovering which CMS is the best fit for you isn’t just about what you need from your website, but about who you are as an organization too. 

With  Engine Room as part of your CMS platform selection, we will be there for every step of discovery, using our years of experience and the insights and requirements that are unique to your operations during the selection phase to inform the way we implement your new CMS. 

We work hard to understand what your needs and wants are before we begin. That way, when it comes time to build your website, we are aware of all the reasons you selected the CMS you chose and how you want it to function. Through understanding the reasons why you chose your CMS, we can engineer the website you envisioned when you first set out. 

To learn more about our CMS Success Services, reach out to our team today!


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