CMS selection guide for design-savvy agencies

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What drives CMS selection?

When your clients come to you needing a new website, CMS selection is often informed by one of two reasons.

Either: We’ve always used this CMS. Let’s avoid change.”

Or: We hate this CMS. Let’s use a different one.”

But, neither of these motivations will paint a complete picture of what they truly need. And, you know better than we do that clients struggle to figure out what factors should influence their decision. This is where you come in to guide them. Do you feel ready? If the answer is yes,” you can probably stop reading now. Though, we’ll take your feedback on the rest if you have opinions! If the answer is no,” we’ve got some help for you.

Download our CMS Selection Guide (PDF).

6 steps to choosing a CMS

We recommend this 6‑step process to help you find the right CMS for your client:

  1. Make sure it will be easy to use by beginning with a list of users and their website maintenance needs. Make the list as detailed as possible.
  2. Create a list of must-have features beyond the standard text editing stuff. Do they need a visual-heavy portfolio? Have a ton of media to manage? Ecommerce or other specific needs?
  3. Don’t forget about 3rd party integrations! Make a list of marketing automation, sales software, point of sale systems and other third-party tools that the site will need to support.
  4. Document specific security concerns so you don’t get burned later. Some industry or clients will have specific requirements — so do that research upfront.
  5. Choose something flexible enough to scale. Are there any specific growth goals?
  6. Consider a maintenance plan. Will your client want to pay for everything upfront and take on their own maintenance and updates? Some CMSs make that easier than others…

If you follow these steps you’ll end up with some great requirements that will help you with CMS selection (and also with getting a build quote if you need to do that).

Once you have completed the list, compare your clients needs to a few CMS options. To make that easy for you, we’ve compiled a comparison chart and overview of 4 popular options: Craft CMS, Drupal, Umbraco and Wordpress.

Get our no-strings-attached CMS Selection Guide (PDF) here.