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13 Tips for Choosing a Web Content Management System

Choosing a web content management system for your business will help you manage your content in an organized manner while eliminating the need to implement an on-premise solution. There are many different variables you need to consider as you look into web content management systems.

Keep these following tips in mind as you research a web content management system.

  1. Get involved in the decision. Don’t let your web designer or anyone else choose your web content management system without explaining the rationale.
  2. If your designer/developer is using FTP to synchronize files between their computer and the web server, keep in mind that it may be beyond your company’s capabilities to maintain the site yourself in-house without specialized training. That said, FTP has and always will be your workhorse.
  3. Explore the various idiosyncrasies, strengths, benefits and drawbacks of different open source web content management systems by looking at a number of sites built on each platform.
  4. Research and understand the legal implications of using open source software, specifically the license requirements of the package you want to use.
  5.  Figure out if your web server or hosting account will accommodate the technology you choose. Some software plays better on one server platform than another.
  6. Be open to mashups. Think of your current web content management system, whatever it is, as the primary system and mash in another. If your site is FTP, then try mashing in WordPress for RSS feed functionality and social media tools. If your primary is Joomla, it’s perfectly OK to create extra pages maintained by traditional FTP.
  7. Custom is nice, but don’t make a huge investment in custom web content management systems unless it absolutely makes sense. If you do then make sure your development team is in place for future modifications and fixes.
  8. If an advertising agency or web design firm offers to “host” your website and offers browser-based site maintenance as part of the package, ask them what web content management system they’re using and how it affects your ability to leave with the site someday.
  9. Pay a lot of attention to SEO. The “stock” installation of a standard application like WordPress does not make some crucial SEO attributes available, without using plugins. Some web content management systems make it impossible to change basic attributes like Title tags. Make sure, at a minimum, that your web content management system allows for custom HTML title tags, meta description tags and internal linking.
  10. If you’re having trouble choosing a web content management system, contact a consultant. A couple of hours of advice and oversight might save you a world of heartache later.
  11. Be sure to consider what web applications might be required or are already deployed on the site. This may well dictate the server platform, and therefore content management options. Also, web apps often have CMS features, so study possible tools already at your disposal.
  12. Ask about backup. How is content preserved in case of disasters? WordPress can email a DB backup on a schedule. Lots of advertising or interactive agencies build their own custom CMS on their own servers and resell them to clients as a profit center. Don’t assume it’s being backed up properly.
  13. With CMS standardization there is always a chance of vulnerability. It is critical to choose a web content management system that has tight security features. If you’re using open source components then make sure to stay on top of system and plug in versions.

Since content is still king, it’s very important to make sure the web content management system you choose supports all of your content efforts. Take a healthy interest in how your website is published and work with your team to determine the most appropriate solution.