How to find the right content management system (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) can make it much easier to edit your website. Here’s how to find a good one…

A content management system (CMS) can make your life easier, save time, and improve the relevance of your website. But if you choose the wrong system it could end up having the opposite effect. Here are a few things to look out for.

Bespoke Code

If your website uses an ‘off the shelf’ third-party CMS like WordPress then you might have problems.

If a third-party owns the CMS, your developer may not be able to help if the code fails. Or if it becomes incompatible with your site. This vulnerability means your site could crash at any time.

Many developers will use WordPress as a framework and then write their own code into it. This is a much safer option and a difference you should be aware of when discussing your website project!

Population or Editing

Does your web developer intend to provide you with a finished website with access to a CMS? Or a blank website you have to populate with the copy?

Some sites are cheap because you’re left to add all the content yourself. This is difficult, time-consuming, and makes your site less effective as a business tool. Why?

Because a well-designed website will look attractive, project your business professionally, and function well… but it’s the copy on a website that persuades your customers to take action. Get that wrong and you could end up missing out on a lot of new business.

What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)

WYSIWYG is the name given to the part of a CMS where you can add text. They are easy for non-developers to use but can be problematic. For example…

When you copy and paste text from into a WYSIWYG editor it usually retains the original formatting. This can lead to inconsistent fonts and colours on your website.

Unless you create a bespoke editor, you could end up wasting time adding and editing content on your site.

Limited Access

No matter how IT savvy you are, make sure your web developer provides access to the pages you need to edit and no more.

If you try to add images or content to a page that wasn’t designed for them can result in clumsy looking pages. Clients and potential clients will end up confused and leave your site.

It’s usually better to ask your website developer to change the following elements:

  • Headers and footers – they are usually more complex to change than the rest of the site
  • Design and layout elements – it’s easy to make a mistake when formatting text
  • Images – use the wrong size and resolution and images display incorrectly

Best way to make sure you get a CMS that’s fit for purpose?

Work with your web developer to decide what you want to include on each page of your website. And decide in advance what you’ll need to change and when.