From online shopping to social media to news sites, we are constantly on the web for work, fun, and information. The list of websites we all engage with every day is long — but the number of websites in existence is even longer.
There are an estimated 1.88 billion sites that make up what we know as the world wide web. But how often do you think about the behind-the-scenes activity that allows these sites to exist in the first place?
Probably not that often unless you are a web designer or developer. But if you’ve been tasked with choosing a Content Management System (CMS) for your organization, you may be unsure of what makes one CMS better than another.
What To Consider When Choosing A CMS
- Ease Of Use — Don’t pick a tool you can’t use
- Cost — Don’t pick a CMS you can’t afford
- Learning Curve — If your team can’t master it, it’s not worth it
Transferability — Choose a CMS that can still be used if your team of developers changes
As with any choice you make for your healthcare organization — like branding colors, organizational values, or what to include in your newsletter — what’s “right” is entirely up to and dependent on your specific organization.
Here’s a review of three common content management systems to help you choose what will work best for you.
WordPress — The CMS For CareContent
WordPress runs nearly 40% of the internet.
That’s not a typo — 39.5% of websites are powered by WordPress. Among them are the popular TechCrunch, Variety, and Yelp. The CareContent site also uses WordPress and is in good company with some tech, news, and culture giants.
So, why is WordPress so popular? What about this tool makes it ubiquitous to the very nature of “websites” nowadays?
- It’s easy to get started. WordPress prides itself on being user-friendly and intuitive for content creators and designers. Even creators with limited website or CMS experience can get the hang of WordPress quickly and produce a simple site in just a few hours.
- It’s highly customizable. WordPress’s content editor is straightforward but allows you a large range of flexibility. From themes to widgets to plugins, WordPress offers editors a lot of choices.
- It’s mobile-friendly. Responsive, accessible design is important for allowing users across a range of devices to access your content. WordPress has many options for plugins that can ensure your design adapts to screens of all sizes.
Without wanting to wax poetic, WordPress isn’t the only CMS out there — and it’s not the only good one either. The platform you choose to host your website will depend on your business goals and needs.
“Once you get over the learning curve, WordPress is super user-friendly — this makes it easy to pass along knowledge for how to use it to clients and teammates. Collaboration is key, and WordPress makes that easy.”
Sitecore — Powerful, But Burdensome
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this particular CMS?
- Make robust analytics reports. Sitecore’s native analytics allow you to look at the quantity of views, but also the quality of interaction with your site. Using a metric called “Engagement Value,” you can better see how your site is performing.
- Present content in multiple languages. If you’re looking to natively present content in more than one language — without using a tool like Google translate — Sitecore allows you to do so.
- It’s cost-prohibitive. Sitecore can do a lot, but it also comes with a sizable price tag. Compared to other similar CMS options on the market, the upfront cost is considerably more expensive.
The majority of concerns with Sitecore is its burdensome installation and implementation process. In other words, it simply takes too long to get going.
Sure, it comes equipped with all the bells and whistles you could ask for, but this leads to it having a pretty steep learning curve. Many users who choose this platform do so with the intention of using those said bells and whistles — but never do.
Drupal — Free and Community-Driven
Another CMS worth exploring is Drupal. Drupal is a free, open-source platform, and you probably interact with it without even knowing it. To see a site build in Drupal, you can check out sites for the University of Oxford, the World Wildlife Fund, and Drupal itself.
“A free CMS?” you might be asking. “What’s the catch?” All told — if it’s a good choice for your organization — there isn’t one.
Here’s some of what Drupal can do:
- It’s pretty powerful. Drupal is capable of managing just about any amount of content, and any scale of site. With a variety of content types, modules, and themes available, the only limit is your imagination (or your skillset).
- It’s highly secure. Drupal is a particularly secure CMS, making it the choice for many government agencies and security-oriented organizations. Drupal highly prioritizes privacy and security with regularly installed updates.
- A strong community. Because Drupal is an open-source platform, it does not come with the same level of customer service or IT support as other CMS options. But what it does have is a strong and supportive community that creates, uses, and improves the software.
While the common theme of Drupal reviews is that it can do just about anything you could possibly want it to do, it is worth mentioning that not just anybody will be able to do it.
Drupal necessitates a higher level of coding knowledge than a site built on WordPress, meaning you need to know how to code or you need a web developer on your team. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but it is important to keep in mind when reviewing the capacity of your current organization or your client.
“Content management systems have come a long way over the years, but at their core, all CMSs are created equal. It’s your goal that makes a difference. Whatever the goal of your website is, that will determine if and how a specific CMS benefits you.”
The Bottom Line
So, is one better than another?
At CareContent, WordPress is the best content management system for our needs. It lets us easily post new content, embed new media like quizzes, and communicate our services clearly with potential clients.
WordPress also, in turn, works for many of our clients’ own websites — but certainly not all.
If there were one right way to do things, it might be easier, but we’d all also probably be out of a job. While the choices might feel overwhelming at times, start by asking yourself what your organization needs, wants, and can manage. Then make the CMS choice that makes sense.