In part 1 of our guide, how to choose the right CMS, we looked at the concepts of functionality, editing, and asset management. The underlying principle of selecting a CMS boiled down making a list of what you needed from a CMS, and not what you wanted. Everything else flowed from there. In part 2 of our guide, on how to choose the right CMS, we will be focusing on concepts such as searching, customisation, and user interaction.
A CMS is only as good as its users, but this concept is one that conjures questions on what you want, and need, the level of interaction to be. Let us look at first on what you want the user to be able to do. They will need to upload posts, and probably edit them, but do you want them to be able to edit all posts by all users? Is there going to be some level of security and accessibility. Do you want your users to be able to change the feel and look, of the site? Or manage passwords, or export information to other systems. These are all important considerations for the CMS.
As a minimum, it is important to post forms and collect responses, which is something all CMS’ can handle, but is it easy to change or specify fields, or is that something that is down to someone with specialised knowledge? What happens with the information you collate? Do you need a database, or can these be output to a spreadsheet? How easy is this information emailed to a third party? The deeper you go with user interaction, the more complex it becomes. It is a necessity to this however, when choosing the right CMS.
All of this is one concept, but lets not forget end user feedback. You want ratings, chatrooms, forums and so on, then you will need this functionality. A third party plug in will cater for all this, but can your CMS support it, and is its implementation easy to do?
Over half the users of the internet enter text in a search field, as soon as they log onto a site. It is essential that your CMS has good functionality in this respect. As a simple check list, see if the CMS you have in mind can do this.
Indexing: Does your website content change on a regular basis? If so, ensure that the search engine, indexes your site often.
Scope: Does the indexing include word, excel, PowerPoint documents and the like?
Speed: On larger sites it can take time to return a result. This can drive users away. Not good.
Refining: Can you narrow the scope of a search to a section of a site. This makes searching that much faster.
Ranking: How does the site shape-up in terms of rankings. Can this be changed by the user or the website owner?
Customisable: Is it possible to control how results are displayed and change the design?
By looking at these features in searching, will help you in choosing the right CMS for your site.
Customisation on any CMS is a key factor to its success. Technology now no longer dictates how the presentation of content should appear. Though some CMS and web developers will no doubt disagree, the simple fact is that there is no need for code to be limiting on how the content is managed. Especially as this impacts on accessibility of the site.
The better CMS’ should be able to display end user comments on the front page of a site, or show news stories in reverse order. The key here is flexibility and ease of use. Ensure this is considered when choosing a CMS.
That rounds up part 2 of our guide on choosing the right CMS. We have seen that the last three concepts of searching, customising, and user interaction, should be looked at in detail to choose the right CMS for your website.
This is continued in part 3 of our guide on how to choose the right kind of CMS for your site.