I get asked the question "Do I really need a content management system?" on an almost daily basis so I thought I would gather together all the answers I have given over the years to create a short guide for those of you who may be asking the same thing.
It is important that you look at these points and evaluate them honestly if you want to arrive at the correct answer. I have seen far too many people who wind up going the wrong way by not being honest with themselves.
You need a content management system if:
You regularly need to update content on your site
This is really a no-brainer. If you find that you are always wanting to change or update your sites' content, you definitely should consider using a content management system. You will save on development costs in the long term and you will feel a greater sense of site ownership by doing your own updates. This can only be a good thing.
You need to have "public" and "private" information
If there are areas of your site that you want to restrict access to, a good content management system will handle this for you. An example might be "members only" content that you provide as a paid service or as a value add for registered users only.
You want complete control of your sites "assets"
Your sites assets include images, documents, videos and text content. Most sites today include all of these and a content management system will allow you to add,edit and delete any and all of these items as necessary.
You are comfortable using word processors, editing images and writing content
This to me is probably THE most important point. You really need to be confident using the interface of your content management system. The process should be simple and easy to not just learn, but master as well and for that, you need to have a basic understanding of content creation principles.
You don't need a content management system if:
You only have a small site of around 5 to 10 pages AND your content won't change very often
If your needs are basic and your site content doesn't need to change then a static site will be fine. You should constantly evaluate your needs though and if your site isn't giving you the results you expect, you may need to reconsider your strategy.
You suffer from acute technophobia
If the thought of using word processors or managing your sites assets fills you with fear and dread, then stick with letting your web developer do any site updates for you. I have seen people reduced to tears (really) when forced to use a tool they just can't get their heads around, so it is really just not worth the pain.
You cannot give the time required for site maintenance and updates
Using a content management system is a commitment. Unless you are prepared to put in the time needed to keep your site fresh and relevant, then you are just wasting money. Make sure you ask yourself truthfully if you or one of your staff can put in the time needed or you can afford to pay a third party to do your updates.
There really is no definitive do you or don't you list, but this short summary will hopefully help you decide whether you need a content management system or not.
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