Do You Really Need a CMS?

By Amanda Sheppard, Strategy and Partnerships Director

Published: November 21, 2018

Is a CMS right for you? Well, don’t buy the zoo if you can’t feed the animals.

Seems logical, right? But, when you compare this situation to more common decisions, such as choosing a content management system (CMS), the principle of practicality seems to go out the window. Influenced by what they’ve heard and lured by the appeal of updating content as they please, many decision-makers chase after a CMS without really pausing to think about how much they will use it or, even more importantly, if they have the resources to maintain it.

So, the question remains: Do you really need a CMS?

The Right Choice for the Right Reasons

First off, let’s set the record straight. A content management system can be a very useful, sometimes even necessary, element of a website. I’m not advocating against having a CMS. In fact, I’ve often recommended them. It all depends on the business, its needs and, ultimately, its customers’ needs. Wondering if it’s right for your situation? Keep reading.

Considering a CMS? 

When you start thinking about a content management system, consider the people, the process and the technology. Let’s start with the people. Who are the players interacting with the site? What are their needs? What do they value? Are they limited by capability or time constraints?

Next, think about the process. What internal and external processes do you currently have in place? How might a CMS help support or potentially disrupt these processes? What new processes will need to be implemented to fully leverage a content management system?

Check out this quiz to help clarify the option that’s right for you.

Finally, we think about the technology. Not all content management systems are created equal. Consider which systems exist today. What are the barriers to implementing the new system?

Resources, Resources, Resources

A CMS might save time and money in the long run, but expect upfront and ongoing costs to maintain it. If you haven’t budgeted for this, taking on a CMS may be a financial burden. Even if you have the resources, you’ll still want to make this decision carefully. Money spent on a CMS that you don’t need is money that could have been better allocated to another aspect of your website or business.

A final consideration is the resources that aren’t always obvious but are crucial to effectively utilizing a CMS: time and manpower. The main reason to have a CMS is to give you the flexibility to frequently update and change certain elements of your website. Intending to do this is one thing, but doing it effectively will require dedicated people to make it happen. Beyond just updating content, just like your website, a CMS will require security updates (which soaks up some manpower too). Leveraging a CMS will be wastefully ineffective without enough dollars and time allocated to maintain it throughout the year.

Is a CMS Right for You?

Still think a content management system is the right choice for you? Rock on! Now that you’ve made that tough decision, it’s time to start sifting through all of the options out there, and we can help. Fill out our contact form, and let’s chat!