By Nikolay Barbariyskiy | 13.12.2021

Content Management Systems: 10 tips for choosing the right one - part 2

Engineering – 5 min read

10 tips for choosing the right CMS

In the first article, we shared five tips on how to choose the right CMS. Now, we will introduce the remaining five plus one bonus to give you the complete picture. 

6. Is it scalable?

This question--as well as the answer, of course--is crucial. If you go for SaaS, there isn’t really a problem. This solution provides great out-of-the-box scalability that you need not concern yourself with. 

However, if you selected an on-premise solution in terms of a traditional CMS, don’t forget to reckon with the price of scaling it up and paying for the required infrastructure. It is doable, but you'll pay extra for it.

7. Multichannel and multisite

This is an important concept, especially with regard to modern demands. 

Multichannel means that you can freely distribute your content to multiple channels like websites and mobile applications. Why should this be a problem, you may ask. Well, both of these apps usually require slightly different data or different formats. If you use a traditional CMS like Drupal, you will have to invest in setting up an API for your native mobile app, given that Drupal obviously does not render mobile :-). But once again, with the headless CMS approach, this problem is pretty much solved by itself, especially if the API is REST or GraphQL based.

And what about multisite? A single CMS supports multiple solutions (more than one site, no need to migrate), meaning it can distribute and manage content for different websites/platforms without the necessity of switching accounts and the CMS itself. A huge advantage, don't you think? 

8. Multiple environments

Your CMS is a dynamic environment that grows in time and changes along with your business. Content adjustments are therefore to be expected. 

Usually, you don’t wanna test all changes directly on your customers. That is why you need multiple environments (usually called dev/stage/prod) where you can develop and safely test your updates before the release. With traditional and especially self-hosted CMSs, you will have to invest in setting up the environments by yourself. But great SaaS and a headless CMS provide this feature in just a few clicks, making your development team way happier and allowing you to sleep well at night. 

9. Make sure your team loves it

UI and UX matters! The graphical environment of a CMS is extremely important for your team to work effectively and productively. Make sure it has all the necessary elements like image uploading and processing, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), and an enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing workspace.

A wisely chosen CMS also gives your marketers enough flexibility to do their job and create awesome content without relying on developers to publish updates every single time. 

10. Support

How difficult is it to make changes in your CMS? Do you need to read tons of forums and documentation to know how to do it? Or can you just have a phone call with the CMS dev team directly? Well, that’s a critical question to ask when choosing a CMS. You can imagine the latter option will save you quite a bit of money, time, and stress in the long run.

11. Can you afford it?

Oh, budgeting :) As usual, this is one of the toughest questions and decision factors to take into consideration. It may be tempting to go with a solution that looks more friendly at first glance, but you should not forget about hidden costs. This is especially relevant in the case of on-premise solutions. Quite often, they come with some sort of one-time or periodic licence fees. You should always include those in the final price. We’re talking about:

  • Deployment costs–how much effort and time it will take your team to install a given solution in a production-ready and development-friendly manner.
  • Maintenance costs–the amount of effort you need to invest in maintaining the solution and reacting to any potential incidents.
  • Database costs–yes, a database is rarely part of the overall solution, and you will need to allocate a budget to run and maintain one.
  • Scaling costs–is the given solution scalable, and will it be able to grow with your company?

In the case of SaaS, it’s a bit easier as all these costs are already part of the pricing. That is because, by definition, SaaS solutions take care of all the above-mentioned costs. That means that they are usually completely carefree and don’t require having a team of specialists on your side.

However, SaaS solutions usually base their pricing on the number of resources you consume, for example:

  • number of blogs
  • number of pages
  • size of media storage
  • number of users
  • etc.

All of the above depend heavily on your business and particularly the web solutions that are going to utilize them. Therefore, make sure to give your marketing/editors and your (!) tech team the time to estimate how much of a given resource you're gonna need. And never hesitate to contact your headless CMS provider directly to consult the optimal cost for your project. 

Would you like to discuss our personal experience with choosing and building different types of CMSs? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us (Jake, me) via LinkedIn, we’ll be happy to talk.

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