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How to Choose CMS Software?

Published on 2/27/2011 by

Content management system (CMS) software makes it easy for anyone to purchase a domain name and develop a website.  CMS software is developed with the most basic computer user in mind, so even beginners can use CMS software to start:

  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Portals
  • Video streaming websites
  • Social communities
  • Social bookmarking sites
  • Web directories
  • Wikis

CMS software takes much of the backend work out of website building and lets users concentrate on content and development.  Most CMS software is administered through a simple to operate graphical web based control panel.

If you’re looking for a CMS tool to help get your website online, you’ve likely noticed just how many options there are to choose from.  Here are a few tips you can use to choose the CMS software that’s right for your website.

Installation options

All CMS software is available online for download.  If you’re an advanced computer user and are familiar with how to transfer files from your home computer to your web hosting server, this is a good choice for you.  Beginner users may wish to go an easier route with one-click installation software that is available and preinstalled inside their web hosting control panels.  To find out what CMS software choices come with your web hosting account, login to your control panel or consult your web hosting company.

The cost factor

CMS software is available free of charge as open source software or freeware, and can also be purchased as shareware.  It’s important to consider your budget in the early stages of decision making so that you know what your options are.  There are many excellent free CMS software options, but not all come with the same level of support, so be sure to do your research.

Customization options

If you’re a beginner webmaster you’ll want to choose CMS software that is not only easy to customize, but also has a large number of themes or skins available for download.  Themes and skins will give your website a unique look and can be further customized by you.

Will you monetize your website?

Some CMS software gives end users the ability to monetize their website by default.  With other types of software you’ll have to add widgets or plugins to be able to make money from your domain.

Ease of use

While most CMS software is geared toward those with little working website development knowledge, some will be easier to operate and maintain than others.  Before you settle on any software, make sure you do the following:

  • Conduct research.  Visit the websites of CMS software developers and test the free demos onsite. 
  • Read software reviews.  Software reviews are written by current and former users, and provide the best insight into how well that software functions.
  • Visit forums.  Get online and read forums associated with the specific CMS software you’re interested in.  By doing this, you’ll be able to see the advantages and disadvantages of each type of software.

Putting it all together

The CMS software you choose should have all of the following characteristics:

  • Updated frequently
  • Well supported
  • Ample documentation
  • Happy customers

There has never been a better time to start and develop a website.  CMS software makes it easy for even beginner webmasters to put together a high quality website.  When faced with the choice of deciding which CMS software you will use, define your needs, do a little research and be sure to test products before putting them to work.