A practical guide to CMS selection
The CMS market is huge and confusing. On the Danish market, you can count to well over 100 before the list of systems is over through. The large range should be an advantage, but when systems in the similar to each other (and suppliers selling systems on the same empty buzzwords) so it quickly becomes a big task to select a new content management system. But it you probably already. You probably know also, why you must have a CMS so let’s jump elegantly over the point and merely state that a CMS is a must-have if you have a website.
Here are 10 important points you should review before you choose a new CMS. And remember! The perfect CMS doesn’t exist.
Needs and requirements
Strategy comes first and the technology second, so start to prepare a strategy for the site, where you describe your goals with the site, the users ‘ goals and describe as the functional and technical requirements.
What do you want to achieve with the site?
Why should the users visit you?
Should the CMS be integrated with other systems? And how?
Must products can easily be shared on social media?
The more tangible, the better. If you are considering to write a complete requirements specification, let be! It can very rarely pay off. Instead, focus on describing the main features and prepare a requirement list, which your CMS should live up to.
Start with to get an overview of the content on your website. Run all the content through and low an index of the pages (Tag evs. based on this Excel template). Name, varieties and structures of the content, so you have a simple, transparent navigationsstruktur and good page titles. Please be critical! It is not certain that all the news from 1999. All content has a natural retirement age. What must be saved? What should be scrapped? It is a tempting point to jump over, but you can’t say the content manament system, without saying content. And it is the content which is the important word in the sentence.
Have his daily walk in the INET-DESIGN, a young Danish IT company, who love the internet for its potential to reverse the up and down communication between people, brands and business. Here he works with concept development, interaction design, and counseling of clients in connection with the design, development and marketing of CMS-based web solutions.
Research, research, research. Actually you are already in time with the point when you read it here. Use internet to do initial research (www.cmsmyth.com is a good place to start), there is a sea of articles about the CMS and also a lot of literature in the form of a book, which is quite a reasonable reading. But don’t spend months on it. You can research the CMS in an eternity, so be targeted in your research.
The supplier is just as important as the software, so take a chat with the suppliers and evaluate them critically. There must be good chemistry between you, and you shall understand each other. You are going to talk together regularly about support, debugging, staff training, system updates, and so on. Find a supplier that you can see yourself working with for many years.
There are a lot of skilled consultants who have many years of experience with creating great web solutions that make a difference. Select those who have the understanding of the whole process of your website from strategy to design, usability, search engine optimization, CMS implementation, development – and listen to them. It may well be, you have a nephew who has Photoshop and a cousin who can code HTML and PHP, but there is a world of difference. Select professional consultants and rely on them, so you get the most out of your CMS and the final website.
Open source or not
Just as there is no unique answer to which CMS is the best, there is also no clear answer on whether open source is better than proprietary software (software that costs money). For any is open source a religion, for others a golden opportunity to save money, and for others again it smells of pure amatørisme. Well yes, and then there are the rest of us who don’t really know which leg we have to stand on. I will be probably on anyone’s toes when I say this, but there is absolutely no guarantee that an open source CMS is cheaper or better, when you are faced with the finished website. And it is not shortcut to heaven, if you believe in that sort of thing.
Demonstration of the CMS
As a bare minimum you should get a demonstration of the content management systems you are considering. An online video presentation or a review from the supplier is fine, but best of all, this is a demo login that allows you to use the system and learn it to know. Enthusiasm for a good interface is fine, but be careful not to let yourself be blinded by graphics and lir. Remember to have a talk with them, that will use the system in everyday life. Have they worked with CMS before? What is their level? What are the typical tasks they must solve, and how they always used to do it? The system should make work easier, not harder.
Develop a interaction design or line drawings over the site, so you have an overview of the site’s structure. You can compare an interaction design with architectural drawings for a house. It contains sketches of the pages on your website and shows how the screen space is utilized, and how the site functions. The final interaction design can work together with kravlisten be used to assess how well each CMS to fit with the web solution that you want. Can the shopping cart be placed here, can nyhedsvisningen look like, we can show the product images how to, etc? Another advantage of interaktionsdesignet is that the graphic designer can easily move forward on it. It means that that is taken care of many of the fixes, which would otherwise be in job with the graphics. It is to ensure that the design can actually be implemented in the CMS.
It is important to have prepared a project plan, so you have an overview of the phases in the project. It is not certain that you can get a detailed schedule before you have chosen the final CMS. But get approved for a deadline, so you know when you can have a website up and running. Remember also to plan your own production of content, processing images, and the general work with to put content in the CMS. It takes with a warranty longer than you expect! It is important that you are realistic in relation to your own abilities and critical in relation to the supplier. If your supplier is underestimating the timeantallet, the project is not just delayed, but it also risk to run of the track. In would like to have the project completed so I can move on. The supplier would like to have the project completed, for their hours are spent. The result will be easy to be a bad thing. So ask questions and be critical.
The final choice
Before you take the final decision, remind yourself about the CMS choice is about more than technique, functions and code. It’s also about people. People who you must work together to design and implement the solution. Those who subsequently must use the CMS solution and those who need help with support and further development. You can’t judge and choose a CMS from a list of features and expect to hit the mark – make sure that you get all the way around.