As a smart business owner, you know you need a CMS to take your company to the next level. But with so many products out there, finding the best one for your unique needs can seem overwhelming.
You’re right to be cautious as you investigate your options. Transitioning into a content management system is a hefty investment of time and resources. It’s essential that you find a strong match before you train your staff and transfer your content.
Although it’s not feasible to wait until the perfect CMS solution falls in your lap, there are ways to narrow down your search. Use these tips to learn what to look for as you choose the right CMS for your business.
1. Stick With the Experts
Because CMS programs are in massive demand, many startup companies are trying to join the industry. While it’s not a bad idea to use newbies in some areas of your business, your content management system isn’t one of them.
You don’t want to be the guinea pig as the manufacturer works out the bugs in its program. Since your goal is to have everything in your company working seamlessly as quickly as possible, those snags could mean wasted time and money for you.
Two of the companies that are dominating the world of CMS platforms are WordPress and Webflow. Check the pros and cons of both of these and some of the other big names, and see if their systems are in line with your business targets.
2. Know What Your Team Needs
Have you ever heard the saying, “The left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?” As a business owner, this should never apply to you. Knowing what’s going on in every department of your company means you’re always ahead of the needs of your team.
When you’re choosing your CMS, your staff or team will be using it, too. They’ll need to be on board with it for the resource to be maximized. For that reason, as you research each platform, pay attention to factors like:
- The user experience and how easy it is to learn intuitively
- Technical concerns and the ease of accessing assistance from the platform’s help department
- How workflows are interconnected so that teams can function together in a separate department
- How well the platform addresses the wants and needs of each part of your team
Expecting a CMS to check all the boxes on your list may keep you investigating your options for years. If you find one that is user-friendly and solidly handles most of the needs in your business, ask for a demo or a trial period. It may be exactly what your company needs to level up.
3. Hosting Capabilities
How important is it for you to have your CMS on your web servers or available anywhere? If it’s not a big deal, then the hosting services are a factor you can skip.
However, if you have a preference, you’ll need to pay attention to how the platform is installed. There are lots of options, but three main ones: self-hosted, cloud hosting, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). We’ll break down each one here, so you understand your choices.
When a CMS is self-hosted, it’s installed on your physical servers, a private server, or a hosting provider. These give you control of management and configuration.
There are some benefits to this, such as your ability to control and customize your website and the entire workflow. The downside is that you’re also spending your resources hosting, configuring, and securing the system.
Many businesses prefer to let the platform’s company handle the intricacies so they can focus on their own areas of expertise.
With a cloud hosting platform, you still have control of a lot of tasks. You can choose when to automate or allow security updates and backups. You can monitor the performance of the system and determine how your website looks and functions.
Cloud hosting is less expensive than installing a platform in-house. As your business grows, you can scale your server resources without a significant dent in your budget.
Other benefits of cloud-hosting make it attractive to business owners. There’s less concern about hardware issues. The server speeds aren’t limited to your own equipment, and the user experience as they browse your website is fast and efficient.
Like cloud hosting, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems typically run themselves without much input from the user. These CMS platforms aren’t as customizable as hosting one on your own server because they are based on the codes designed by the company.
Having the concern of security, hosting, and performance out of your hands frees up a lot of time for you and your team. The experience of using a SaaS platform is usually simplified, not requiring much experience to get started.
Smaller businesses and startups are the best candidates for these types of platforms. There’s not a lot of flexibility, but the process of creating your site and adding content is less complex.
If you intend to scale your business over time, advanced hosting through cloud-based platforms will be your best bet.
A CMS platform’s ease of use and intuitiveness will show up immediately as you interact with the program.
If you like it at first, check into how it’s hosted and how well it addresses the needs of your team. When you find one that meets the bulk of your criteria for all three factors, you have the right CMS for your business.