How do you go about evaluating a good Content Management System for your business? Read on and find out what features to focus on when selecting a CMS for your business.
By the myBusiness techblog team
In his 2012 National Day Rally speech, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed on the importance of technology and how it will transform the way we live our lives. One of the aspects which he touched on was how retailers are under pressure from online merchants. It has become very clear that businesses must look at moving their businesses online to compete on a global scale.
Our previous articles in this series introduced you to getting started on building a website for your business and how Content Management Systems (CMSes) can help. We also shared a brief comparison of different types of CMS for different purposes. But what features should you look for in a CMS?
A point about Open Source CMS
Open source CMSes means that the source code of the project is free to download, change, and use. Often developers will make their product open source and allow other developers to use and improve on their design. These improvements are then incorporated into future versions of the “code” to help the project improve.
Evaluating a CMS can be an overwhelming task, simply because there are too many options to choose from. However, if you have an organised approach to your selection, things can be much easier. Here are some important features that we feel you should consider when you’re deciding on a CMS for your website.
1. Intuitiveness: how easy the CMS is to understand and use
The CMS should have a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that’s easy to use and not overly complicated. A simplified administration interface means that tasks pertaining to creating and managing your content will be quicker, saving you a lot of time and increasing your productivity.
2. Platform security
Having adequate security for your website is very important, and security measures must already be in place to protect your business content before you even post any content online. Make sure you choose a CMS that offers modules that protect the integrity of your website. You can also choose a CMS that allows easy assignment of different usernames and passwords to every user that will be contributing to your website content. This will allow a better view and control over what each user has access to. Another point to note is that it isn’t just CMS that affects the security of the website, but also the choice of your webhost. Choosing an open source CMS doesn’t immediately also mean that it is any less secure than paid CMSes.
3. Ease of customisation
Many CMS solutions allow you to customise your own design without major restrictions. If your CMS forces you to choose a fixed and unchangeable design template, then your website will may look just like every other site that uses the same system, making it less appealing to your readers. Some CMSes that offer customisable templates are WordPress, and Joomla, which promote their ability to be easily modified.
4. Able to incorporate additional plugins and modules
A good CMS will allow you integrate helpful site features into your website by extending the default configuration with plugins. These Plugins, extensions or modules will make a difference in terms of enhancing your website’s ability to deliver useful options for readers interfacing with your website. Some example plugins could be an e-shopping cart, a translator or a chat plugin.
You might want to make sure that the CMS you are considering already has a sizeable list of plugins, and some that address your current needs. Though you might not need these plugins right away, it’s important that this is available to you, later down the road. Some plugins deliver management features such as automated backup and billing & invoicing, which can be very important to your business.
5. Documentation and support
Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to figure out how to update or implement a portion of your CMS, and not be able to find the right reference to solve the problem. One way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is by reading through the documentation of the CMS. In fact, a quick Google search will be able to reveal how well-documented a CMS is. The more common (or lack thereof) of support from users of the system can ultimately prove decisive in your selection process. When users of the CMS are active and proud of being part of the community, you not only have access to more support from individuals that post solutions to problems on forums, but also, you can be assured that the CMS will be developed continually.
Most open source CMSes provide assistance in the form of forums. If going through forum postings for the right answer to your question is not your cup of tea, you might want to look for a CMS with proper tech support. There’s also an option of hiring a local digital agency to help you maintain the blog.
With the tips above, you should have a better idea on what features your CMS should contain, and hopefully make deciding on the right CMS for your business easier.
Do you have any tips on how to evaluate the right CMS for businesses? Did you have any experiences (good or bad) with the content management systems you chose? Talk to us about it in the comment box below.
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You are reading one of the articles in our series on how SMEs can make use of Content Management Systems to simplify management of their business websites. Here’s a list of the other articles in the series.
- SMEs go online: Introduction to website building (3 Aug)
- SMEs go online: Comparing Content Management Systems (7 Aug)
- SMEs go online: Key CMS features to look out for (28 Aug)
- SMEs go online: The real cost of free Content Management Systems (29 Aug)
- SMEs go online: Top mistakes to avoid when choosing a CMS (30 Aug)
- SMEs go online: 9 great websites running on popular CMS platforms (4 Sep)