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How to Choose a CMS for Your Web Development Project?

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing content management system (CMS), or it’s your first time, the process can be quite overwhelming.

With so many platforms, how to choose a CMS for your specific business needs and goals?

Why Do You Need a CMS?

Why would you even bother with choosing CMS? Let me explain.

First of all, content management systems, as the name suggests, can provide you with accessible content management. They are built for users with little to no programming experience and learning how to manage content is very simple. Once your website is fully developed, there’s no need to put professional web designers out: everything can be managed by the members of the content team.

Moreover, CMSs allow multiple people to access the website and collaborate on their projects. From individual accounts, members of the team can add, edit, or update content. CMS is also a safe place for storing online content which is available to anyone who has access to the website.

CMS is also a tool that can be used to automate, standardise, and streamline business processes to make your organisation run more efficiently.

Types of CMS

One of the most important decisions that you must make is choosing the type of CMS. Let’s dive into the specifics of each type.

Open-Source CMS

As defined by moore-wilson, an open-source CMS is “a content management system that is maintained by its community of developers, rather than one developed and owned by a single company.”

One of the main benefits of an open-source CMS is a large base of developers. Thanks to that, open-source solutions are always being developed and improved.

Moreover, with an open-source CMS, there are no ongoing costs once a website is built. However, after a while, code needs to be adjusted to the newest update of the CMS; for example, WordPress releases updates constantly, and some updates may interfere with the styles, code, and performance. To the point, the website owner, if he is not a programmer, will need to hire a freelancer on an hourly basis once in a while to adjust the code to current standards. That also impacts the security, as quite many open-source CMS has flaws, hence the reason they release the updates.

Proprietary CMS

A proprietary CMS is built and maintained by a particular provider who owns the CMS. If you want to access it, you must pay a licence fee, often on a monthly basis.

Proprietary CMSs tend to be more user-friendly and simpler, at the price of customisability. If your company doesn’t require very complicated functionalities yet wants to be able to add and edit content, proprietary CMS may be a good option.

If the code quality is good, has comments, and is easy to read, there are no obstacles for a new dev to implement into the code and find where changes need to apply.

The biggest downside of the Proprietary CMS, in that case, is having a new person do the changes each time as the implementation time for the developer may take much more time than actual work.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CMS

A SaaS CMS offers you similar features to the self-installed CMS. However, instead of being installed locally, you’re relying on the cloud to offer you a distributed CMS, which can be configured to your unique website needs.

With a SaaS CMS, there’s no need to worry about upgrading, maintaining, or hosting your websites: the vendor will handle all those headaches for you, allowing you to focus on more pressing issues.

This also means that things like security, performance, and hosting itself will be delegated to the SaaS or cloud platform. This can work for or against your company, depending on the provider you choose.

Traditional CMS vs Headless CMS

It all comes down to your needs and expectations. Traditional CMS (also called monolithic) includes a complete set of functionalities needed to create content and deliver it to the user.

However, if you want to invest in an attractive UI, filled with different kinds of visual interactions and interactive experiences, it’s better to rely on headless CMS. Why so? A headless CMS treats front-end and back-end as separate parts, detaching the visual display from the content management functionality.

It’s also worth giving headless CMS a shot if you want to connect your content to IoT devices or digital displays. Using the API, you can publish content on any device and channel. In addition, developers can freely choose their favourite frameworks and tools that they want to use. For this reason, headless CMS is very different in this respect from traditional solutions that impose restrictions on the technologies used when creating components.

However, it’s also important to remember that headless CMS may not be the best option for smaller projects. Sometimes it’s better to rely on traditional methods, especially with considerably higher costs of managing headless CMS.

Available Support

No matter what kind of CMS you choose, you’ll have to be ready to address and solve any issues that may arise. Before committing to a specific CMS, you should consider how much support you will need to manage it.

Of course, if your company have a development team, you may rely on your developers. However, remember that you must provide them with freedom of action, as well as time to learn the CMS as they are the first line of defence.

If you don’t want to overburden your devs, you should think about hiring third-party experts to provide 24/7 support. Choosing this option, you delegate the responsibility to someone else and you don’t have to worry about any arising issues.

These options are equally viable; all depends on your company’s business model and what you, as an owner, would like to achieve.

How to Choose a CMS

Choosing a CMS is not an easy task. To make the right decision, you must consider multiple needs and requirements of your organisation and compare different options to strike a balance between cost and quality.

If you feel it is overwhelming, and you are not sure how to choose a CMS perfect for your organisation’s needs, you can always reach out to someone who uses different CMS systems and ask them for their feedback. Then compare apples to apples and you will know, what fits your business best.

I hope this guide will help you make the best decision!

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Entrepreneur, front-end developer, technology enthusiast. A leader who is always pushing himself beyond limits. Firmly believes in the strength of teamwork, but has the ability to work independently. Ambitious with a creative and analytical mind that always guides him to find the most optimal solution for finishing tasks on time.