Within the last 3 months, many of our clients have been coming to us wanting to be able to update their own website. Some clients are sick of waiting for days or even weeks on their “web guy” to make updates to their website. Others make changes so frequently they’d just rather do it themselves than pay someone the hourly fees. Here are some things to things to think about when considering if your website needs a content management system or not.

What is a Website Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a web-based program or application that allows you to create, edit and manage your website content. A web designer can create a custom design for you and then integrate it as a “theme” or “template” for the CMS being used. Most of the data or content for your website is stored in a database instead of flat files (multiple HTML files linked together). A CMS website is sometimes called a “dynamic website” because the data is being stored in a database and not using flat files.

With a CMS comes more advanced functionality than a flat file website. Some typical features include a news/blogging tool, contact forms, simple file/image uploading, user roles or permissions, photo galleries, etc.

How a Website Content Management System can help

With a Content Management System, you as a client can make updates to your own website without the need to call a “web guy”. Usually we get clients who ask for a CMS because they have finally become tired of their web guy taking way too long to make simple text changes to their website. Another positive is that the cost to maintain your website goes down since you are doing the regular content maintenance. Instead of paying a web guy an hourly fee for updates, you make the updates yourself and they get published immediately. With the right CMS and the proper instruction from your web developer, your CMS should be very simple to use and make updates.

Which Website Content Management System is best?

Each website has unique requirements so not every CMS is right for every project. You first need to analyze your needs and what is most important for your website. With those requirements, a web developer should be able to select the proper solution for you. In our experience, we have found the open source community to be a great fit for most of our clients. When certain website requirements are very specific to a client’s needs, we will implement a custom solution. However, we have found that WordPress seems to be the one solution we come back to time and time again. I’ll be adding another blog post in the near future about our experiences with WordPress and why we always seem to choose it as the best solution for our clients.

So do you need a Website Content Management System?

Here is what we always ask our prospective clients when they ask us about a CMS:

  • Are you planning on making updates more than once a month?
  • Do you ever have time sensitive updates that require immediate publishing?
  • Are you comfortable paying more upfront but saving money on hourly updates over time?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, than a CMS might be a great fit for you. If you only have a small, brochure type website with content that changes on a very infrequent basis then the additional cost to setup a CMS may not really be warranted.
You can check out some of our websites which use a content management system.