Evaluating Content Management Systems

joomla-logo.jpgContent Management Systems are always being evaluated. Sometimes it's an organization looking for the next system to host their website. Sometimes it's someone writing a review about a system. And, still other times it's the competition taking a peak at the products they are up against. Let's take a look at some common areas we need to evaluate whether the system is open source or proprietary.

The Developers

One of the first areas to look at is the developers behind a product. Are they engineering a system or throwing something together ad hoc? Are they knowledgeable about content management and social publishing? Are they good developers who attempt to use good design patterns and practices?

In not talking about the developers who use a CMS to create a website. That's something separate unless you have the same people doing both which happens with some proprietary systems.


No quality support options can be a deal breaker for many. Many companies in the enterprise world have policies that stop software purchase where no support contracts are available unless someone with leverage gets this overridden. This same thing happens within many churches, ministries, and other non-profits.

What are the support options available for a product? Sometimes this will be a regular monthly fee for ongoing support and other times you can get it on a case by case basis.

Do the support options fit your needs and environment?


The more web based tools I try the more I find usability is not an up front factor where it should be. When we think about the people using a CMS we need to think about the lower common denominators. That is, the people who aren't super tech savvy. Think of a church secretary or someone in the age bracket over 55 (where they spent most of their life without a computer). Think of people who aren't using technology everyday and aren't going to learn loads of new terms and concepts. How intuitive is a CMS for them to use?


The Internet, the way we use it, and the way we connect with others is changing at a fairly high rate. Technology is giving us the ability to redefine our processes as things become simpler and more widely distributed. At the same time, web based technologies are becoming more integrated with each other and our lives. How is a CMS moving with this trend? How is a CMS at adopting new processes and technologies to help your organization do what it does better?


This one seems simple and it usually is. Does the CMS have the features to implement the things you need it to do? This means that you need to know what to look for before you dive into picking a CMS. It's the requirements of a product before you pick a solution mentality rather than picking a solution and using what it has mentality.

Over the next few weeks I'll be blogging about each of these areas and what they mean in more detail.