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How to Choose the Right Content Management System (CMS) for Your Website

If you Google content management systems for your website, you are bound to get several different platforms from which to choose. But trust us, content management systems (CMS) are not universal. So how do you know which one is right for you and your business? One thing is for sure, make sure you test the waters before jumping in.


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Picking the right CMS is like choosing a business partner. You need to consider the kind of relationship you want to have and making the wrong choice can lead to complications and long nights thinking of how to clean up the mess.

Here are the most important questions:

How much support do you need?

Consider services such as web development, strategic guidance, and web hosting. Having this support is great if you aren’t an expert at coding.

Are your business goals aligned with its functionality?

Don’t waste your time with a CMS that isn’t customizable to your needs. Find one that will offer safe database interaction, user-friendly composition, flexibility, and automated features.

Who will be using it and what level of expertise do they have?

Web developers and marketers will be using the CMS differently so make sure it’s a good fit for the whole team (or at least the majority).  Don’t shy away from using a free trial if the CMS offers one. Have everyone try it out and then get their input.

How much is your budget?

It may be obvious, but consider the funds you are willing to spend in order to customize your content. An open-source CMS is more affordable compared to proprietary systems, which charge companies a licensing fee to personalize the system.

top three cms

Photo credit: BenSpark via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The Top Three Systems

CMS Critic has an extensive list of reviews and comments of each, but the three most popular choices are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Millions of websites around the world operate on those three systems, and the good news is — they are all free!

1) WordPress – Currently the most widely used CMS in the world, WordPress powers millions of sites across the web and for a good reason. Users love its quick installation, the collection of plugins and themes, and the easy-to-use interface. Create your page, add it to your menu dashboard, post content on it, and see it on the front end of your website. This CMS is perfect for small- to medium-sized websites, but it’s also used by some of the largest companies in the world.

2) Joomla – If personalization is what you want most, than Joomla may be the right CMS for you. A Joomla website can be almost anything. Make sure you plan some time to get used to it. Configuring layouts, plugins, and modules may be overwhelming for beginners. Joomla is perfect for those who already have basic knowledge of HTML/CSS and are yearning to learn more about operating blocks and modules. Joomla is great for e-commerce and social networking websites.

3) Drupal – The most powerful CMS you can find. But, as Peter Parker’s uncle would say – “With great power comes great responsibility.” If Drupal is the one you are leaning toward, prepare to get your hands dirty. Huge websites such as The White House and Warner Brothers are known for using this intricate CMS. It excels at technical advances and performance, but make sure you have a full-time staff of administrators. Drupal is complicated and will take a lot of time to master. We wouldn’t encourage you to use Drupal unless you are serious about growing your site and you are willing to work through its complexities.

The DofM’s CMS

What’s our favorite? We have to go with WordPress. It’s easy to add content, they have great plugins, and they offer updates every few weeks. But, what works for us may not be what’s best for you. Contact us if you have questions about your website’s CMS.