Whether you are building a site from the ground up or updating an existing one, you may have wondered if it is worth the investment to host the site in a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Umbraco or Microsoft’s SharePoint. Here are six questions to help you decide between CMS or HTML5.
A CMS is a web platform that allows multiple users to manage pages and content such as videos, images and documents. All CMS solutions provide the same core benefit – a friendly way to edit/publish HTML pages to a live site.
CMS systems require an initial setup as well as design templates, but once they are up and running, any authorized user can sign in and keep the site current. Because all the content is stored in the CMS’ online database, there is no need to download the HTML pages and repost them. CMSs also come with a number of features that allow many publishers to maintain content, branding and user accounts. This differs from HTML5 sites where content, design and updates are typically outsourced to a web design team.
Six questions to help you decide:
How frequently will you need to update your site?
As a general rule, if a website is not updated frequently (e.g. only annual updates are needed), then a pure HTML hosting will do. To help gauge the frequency of updates, check pages for time sensitive content such as schedules, event calendars, job postings, blogs and articles. A site that manages many frequent changes requires a CMS.
Is the size of the website larger than 50+ pages?
If a website is less than 50 pages of static content, a CMS may be overkill. If it is larger than 50 pages, a CMS may be necessary to help manage regular updates across the various categories of the site.
Will your users need to sign-in?
For HTML5 systems, login and account access needs to be custom built. But CMSs have excellent tools to manage user accounts. A CMS is powerful enough to host intranet or internet based user accounts for thousands.
Does the site require many content editors or curators?
A single editor and contributing group can build, maintain, and publish to a simple HTML site. However, if the site is complex and it requires layers of contributors, a CMS is the route to go. A good CMS will easily manage and administer groups for writers, editors and publishers, allowing access to specific pages users need to maintain. Editors and publishers can then review and approve content before it goes live.
Does the site require a standard look across most pages?
CMSs work with a series of Master Page or Theme templates to facilitate branding standards. Master page templates are handy for standard menus and navigation. CMSs also can contain a gallery of page types and branded images to facilitate any new pages that need to be created.
What types of features does your site require?
If the site requires additional functionality such as document management, blogging, or custom search, a CMS will provide it. Look for a CMS that has the core features of interest to your company’s site. Also consider a CMS that extends the site with helpful plug-ins to add on polls, language packs, document workflow and many more. Though these add-ins require setup and configuration to meet the business need, using them is faster and cheaper than to build the functionality from scratch.