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How to choose the best CMS software

Ana CanteliWritten by Ana Canteli on 13 march 2018

According to the latest statistics, users expect to have a consistent digital experience, regardless of the means they use to access us. This increases the expectations placed on content marketing, particularly in the management of web content that we provide. Therefore, the acquisition of a content management system is a strategic decision, in which the selection process is the very important when defining the company's strategy. In this article we highlight the steps and elements that we have to take into account to choose the best CMS platform.

Determine which users will use the CMS

The web content management will be software included in the set of tools that the organization use to achieve its objectives. Therefore, dealing with the need to choose the right cms for your business, you will have to assess which departments or areas will be affected and benefited, by the acquisition of the cms solution. From the marketing department, which will decide the creation of content, the level of sophistication - text, text and images, inclusion of videos ... - the publication calendar in social media, or the inbound marketing campaigns. Even the sales department, which will want to use it for customer management, measure the conversion from potential to real client, integrate it with your CRM; the project manager will want to integrate it with the ERP of the company. And the web developer, who will have to be responsible for software maintenance.

Prioritize the list of requirements

Each group of users will have their list of requirements, which the CMS must comply with. To cater to all groups of interest equally, the ideal is to ask them to prioritize their list of cms features; from what "must have” the web content management system, going through what is "important" to what would be interesting to have.

Support

The coverage offered by the CMS provider for the maintenance of the online project can be very different. From resolution of incidents in a basic installation, through the inclusion of updates; to offering training, both to end user and administrator. It is also advisable to take into account if your provider can be your website builder if necessary.

Security

CMS content management systems are one of the most common targets for hackers and cybercriminals of all kinds. And the most popular cms platforms as Joomla or Wordpress, often present security problems that should be taken into account. Cases like the Panama Papers, suffered by the Mossak-Fonseca Law Firm, remind us from time to time the meaning and importance of maintaining acceptable security levels. To choose the best content management system cms it is advisable to make an evaluation of the security features that it offers, look for information about security problems that the provider has experienced in the past. What protocols are advised to follow in case of an attack. What is the opinion of the users of the platform. From our point of view, one of the basic elements that we consider that every cms platform should offer, is the possibility of publishing in static. This improves very much the experience management as your enterprise content management softwer will let you be always in control of your business website.

Questions we have to ask ourselves when choosing a CMS

  1. What effects will the CMS have on my business? You have to take into account the responsibilities that you will acquire when entering a CMS in the company. For example, when purchasing an on-premise CMS, you will need to have web developers, either within the company, or subcontracted. The launch of the final CMS will take more time than a SaaS CMS, although it will be better adapted to each and every one of the requirements of our business. For instance: wysiwyg editor, marketing automation, facilities to open an online store, etc.
  2. Do I take into account all the costs of the CMS? The creation of a web page is only the beginning. It is highly advisable to have all the expenses related to the project budgeted. For example, can users leave a comment on your website through the ecommerce platform?
  3. How will the CMS be integrated into my software suite? The CMS can not be managed as a silo in the company. It has to be a tool within the digital marketing strategy, for customer service, ecommerce platforms, project management, etc.
  4. How easy is the installation and use of the cms solution? Is it necessary to have technical knowledge? This is an aspect that is often underestimated during the CMS selection, but that has a great impact. Because you have to choose software that both technical staff and the end user would manage easily.
  5.  Does the CMS have all the features I need to cover my business and help me achieve my goals? The answer to this question depends on the type of company in which we work, the objectives you have and the interest groups that we have to satisfy with the web content management. An startup will prefer scalability, while an established company will prioritize software integration among its suite of programs.
  6. Does the provider offer training and support adaptable to my business goals? Many organizations think that the CMS is an investment with an expiration date. And this is something that does not have to happen. The acquisition of a content manager is a strategic decision that can be adapted to the changing needs of the business and adapt to the life cycle of the company. In fact, the web of your company will evolve with the market, with electronic commerce and the same should do your CMS. It is also interesting to know if the CMS provider offers training programs to both end users and collaboration programs with web developers. In addition, technical support should be offered in various formats, for example 24/7 and allow several contact modalities.

Open Source or Commercial Software

Open source software offer certain advantages, such as allowing working with technology that is constantly improved by the community of users, who use it for its easy user management and web designs, both from the perspective of the end user experience and technical staff.

