How to Choose The Best Website CMS

Podcast host

Phil Vallender

Phil Vallender


Episode summary

The content management system (CMS) powering your website has a huge impact on its success. Your CMS affects site speed, ease of editing, scalability, costs, and more. Choosing the right platform is critical.

In this episode, Phil helps guide your CMS selection process. He outlines the core requirements to evaluate when making this crucial decision for your website and business goals.

Tune in to better understand how to match the strengths of leading content management platforms to your goals. With the right CMS foundation, you can build a high-performing and scalable web presence.

Episode transcript

The key to selecting the right CMS for your website is understanding what your goals and requirements and the necessities of a CMS choice are for you, for your unique situation.

And it's also helpful to know what your nice-to-haves are. But it's important to identify them as nice to have and not deal breakers.

When you're selecting a CMS, if you choose based on things that you think may be desirable, and they take precedence over things that are key and core, albeit potentially a little less exciting, you might end up with a suboptimal choice

Building your CMS requirements list

If you're going to review a number of CMS options, then you need to start by building out your requirements list and identifying the big, medium and small things that you can't live without in your business.

At the high end, it's going to be things like what are the core objectives for this website?

  • Is it lead generation for our pipeline?
  • Is it supporting sales through other channels?
  • Is it transacting online?
  • Getting people to buy and checkout and pay on that website experience?
  • Is it creating a community?
  • Is it providing a learning service?

Identify what your big goals, ambitions and objectives for the site are and document those.

What you ultimately need to produce is essentially a requirements document against which you can compare all the CMS choices that are available.

You then probably want to look at the next level down, which is what are your requirements for the site in terms of the features, the tools, and the technologies that are built in?

That might require some research to really understand what's necessary to achieve certain key requirements.

Do you need an SSL certificate, for example?

Most probably yes.

Do you need a content delivery network?

Most probably yes.

Do you need redundancy and resiliency within your infrastructure, etc.?

Do you need role based or granular permissions?

There are a whole lot of things that you can start to think about, and it just pays to get all that down on paper. That way, the CMS vendors or partners that you approach about those CMS choices can tell you definitively whether being discussed complies fully, complies partially, has an alternative solution to that, or just doesn't offer that one particular feature.

You're unlikely to find a CMs that does absolutely everything that you want it to. So you're going to have to look at the difference between the responses you get and potentially weight some of these factors in order to make the safest choice.

Going out to tender with your requirements

And then once you've established all of those requirements, you can go out to tender effectively.

You can either compare the feature sets of the CMS choices on offer against your requirements yourself, or you can ask the vendor or the partner to do that and establish which one provides as many of your requirements as possible.

And you're going to want to look at price and total cost of ownership and the cost of services on those platforms as well. Most likely.

But you'll be able to build a picture of how to obtain the right CMS.

Prioritising your website goals

And it's important, I think, to prioritise the goals, and it's important to think about what your non-requirements and non-goals are too.

So, for example, I think in 2024, if a business's goal is to generate pipeline through their website, and for a lot of B2B organisations with a moderately complex proposition, that's the number one goal.

It's probably not a goal or a requirement or even a desire to be responsible for:

  • updating the version of the software on their servers
  • making sure they've got the right database version installed to keep their site live
  • monitoring it and detecting threats themselves
  • testing it for vulnerabilities periodically.

These are all things that can be done by vendors nowadays, and in lots and lots of cases, I think they ought to be things that companies look to offload to the vendor rather than retain.

Why we recommend HubSpot CMS

As an agency we've specialised on, and we recommend HubSpot for lots of these reasons, because for the majority of businesses that we're best suited to help, their goals, their requirements, their needs for their website, for the technology behind their website are so well served by the feature set that HubSpot have built into the CMS Hub.

This thing incorporates all of the server infrastructure, all of the network infrastructure, all of the distribution, the content delivery network, the edge servers, SSL certificates, security, maintenance, testing, patching, updates, development, commercial support.

It just takes care of all of those things which when I look at the requirements in RFPs for B2B organisations who are evaluating CMS choices, it just tackles a whole swathe of them, for them.

Quite often an RFP will be written with an expectation that the agency will provide a lot of those services, the testing and the monitoring and so on. It's just not required anymore.

There are a lot of good integrated CMS options available today. HubSpot's not the only one, and there are a lot of good self-hosted and open-source options too.

But we recommend HubSpot CMS to our customers because it tackles so many of the core requirements they have from a technology standpoint, and that allows us to focus on the differentiating user experience front-end aspects of their website, which, combined with the technology, can improve their conversion rate so significantly.