. Mar 15, 2022 . 6 minutes read
Choosing a content management system (CMS) for your website can feel like a big deal as it is a huge commitment and can determine the success of your website.
Companies spend years filling their CMS with every detail of their business, including countless blog posts, case studies and information about their services. This can sometimes lead you to think twice about adopting a new content management system.
After all, when you’ve become familiar with a certain way of working, it can be daunting to make such a big change, especially when it has worked for you in the past.
That’s why it's crucial to ask yourself why you want to switch content management systems, the benefits the move can provide and what you can do to make sure it’s a smooth process.
Sometimes, small startups begin by using basic content management systems that can get their business up and running online quickly.
However, over time these websites become more and more complex as you add numerous features and plugins in an attempt to better support your business’ needs as it grows.
This can cause companies to meet a roadblock where they realise that their current CMS can no longer facilitate the things their business needs.
Having a content management system that can be scaled to grow alongside your business is essential, otherwise you’ll risk being held back by your website. This is when it comes time for a change.
Although initially time consuming, the process of swapping to a more future-proof and scalable CMS can actually work out to be a lot cheaper and simpler in the long run than continuing to add on multiple plugins into a basic system.
When you add complex features to a CMS that was never intended for it, the process of managing the content can become frustrating, confusing and time consuming.
The whole point of a content management system is to make content management easier (the clue is in the name!) so if you find yourself jumping through hoops just to add a simple blog or image as you navigate through the various plugins that have been added, it’s probably time for a change.
When you have a web content management system filled with plugins, managing them can feel like a chore.
Constantly checking if they need updates, whether any have stopped working or if they are even supported anymore can be incredibly stressful and time consuming.
Additionally, plugins often come with their own list of vulnerabilities and problems, which require regular maintenance, putting your web content at risk if you don’t stay on top of it all.
Switching to a new content management system that can handle most of your business’ needs will limit the amount of plugins your require, making it much more easy to manage and eliminating vulnerabilities.
When you extend and push a CMS beyond what it was originally designed to do, you will find yourself filling your site with thousands of lines of unused code that the user and you will never need.
This can create bloat, meaning the site slows for the user, affecting both the user experience (UX) and SEO, which will prevent your site from organically getting that number one spot on search engines.
This will reduce the amount of traffic your website receives and increase the number of visitors leaving your site immediately. After all, slow loading is the number one reason why a user will leave your site.
Web bloat can even slow down the backend interface, meaning anyone trying to add new content can have a frustrating experience.
The most important consideration when choosing a new content management system is: ‘does this meet my needs?’
Most content management systems specialise in different ways to meet different business needs. For example, if you want a robust blog that requires a large amount of SEO features and extensions, WordPress or Craft CMS are much better fits than Shopify.
On the other hand, if you’re after an ecommerce site that's easy to use, cheap and is easily built upon, Shopify would be the perfect solution for you.
Although one content management system may be perfect for you now, looking to the future should be an important part of the decision making process.
Having a look at the type of extensions and plugins available can give you an insight into how you could approach extending your site in the future.
Some features will be far more complicated to integrate than others and could be a big enough reason to choose a different CMS altogether.
For example, an ecommerce functionality will be a much bigger factor than a chatbot and something you should prioritise highly when choosing the right CMS for you.
There is an assumption about content management systems that the bigger the user base, the more secure it will be. However, this isn’t always the case. Security through obscurity can be a big benefit to smaller CMS systems.
An example of this would be the reputation Apple iMac computers have for being unhackable- the reality is that for a long time iMacs only controlled a small portion of the computer/software market, meaning the majority of hackers and malicious users were not targeting iMacs and didn’t know how.
That’s why it’s much better to have a larger vulnerability that no one knows how to make use of, than a smaller vulnerability that can be abused with a quick google search.
If you have a number of staff who will each be adding content to the site, it is important that the content management system you are choosing has user accounts to keep track of who is updating what.
Collaborating on a site can become very frustrating if you have no idea who is making updates and usually a good CMS will also be able to allow multiple users to update the same content at the same time.
There can be some complications when transferring your existing content onto a new CMS so there are a few things to bear in mind beforehand.
Unless you are changing the URL structure of your site intentionally, it's important to keep an eye on this as not all content management systems will have the same URL layout by default.
It's expected that the seo rankings fluctuate after a new site launch, and these changes in URL structure can exacerbate the problem as Google will lose track of where your content is.
The links within your content, such as internal linking, will also break leading to plenty of 404 errors, affecting your SEO rankings even more negatively.
Moving your content to the new CMS can be an easy or difficult process depending on which content management systems you are swapping from and to.
The content will have to be in an acceptable format for the new CMS, and may have to be edited on a large scale to allow this. Usually content management systems will have export and import features to accommodate this swap-over.
Most content management systems have different methods of storing images and will have different file structures for where those images will be stored, changing the image URL and affecting SEO and causing a myriad of other issues.
This can be a problem in scenarios like blog posts where the images are hard coded into the content. However, this can be solved in a few ways.
The file structure of the old site can be replicated, or a search and replace can be run on your content to update your image links to the new website's structure.
You need to be aware that the CMS you are moving to may not come out of the box with all the features you are accustomed to.
It’s easy to miss the small things, and it can take trial and error and experience with the new processes to know what features you are missing from the toolset.
The best time to make the switch of content management systems is during a website redesign or restructure. If you feel your site needs a new lick of paint, or an updated SEO strategy, you should really consider making the changes sitewide.
This will save you time, money and will also stop you taking multiple hits to your SEO rankings as the changes will all take place at the same time.
The process will be much faster than doing both separately too as the developer will be able to both pull in the new content alongside the redesign, and will be accustomed to what they are working with instead of starting and stopping.
Is your current CMS outdated, difficult to use and no longer meeting the needs of your business? At Statuo, our team of expert web developers can help you to make the switch to a new content management system and get your website up and running again.