7 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a CMS for Your Business

By Shaun Fyffe October 7, 2015 Articles and Editorials

In business, it can take years to make up for mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

While some mistakes are easier to recover from than others, it is always far more advantageous to prevent easily-avoidable mistakes by learning from those made by others that were once in your position.

Since you’re here reading this article, one thing is clear: you’re considering a CMS for your business to get the most out of your content. That being said, you don’t want to make a choice that could cost you and your business money, and more importantly, time.

After all, choosing the right CMS should help you to improve your efficiency when creating and delivering content, as well as improve your customer experience, and ultimately boost revenue.

In order to help alleviate the stress that comes with choosing the right CMS for your business, we’ve put together 7 common mistakes made by businesses during the selection process, as well as some tried and true suggestions to help you avoid them.

1. Going Steady with All-Rounders

If you’re picking out such an important piece of software, it’s natural to want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. That’s why many business owners try to find a CMS that’s much more than just a content management system – they also want it to be a customer relationship management system, an email marketing platform, an analytics powerhouse, and so much more.

While it’s great to find a CMS that’s versatile, the problem with this approach is that many owners end up paying top-dollar for a system that’s a jack of all trades – and a master of none. You’re far better off choosing a software that can brilliantly do the one or two things your business needs most than trying to find a unicorn that can fulfill every need you could possibly think of.

When searching for your CMS, pick one that’s outstanding at managing content – and then, if you still want it to do more, make sure it’s able to integrate with other platforms and apps. It’s much easier to “build” a do-it-all system than it is to find one ready right out of the box.

2. Failing to Recognize How a CMS Can and Should Benefit Your Business

Even the most successful business owners can get caught up in the “what.” That is, what features the CMS has to offer. They hear about all the amazing features that a CMS has to offer, and they never stop to think about how those features can benefit their business.

In fact, it’s so easy to get caught up in all those features that it’s no surprise that most business owners forget to even consider how their business could benefit from using a CMS. The truth is that purchasing a CMS without considering how it could help your business is a lot like buying a car before you have an idea as to how you’ll use it. For example, if you’re going to need to go off-roading, for example, it’s good to know that before you buy yourself a brand new Tesla Model S.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to know what a CMS Is and does before you start shopping (and the fact that you’re here means that you at least have some background knowledge of what a CMS is and what it can do for your business.

Once you’ve established that, it’s time to think about how you and your business can ultimately benefit from utilizing a CMS. Decide what you want your CMS to do for you, and how you want it to do just that. Looking back at our car example, the fact that a Tesla Model S is a poor choice for off-roading doesn’t mean that it’s a bad car overall. It’s all about finding a CMS that’s the proper fit for your needs.

Before you narrow your shopping list for a CMS, sit down and consider what business needs you’d like your CMS to address. Try to figure out ways you can increase your efficiency or broaden your reach with a CMS – and decide if the benefits will be worth the cost. Otherwise, you’re shooting in the dark when you go shopping.

3. Letting Your Budget Dictate Which CMS You Choose for Your Business

Once you’ve got a good idea of the impact a CMS can have on your business, you’ll have a better idea of what you should spend. Too often, businesses choose a CMS strictly based on their budget.

In effect, they’re basing their budget on what they’re willing to spend now, while failing to consider how much they could increase their profitability down the road by choosing the proper CMS. This can lead them to buying a bargain-basement CMS that doesn’t really meet their needs, and that can be an extremely expensive mistake.

When shopping for the right CMS, keep your needs in mind rather than your budget. Now, this doesn’t mean that the most expensive option is the best – again, it’s all dependent on your business and your needs. You might set a huge budget for your CMS, only to find that a free, open-source option works best for you. Likewise, you may realize that an enterprise-level CMS can take your company to the next level, even if your budget is limited today.

Instead, try to figure out where the right CMS could take you – and then budget for that.

4. Choosing a CMS before Fully Assessing the Needs of Your Business

It’s easy to hear about all the good features a CMS has to offer, and then opt to purchase it without actually considering if those features actually fit your business’s needs. The cold hard truth is that you can’t know what you want your CMS to do if you haven’t fully considered what you want your business to do. Are you looking for a CMS because it meets existing needs, or because it can help you attain projected growth, or both? You need an answer to that question before you buy.

By failing to examine the current and potential future needs of your business, you may put yourself in a position where you purchase a CMS that fails to live up to expectations because it doesn’t fit the particular needs of your business.

Likewise, don’t just look at what your business does now when choosing your CMS. Maybe you don’t do a lot of blogging at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider what kind of impact increasing your content marketing could have on your business, and budgeting accordingly.

Figure out what needs are most important to your business now, and then what you would need to take your business to the next level. Then choose your CMS accordingly – otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential value.

5. Picking a CMS Solely Based on the Recommendation of Someone Else

No matter what you’re shopping for, a recommendation is always nice – just don’t let it be your only consideration when shopping for a CMS.

After all, every business is unique, with different needs and challenges. Just because your buddies (or main competitor) got great results from their CMS doesn’t mean it would work for you – their needs could be completely different from yours, which could mean that their CMS is a terrible fit for your business.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to solicit and consider recommendations from trusted sources, but look past the recommendation itself and consider why they’ve recommended it. After all, just because someone else claims to use the best CMS, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for the needs of your business.

6. Getting the Wrong People Involved in the CMS Selection Process

This one’s a little tricky, so it’s no wonder it trips up so many business owners. If you’re buying a software solution, who should you trust to guide you in the process?

If you said your IT department, you’d be like thousands of other business owners out there – and you’d be dead wrong.

The fact is, a good CMS will have an enormous impact on all facets of your business, and as a result, you should get multiple departments involved in the decision. The IT department will be working with it, yes – but if you consider only their input, you’re liable to find yourself with a CMS that’s easy to manage… and fairly useless otherwise.

If you have departments such as sales, marketing, management, and yes, IT involved and working together, you can discuss how the CMS will affect each department specifically. Then, you can balance your decision on which option impacts each department, while also considering which trade-offs you’re willing to make.

7. Not Being Realistic about What a CMS Can and Should Do for Your Business

While a good CMS can be one of your most powerful assets, that doesn’t mean that it’s a miracle worker. Try to have a good idea of what a CMS can realistically accomplish before you buy and implement it, or else you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Many owners expect their CMS to completely revolutionize their business, especially if it’s on the pricey side. Then, when they don’t see immediate and dramatic change, they tend to lose faith in the software and abandon it – leaving a ton of value on the table.

While a CMS can have a powerful impact on your bottom line, it often takes time to get going – and effort to monitor. Be sure you know what you’re looking for before you make any rash decisions.

Find the Right CMS for Your Business

When you find a CMS that fits your business’s needs, chances are you’ll be impressed at the effect it will have on your company. Just make sure you consider all of your needs before you go shopping, and take care to avoid these 7 common mistakes. Your business will thank you.

CMS Critic also offers CMS Consulting, to help you find the best content management system for your next project.

Shaun Fyffe

Shaun Fyffe Author

A man of many hats, Shaun Fyffe is an experienced content marketer, web developer, and teacher. He has created content for the marketing campaigns of such household brand names as Cold Stone Creamery and CoffeeForLess.com.

When he’s not writing about ice cream, coffee, and everything in-between, he’s consulting with small and large companies around the world. His expertise in web development and digital marketing has proved instrumental in helping his clients improve the results of their content strategy and management efforts.

When he’s not in the office, Shaun enjoys spending time with his loving wife and two beautiful children, watching baseball, and following the stock market.

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