Besides, Commercial Softwares offers professional services of installation, support and version updates.

Both in the case of projects based on open source cms and 100% commercial solutions, we would advise take a look on both solutions based on a few points:

  • It is a consolidated project with a track record of several years? A new project not yet consolidated or a project that in recent years has had few or no updates?
  • Has a relevant and active user community?. Thanks this, we can observe the movement of public forums and times of response.
  • If professional services related to the installation,  what level of support and maintenance of the application are offered.
  • How frequently softwares updates are released?
  • In case of severity, how long has it taken to get a patch to solve the problem?
  • If there is a contact email, how long have they been delayed contacting us? That can give us some idea of the quality of the service.
  • Locate the documentation of the application and take a quick look.

For example in the case of OpenKM which is a document management solution, not directly comparable with a CMS. It is a consolidated project that was born in 2006; more than 11 years ago. With stable versions in time. A public forum where the OpenKM developers try to answer during the first 24 hours to queries. Periodic updates of the application, at least 2-4 releases per year and in the few times that we have encountered a serious incident we have solved it, in the week in which we have been informed of it (if it has not detected it by ourselves before).

Manage several websites at the same time

If your business covers different countries, areas or regions, you may be interested in managing several website designs from the same platform. In this case, you will look for a CMS that allows you to create several web designs, maintain several content types, easy to use, that allows you to define the privacy policy, apply SSL certificates, cookies policy. From a single platform to not have to spend time and energy opening multiple sessions, at the same time that offering different user interfaces, improving the customer experience and boost the learning management.

Select the CMS format that best suits our needs

SaaS; third party web host, or installed on your own server. To know which one to choose, here we provide the advantages and disadvantages presented according to the options of web content management systems.

Advantages and disadvantages of the on-premise CMS (installed on server)

  • More control: you decide the infrastructure and the environment in which to install the CMS.
  • Personalization: if you use an open source CMS you will have more possibilities to adapt the software to your interests.
  • Installation, maintenance and update costs: unless the provider includes the installation process, this will be an additional cost to take into account, in addition to the maintenance of the server and software updates, which will be funded by you.
  • Scalability: the on premise CMS comes with a set of essential features that can be increased depending on the updates of our provider. Besides, as administrators of the cms platform, we can enable or disable features to adapt the CMS to each scenario.
  • Initial investment: it is high, especially if we compare it with the use of CMS in SaaS format. In return, it gives us great independence and autonomy.
  • Deploy step: it will be longer than in case of the CMS software as a service, since we will have to take into account the installation and the configuration process. In retur, we will have a platform that will adapt to each of our requirements


Advantages and disadvantages of the CMS hosted on third party web host

  • Launching process: faster than in the on premise version, since the software is installed and configured, at least at standard level.
  • Scalability: assisted by the CMS solution provider.
  • Initial investment: it is less than in the case of installation on your own server and you can always rent the space not used to third parties.
  • Vulnerabilities: security and scalability depend on the software and or server provider on which the web content management system is hosted.
  • Long-term costs: it is an option that ceases to be effective in the medium term because of the rent to pay, something that can increase over time.

Advantages and disadvantages of the CMS in SaaS format

  • Variety of features: they usually offer many options that allow you to customize your CMS and adapt the management to your business.
  • No maintenance costs: all maintenance costs, security are borne by the solution provider
  • Regular updates: content management providers are responsible for security bugs and provide new features to maintain customer satisfaction levels, as well as their loyalty.
  • No installation: the CMS is already installed and ready to use. These services are also managed by the software provider.
  • Payment for service: SaaS platforms do not usually have permanency commitments. You pay for use, which allows you to change of  model management at your choice.
  • Scalability: at the request of the organization, which is the customer of the supplier.
  • Security: it is managed by the owner of the software in SaaS mode, from the back ups to the resolution of security or performance problems. In addition, the client can establish additional processes to increase the security.
  • Support level: most of the software in SaaS mode offer technical support included with backup management.
  • Customization: using the software as a service, sometimes means that you can not make drastic changes in the configuration.
  • Support: the use of the cms software as a service implies dependency in security matters on the part of the provider. This in itself, is not a problem; but if you manage information considered sensitive, it can mean a loss of control over security.

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