Regardless of whether you sell online or you just want to promote your business online, you’re going to be generating content and you’re going to need some kind of content management system (CMS) for your business.
From blogs, to About Us pages to product listings, content comes in many forms and it’s all key to running a successful business. Because there are so many CMSs to choose from, the natural question becomes: Which one is best for you?
Some of the more common ones include:
They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some are inexpensive and geared toward non-designers while others require heavy lifting both design-wise and budget-wise. When you’re deciding on a CMS for you business, these five questions can help you narrow down your choices and eventually pick the right one for your business.
1. What are the limits to your design capabilities?
Some people know exactly what they want and know exactly how to make that happen while others have an idea of what they want, but don’t really know how to get from A to B. And then there are those who need some inspiration because they haven’t given it much thought and wouldn’t know where to begin with designing a site.
The good news is that there is a CMS for each of these types of people. For those who are completely lacking in design resources and capabilities, the aforementioned Squarespace and Wix have a lot of templates to choose from and they both have what-you-see-is-what-you-get design platforms so you don’t need to fiddle with any code.
If you are a bit more confident with your design skills, WordPress and Shopify also have a lot of different templates for you to choose from. However, it helps if you have some knowledge of coding to work with these platforms, as you do all your design work on the backend and have to rely on previews to see how things are going to look live. Both WordPress and Shopify have plenty of add-ons to increase site capability.
And for business owners who love design and who have no problem with web development, Craft allows you almost infinite customization ability. If you are looking for a website that is completely unique and doesn’t look like it comes out of a box, Craft can give you that, providing you know how to work with it.
2. What functionality will you require?
If your business is going to be primarily an ecommerce operation, you’ll need much different functionality from your CMS than if you are going to be offering products or services offline and just need a presence on the internet for promotional purposes.
You may need online booking ability, sophisticated forms, a members’ area or some other functionality that will help point you in the direction of the best CMS for your business.
The two CMS options that are best for ecommerce are Magento and Shopify. They were both specifically created with ecommerce in mind. If you are going to be selling a lot of products or performing a lot of transactions, one of these two options might be a good fit.
If you only require a website for promotional purposes, but you won’t be performing any transactions on it, a DIY option like Foursquare or Wix might be a better idea. Either one will allow you to easily build a basic website so you can promote your business and give it a nice looking presence online without having to spend a lot on design.
3. How Much Functionality Do You Expect to Add Over Time?
If you start out with a simple site, you may keep it that way or you might have to add increased functionality to it out of necessity. Perhaps you will need to add advanced forms or you will want to invest in tools to improve its speed. Adding new pages and expanding existing pages is common for companies as they grow.
For creating new landing pages and customizing your site to your specifications, an open-source CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla! Will give you that ability. They all have large libraries of plugins to choose from that can make it easier to add functionality to your site over time without having to hire a developer.
4. How frequent are your site updates going to be?
Once you have a site built, it’s not done. There are site updates, blogs, events calendars and product lists to keep up to date. If you are planning to update your site on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, a CMS like Magento, Craft or Drupal will allow you to easily segment your site so you can update part of it without affecting the rest, but you may need to get assistance from an outside developer if you use one of these CMSs.
WordPress and Shopify also give you this ability to segment your site and you should be able to do it without requiring an outside developer, which could help save you some money.
And, speaking of money …
5. What is your budget for a CMS?
Last, but never least, how much money you have to spend on a CMS may be the biggest determinant in which one you choose. Squarespace, Wix and WordPress are all affordable options for startups looking to save money as they get established.
And, speaking of money …
If your business brings in enough money that spending thousands of dollars per month on your CMS is not a problem, Magento would be a good option to go with. You may need to have a developer on retainer to work with it and keep your site running smoothly, though.
Whether you are brand new or you’re looking to take a step up with your CMS, asking these five questions will help you pick the one that is best for your business. Choosing the right one is a key to success.