Choosing the right Content Management System

Author: Maryka Burger, Digital Marketing Manager

Your website is the window to your business and picking the perfect framework for this window is crucial to ensure users and search engines are able to find you.

Starting with well-planned architecture and a solid foundation is critical to the success of your sites performance. Every business and their requirements are different, and therefore we consider 7 different elements to aid decisions:

Ease of use
CMS platforms nowadays are much easier to use with intuitive back-end systems that empower the non-technical users to add and edit content and media files. Preventing reliance on developers for mundane tasks.

WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal are popular easy to use platforms.

SEO friendly
Often custom-built websites or heavy codebases do not consider search engines, therefore, it is important to ensure you take into account a CMS that uses a powerful SEO plugin or extension. You will spend more money on development to fix this after the fact, so ensure you consider this upfront.

Questions to ask when searching for SEO friendly CMS platforms:
● Does the platform create friendly URL’s?
● Does the platform allow for unique metadata?
● Does the platform allow for various SEO plugins or tools, free or paid?
● Bonus: Does the platform score your SEO in-page?

Features & Plugins
When setting out your website goal, ensure that your chosen CMS platform has specific plugins and/or features that can support it. Plugins allow you to customise attributes of your website simply and easily. With the help of a plugin, you’ll be able to enhance the scalability and functionality of your website.

Along with plugins and features, ensure that your platform supports upgrades to your plugin. Upgrading your plugins will ensure your website stays up to date, while at the same time, eliminating errors and minimising hacking.

Security
Being one of the biggest targets for hackers and cyber criminals, content management systems have various security issues linked to each platform.

Before choosing your CMS, ensure that you know what level of security your platform has available, the costs associated with it, as well as what your CMS provider does to assist you in the event of a hack or breach. It is also important to keep your CMS updated to the latest version to prevent any vulnerabilities.

Analytics
Regardless of the CMS you choose, always ensure that your platform is able to integrate with an analytics tool. The most common, Google Analytics, has a simple code to add to any site, and once verified, your site will be tracked via Google.

The key metrics to track any website includes: traffic, time on page, conversion and ROI, all depending on your website objectives.

Support
Ensure at least one team member is fully equipped with the platform and is quickly able to fix errors, be it technical or not. Training on the specific platform empowers the team to know what they are doing and to ensure errors are dealt with timeously.

Budget
Most CMS platforms are fairly transparent about their costs, but be aware of hidden costs such as upgrades, plugins and security. All common platforms have a list of upfront and upgrade costs on their websites, but one does find platforms that charge extra for licensing, storage, templates, etc. Consider doing a cost analysis of ALL the expenses involved for your chosen platform. Be aware of the fine print.

With hundreds of content management platforms out there, the key to choosing the best CMS is to choose the tool that is most appropriate for getting the job done. It’s a good start to know what your website objective is and to choose the tool that will best support those needs.

Comparison
With the different elements to consider when choosing a CMS, let’s compare the top CMS platforms. The diagram below scores SharePoint, WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal out of 100 and adds an average:

  SharePoint WordPress Joomla! Drupal
Ease of Use & Functionality 50 90 70 45
SEO & URL Friendly 80 80 60 75
Features & Plugins 80 85 75 75
Security 80 65 70 80
Analytics Capabilities 100 100 100 100
Support: Forums, Tutorials, etc. 100 100 100 100
Costs 50 90 70 60
Average 77% 87% 77% 76%

 

SharePoint:
Microsoft SharePoint isn’t a piece of software that was developed for the purpose of creating websites. The main role lies in the document and project management intricacies that the platform offers. As SharePoint is a Microsoft product, you are able to have an on premise version, via Microsoft 365 with various licensing options, or online with free, standard or enterprise versions, each with its own costs. Due to the high functionality and expertise that comes with working in SharePoint, its best to have a dedicated developer and/or team on board.

WordPress:
Since its early days in 2003, WordPress’ roots promote blogging. Nowadays the CMS is a fully capable website management system, equipped with all the necessities you need for any website. It is best suited for public facing brochure sites with image and video content. WordPress makes it super easy to empower agencies and clients to build, add, and remove content, as well as pages and media files, without a dedicated developer on site. This CMS is seen as the quickest and most cost effective.

Joomla!:
The software of Joomla! is aimed at both beginners and advanced users, the ease of use is second to WordPress, but with training and documentation provided, any team member should be well equipped to apply changes to the platform. Joomla! is seen as the middle point CMS between WordPress and Drupal – due to it being less more complex than Drupal, but at the same time, less user friendly than WordPress.

Drupal:
Drupal is viewed as a developer friendly platform. It can be a powerful tool once you have a full stack developer with extensive expertise and experience working on it. By implementing various modules, Drupal can become an extremely customisable platform. Drupal is best suited for medium-sized community projects, as the platform can integrate with almost any company portal that involves complex multi-domain structures.

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