June 16, 2009

Looking for a suitable CMS?

Choosing a suitable content management system (CMS) can be a tricky job. With options galore, the need to trim down the search and zoom in on the perfect content management system for you is very important. Here are a few steps that would ensure that you get what you actually want, rather than fancy functionality which will never be of any use to you.

• Core functionality
The core tasks consist of creating, deleting, editing and organizing pages, and most people consider that all CMSs provide these by default. But that’s hardly true! There isn’t even a guarantee that such functionality will be presented in an intuitive way. The requirement to structure and organize pages might not arise right now, but in the future. Stay away from any CMS that does not allow you to complete these core tasks. There are thousands of content management systems in the market, and a majority of them offer this functionality. However, they vary in usability. And a thumb rule is to test the system for usability before making a purchase.

• Managing assets
A CMS managing images and files poorly can frustrate users. One needs to ensure that the selected content management system encourages content providers to add attributes to images. A CMS that provides basic image editing tools, such as cropping, resizing and rotating is always a welcome relief. Lastly, check whether descriptions can be added to the files, and whether the search functions are capable of indexing them.

• User interaction
Gathering user feedback should be one of your priorities, while you might also require functionality such as chat, forums, comments and ratings. Check out how easy the CMS makes this whole process. Enquire what tools are for communicating with your customers. Also, find out whether you can send email newsletters. How about news feeds and RSS?

• Multiple website support
Another must-have feature is the ability to run multiple websites. Even if you do not require this facility right now, you might decide to launch a new website in the near future. What with mobile devices being a hot target, the necessity to have a website for mobiles is a strong possibility.

• Multilingual support
Your website may cater to a local audience, and be language specific; but what’s the harm in thinking big? With your business growing fast, you would have evolving requirements… and being able to accommodate various differences only gives you a significant edge over the rest. But also consider whether you have necessary content for multiple languages; else you would be paying money for something useless!

Other issues like licensing, support, accessibility, security, and training are also high priority. A thumb rule would be to keep requirements at a optimum level while keeping an eye on the future.

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