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Before you buy a CMS

Choosing a content management system is challenging. The tools range from high-end corporate solutions that do all you could ask for a hefty price tag down to inexpensive and free tools you set up and maintain yourself. But how do you decide what you need? Look at your company's needs, the time your IT department has to install and maintain the software, and the features the solution includes.

High-End Corporate Solutions

These solutions can be high priced, but they offer the most services of all the CMS tools. They cover every aspect of content management, from content entry to workflow to dynamic page generation and delivery. If your company has a high-traffic Web site with vital ecommerce initiatives, these solutions are a good choice. They offer content management integrated into a full-service solution.

Publication Systems

There are several content management systems that focus on creating the Web pages. They offer superior personalization and page generation tools. They offer good database connectivity to create dynamic, template driven pages quickly and easily. If your company is looking for a solution to handle many standardized looking pages, such as a Web catalog or online store, these tools are good.

Workflow Tools

There are many aspects to the content management lifecycle, and these tools provide strong features for managing the work. Roles and assignments are handled by the tool. If your company has a large number of employees and staff responsible for the Web site these tools can help you get control over the process.

Low-Priced and Open Source Systems

All the content management solutions in the world won't do you any good if your company can't afford it. These tools offer the same services that the more expensive solutions offer, but they don't include support and other services from the company selling them. If your company has a strong IT team with an interest in saving money but creating manageable Web sites, these tools are great.

Back-End Scripting Tools

A common solution many smaller companies choose is to create their own content management system using back-end scripting tools such as PHP, ASP, JSP, or ColdFusion combined with a database. This type of solution offers many of the dynamic page building capabilities of CMS, but none of the project management and workflow elements.

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