May/June 2007

Five Tips for Choosing a Web Content Management System

by Five Tips for Choosing a Web Content Management System

So you've decided that a content management system (CMS) is right for you. Gone will be your frustrating days of manually managing content reviews, approvals and updates for your growing Web site. While a content management system can certainly do away with the daily hassles of managing your Web site's content, you should approach this important decision very carefully.

Here are five quick tips to consider when searching for a CMS solution:

  1. Develop a plan and establish some goals
    You should start your search for the right CMS solution by accurately assessing your organization's needs and site goals, and then creating a well thought out plan that takes into account all of the various phases of the project. Discuss with key staff members (see tip #2) realistic timelines, investment requirements (time and financial), goals and objectives for your Web site, and other important project concerns. Creating and following a plan will help minimize unexpected project roadblocks and enable your CMS project to progress more smoothly.

  2. Obtain buy-in from executives and key stakeholders
    Approach your CMS as a cross-organizational project, not as one confined to a single team. By including key executives and other internal stakeholders early on in your decision-making process and obtaining their input and buy-in, you'll have a larger pool of supporters to advocate the benefits of CMS to their various departments and ultimately improve the overall adoption of your new CMS across your entire organization.

  3. Consider all costs
    A successful Web site requires a good amount of nurturing. Consider the total cost of your CMS solution, keeping in mind the costs of customization, implementation, hosting, maintenance, upgrades, etc. Calculate these additional costs up front to ensure that you don't under-budget and that your CMS truly meets your expectations.

  4. Ensure your CMS solution is "future-proof"
    This requires balancing your need for a tool that provides room for growth but is not so complex that it overwhelms you. Since your Web site needs may change significantly from one year to the next, choose a CMS solution that can grow with your organization and continue to meet your evolving needs. For instance, Convio CMS supports multiple content contributors across your organization, allowing staff members with varying degrees of technical skills to author content. Engage your CMS services team to help identify and anticipate needs so that you're not caught off-guard a few years after your purchase.

  5. Take advantage of training and support services
    Training is an essential part of any successful CMS implementation. A CMS solution will benefit your organization in many new ways but it will take some time for you to learn how to use it to its fullest potential. Does your vendor offer training? What about ongoing support to help address those unexpected technical hurdles? Can the CMS be customized to best match your organization's goals and objectives? How will you handle upgrades and maintenance? Support for these and other ongoing needs is critical. Investing in a system without the opportunity to learn how to use it to deliver results prevents achievement of a solid return on investment.

A CMS solution can help you efficiently manage your Web site content, making your days of manual updates and reviews an aggravation of the past. Take the time to consider the above tips to help you lay the groundwork for greater efficiency and online engagement success.

Five Tips for Choosing a Web Content Management System | Convio