Do you remember that adage that says one should never go shopping without a list or one will buy more than needed? The same goes for CMSs (content management systems): before choosing one make sure that you know exactly what you need from it or you will end up being seduced by features you don’t really need and miss out on the important ones. Since those features depend highly on the profile of your website or blog, this article is not aimed at comparing the most famous CMSs, but to at giving you an overview of what you should keep an eye on.
- Core functionalities
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised to know how many people forget the very basics. So, before choosing your CMS, take it for a spin and make sure that adding, deleting editing and arranging pages is easy and user-friendly. You never know who will need to add more content to your website and it’s always better to be prepared for a user that’s not exactly tech-savvy.
- Text Editor
The most common text editor is the WYSIWYG. Despite its popularity, this editor comes with a major flaw: the users are able to edit the content and its appearance, so basically it also gives design privileges. If your website has multiple content editors, using such a system is a bad idea; it will make each article look different from the others and ruin your consistency.
But don’t worry; the newer generations of text editors allow contributors to set heading and links, but they can’t specify how these will look. The CMS will take care to make everything look identical.
If you don’t want your website to look like a million others, customization is an aspect you need to place great importance on. For instance, WordPress offers millions of standard themes, but choosing one of them is risky – you don’t know who else made the same choice. Of course, you can always hire a designer to create a theme for you – it’s usually very cheap and with great results.
Joomla and Drupal also allow customization, but most users complain that their backend interfaces are not very user-friendly.
Whatever niche your website is dedicated to, I’m sure you will want people to find you easily. In order for that to happen, you need to make sure that your CMS has an SEO module and/or that meta tags and other SEO items are very easy to add. On that note, I would like to add that another must-have feature of your CMS is mobile responsiveness. Since the last Google update, this is very important SEO-wise (websites that are not mobile responsive are being penalized), but also for your clients’ comfort.
- Search Functionality
Most visitors lack the time to browse your website endlessly and rely on the search button to give them access to the content they want immediately. This being said, it is not enough for your CMS to have a search button; the way the search is performed is also very important. Are the results ordered by date (most recent on top) or by relevance? Are changes indexed quickly enough (especially relevant if you change your content often)? Is the search thorough enough? If your website is very large, can the search be limited to certain areas? All these are questions that you need to ask before making a purchase.
So, what is your favorite CMS if you already have one? If so, how did you choose it?