Do you need a content management system for your website?

Content management systems (CMS) are a great way to make quick changes to your website, but there are also costs and risks. Should you use one?

When you built your website, did you ever ask, “will I be able to update and manage the site myself?”

If so, you may have discovered that a content management system (CMS) is what allows you to change the design, copy, and layout of your site without asking a web developer.

This is great on the surface as you can make changes quickly and without cost. But dig a little deeper and it often works out that making changes using a CMS causes technical and design problems… and may even work out more expensive than paying a developer!

So how do you know whether it’s a good idea to use a content management system?

There’s no blanket answer. But here are some things to consider:

Need

If your business is constantly changing and your website copy is likely to be out of date regularly then yes, you could benefit from having a CMS.

Ability

If you have good IT and writing skills then you’ll be able to use a CMS – but may need some training. If not, it’s probably not a good idea that you write or edit your own website content. 

Understanding

The biggest risk of using a CMS is that you make a change – deliberately or not – that disturbs the design or integrity of your website. You’d probably need a web developer to correct the problem – a frustrating and time-consuming experience! 

The best way to avoid this is to determine what you need to control before your website is built. That way, your web designer can find or create a CMS that prevents you from making mistakes.

Should you use a content management system?

Unless you’re confident using IT and writing persuasive copy, it will probably cost you less in time and money to ask your web designer to make changes on your behalf.

Okay, we’re a little bias. But we genuinely do believe that it will work out cheaper. Here’s why…

It could take you a while to make a change yourself. Web developers could make the same change much quicker. So even if their hourly rate is higher than your own… it would probably still work out cheaper. And if you get stuck or make an error… you could lose lots of time and mental energy… and still end up paying a developer.

I don’t say this to put you off. If you are a great at IT, confident writing persuasive copy, and have time to make changes yourself… then getting a CMS is probably a good move. Especially if you also anticipate having to make regular changes and updates to your website.

Best way to decide?

Have an honest conversation with your agency before they start building your new website.