Matchmaking: Clients and Content Management Systems

More and more individuals and businesses are using content management systems instead of static HTML sites.  Generally, a content management system (CMS) is easier for an end user to update and maintain.  However, there are a number of options when it comes to choosing a CMS.  Here are some things to consider when helping a client find the content management system that is right for them.

How tech-savy is your client? One of the main reasons to use a CMS is to allow your client to update their own content easily.  In order to do this, they will need to be able to use the admin panel.  Consider how easy it would be for your particular client to add, modify and delete content.  Some of the easier CMS options for a beginner are concrete5 and WordPress. For more advanced users, consider Joomla or Drupal.

What functionality does your client need? This is one of those where you need to find the best tool for the job.   There needs to be some balance here–there obviously needs to be enough features to get the site to where the client needs it and perhaps even grow with them into the future, but at the same point it shouldn’t overwhelm them either. This dovetails with the technology level of your client-user.

Also consider also the plugins and the themes available and how they could benefit your client.  I would recommend browsing both the official site of the CMS in question as well as any 3rd party sites.

What level of support is available? This is both for your benefit as well as the client’s.  How often is the CMS itself updated and how well are changes documented?  Is there an active community that you can ask for help if needed?  What additional resources are available for you and your clients?

What is your level of comfort? Obviously your skills factor in.  What technology are you proficient with? What do you enjoy working with?

Obviously there are many other content management systems available. What do you prefer to use—either on your own or with a client and why?