Choosing a content management system can be tricky. Without a clearly deﬁned set of requirements, you will be dilemma by fancy functionality that you will never use. What then should you look for in a CMS?
When most people think of content management, they think of creating, deleting, editing and organizing pages. They assume all content management systems do this and so take that functionality for granted. However, that is not necessarily the case. Nor is there any guarantee that such functionality will be presented in an intuitive way.
Also ask yourself how easy it is to complete these tasks. There are literally thousands of content management systems on the market, the majority of which offer this core functionality. However, they vary hugely in usability. Always test the system for usability before making a purchase.
The editor is one core feature worth particular attention. The majority of content management systems have a editor. Strangely, this editor is often ill-conceived, despite the fact that it is the most used feature within the system.
Search is an important aspect of any website. Approximately half of all users start with search when looking for content. However, the search functionality in content management systems is often inadequate. Here are a few things to look for when assessing search functionality:
Freshness: how often does the search engine index your website? This is especially important if your website changes regularly.
Thoroughness: does it index the entire content of each page? What about attached files, such as PDFs and Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents?
Speed: some search engines can take ages to return results. This is especially common on large websites.
As the number of content providers on your website increases, you will want more control over who can edit what. For example, one group may need to be able to post job advertisements but not add content to the home page. This requires a content management system that supports permissions. Although implementation varies, permissions normally allow you to specify whether users can edit certain pages or even entire sections of the website.
With more content management systems allowing you to run multiple websites from the same installation, I would recommend this as a must-have feature.
Although you may not currently need to be able to manage more than a single website, that could easily change. You may decide to launch a new website to target a narrower audience. And with the growth of the mobile Web, you may want to create a separate website especially for mobile devices. Whatever the reason, having the flexibility to run multiple websites is important.