How to choose the right content management system

in Technology   —  

As a technology-neutral company, we are often asked to help select and implement a content management platform. Here are some of the factors you should consider.

Understand your needs

While many content management requirements are relatively straightforward, different types of websites introduce different priorities and balancing these is key.

Corporate websites

Corporate websites often have a much stronger focus on approval and workflow, with different areas of the business responsible for contributing content (financial news, jobs, blogs etc.) and scheduled content delivery. Translation is often a common requirement.

Marketing and campaign websites

Marketing and campaign websites often require much more control over page layouts, the ability to build campaign landing pages, support for A/B and multivariate testing (of banners and calls to action etc.), integrated data capture forms (for brochure downloads), integrated newsletter signup and email delivery and other requirements essential for effective digital marketing.

Intranet and extranets

Intranet and extranets often have significant peaks in traffic as they are often the company’s browser homepage. Some areas of the site are frequently restricted to specific departments or locations, and users and roles often managed through Active Directory. Documents such as HR manuals and company policies are often stored in third-party systems, notably as SharePoint, so ease of integration is key.

As well as taking the time to understand your business, marketing and communication objectives, it is also important to understanding how your users and staff interact with your content management system, what they find difficult to accomplish or time consuming with the current system, and what they expect to be solved with the new system.

What to look for

The baseline requirements we look for within a content management platform are

Content creation

  • Full control over all navigation menus and page content
  • Ability to easily categorise and tag content – taxonomy and metadata
  • Well structured content types – including news, blogs, staff profiles, jobs etc.
  • The ability to create multiple relationships between content

Publishing, approval and workflow

  • Flexible author / approver permissions and workflows
  • Different workflows for different content types (e.g. case studies vs. jobs)
  • Versioning – the ability to review/restore historical content and assets.
  • Scheduled publishing – for date and time restricted content
  • Staging – the ability to create and preview content on a separate website before publishing changes.

Image management

  • Good image management tools – including image crop and resize
  • The ability to approve new or updated images and documents before publication.

Multiple languages & content translation

  • Good support for multiple languages – including translated versions of images and documents
  • The potential to automatically translate content – for example, by integrating Google Translate with workflow so that content is automatically translated, but requires approval before publication.


  • A simple site-wide keyword search – which includes content within Word and PDF documents, and provides the ability to easily filter results (by content type, language or date).

Vision and documentation

  • Well documented user training manuals and videos
  • Good technical documentation – including installation, support and management
  • A clear vision and roadmap for the future development of the platform

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