How to Select the Right Web Content Management Solution

Last updated on March 12th, 2022 at 11:08 am

By Wyatt Webb, Director of Web Development, Marketing Images, www.marketingimages.com

If you’re thinking about updating your website, consider a cost-effective solution that will help keep your site fresh, and make your life easier. A web content management system, commonly referred to as a CMS, is an application that allows you to edit and manage website content with little or no programming knowledge. You can update and refresh your site as often as needed, from any place, at any time.

There are a wide variety of CMS products to choose from, including customized solutions, which offer different capabilities, interfaces, and benefits. So how do you know which is the best solution for you? Defining your needs and then selecting the right product, service or vendor can be a challenging and time-consuming process. The following steps will help you with the process.


Build a Wish List

We encourage our clients to brainstorm ideas to develop a wish list of what they want in a website without regard to budget. These ideas can be written out as simple one or two sentence “stories” such as “I can go to the website and upload a document that only a few people can access.” Try to keep these stories relatively simple and consider each one a discussion point regarding desired web functionality. When you have completed your list of stories, prioritize them by importance to stakeholders. You can either divide your wish list into two buckets, “Must Have” and “Would Be Nice”, or rank your list in order of importance.

Research Existing CMS Products

With a well-thought out plan of what you need regarding web site functionality, you can begin looking for CMS products that may provide these capabilities. When conducting this research, it is important to realize that there can be a great deal of variance in how each function is delivered. To help get an idea of what some of these variances are, request a demonstration of CMS products you’re considering. We recommend avoiding any CMS product that is not browser-based. Many off-the-shelf CMS products require web development and design skills to install and configure for your use. The list price for these products usually represents a licensing fee and only a portion of the actual project cost. This research is primarily meant to educate you on what is currently available, compare basic product pricing, and help you understand why two products that look identical on paper may vary greatly in price.


Seek a Web Solutions Expert

Websites are a “living” tool that require short- and long-term planning, ongoing changes and upgrades, provide business efficiencies, and represent your company’s brand. So it is important when selecting a company to provide web services that you look for a partner, not just a vendor. As you meet with potential partners, it is best to find one that has experience in both working with and customizing off-the-shelf products, and providing completely customized solutions. This experience will allow the web partner to help you assess your needs, recommend additional options, develop a project budget, and support your website so it can grow with your organization’s needs. Once you have selected a web solutions provider, you will benefit from relying on that company’s expertise in recommending the final CMS product. Whether it’s an off-the-shelf product that requires little modification, a completely customized solution, or a combination of the two, an experienced web solutions provider can recommend, implement and support a user-friendly, powerful CMS tool to meet your needs.


Allow the Web Solutions Partner to Conduct an Assessment

It is important to devote a portion of your project budget to conduct an in-depth analysis of your needs and related processes. This is something that should be performed by your selected partner. The partner should review your budget restraints, user stories and related business processes, suggest new user stories and interview various potential users of the website. This assessment can be a time consuming yet valuable process, as it provides important information to everyone and ensures delivery of the best solution for your needs.

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