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Your CMS: Beware of ‘good enough’

Your CMS: Beware of ‘good enough’
When it comes to content management systems, there are essentially three levels, and for ease of use we’ll just use the terms basic, medium and high functionality. 

The basic functionality sites are the cloud-based solutions, such as Weebly and Wix. These are fine for startups and what we would call ‘brochure-ware’ sites. They are static for the most part, and provide basic information that doesn’t change often. There’s also no protected content and no database integration. These are great if you need to knock out a website in a hurry, such as for an upcoming event or a sister site that will only be up temporarily. They can cost very little or nothing, and you can use the templates provided and have a nice looking little site.

Mid-level would be something such as a WordPress site. This has additional functionality, lots of plug-ins for added features such as forms and calendars, event management and thousands of templates with nice looking designs. WordPress is easy to use and the administrator tools are simple. Where it is a problem is when you want to do anything advanced. Customization can be difficult, security is very much an issue and it doesn’t have built-in security architecture. So if you have client-only or member-only content, WordPress isn’t ideal for that. And though there are tons of add-ons you can download, the add-on community tends to be comprised more of individuals than companies, so you don’t get the support or followup you’d get from an actual company. If Joe Smith decides he no longer wants to sell, give away or update his add-on, you’re stuck.

High functionality CMS are Drupal, DNN and Umbraco, used frequently by associations. These are open source systems that call for advanced features. The security architecture is more advanced. These systems are ideal when you want to do heavy customization such as single sign-on or custom integration between the website and another system in your organization. And there are tons of available add-on modules. These CMS add-ons are developed more by companies, so from our experience the level of support is more professional and the updating more frequent. They also tend to be more stable and more secure. 

Many organizations that are balancing need with budget will choose a mid-level system, not aware that those may not offer the features they want and the security they need, or that they will outgrow its functional capabilities. The tendency is to underestimate what is needed, to say ‘It looks easy to use, and this seems good enough for what we want it to do.’ Bottom line: Your CMS is not the place to cut costs or to not plan for the future. 

If and when you need help, give us a holler. At i2Integration, we live and breathe in the world of CMS.

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