How to Evaluate a Content Management System (CMS)

June 27, 2022   /   by  Michael Westafer

What if we told you there were magical cheat codes to start your company’s website? Here at Roger West, we know that starting one from the ground up can seem daunting and time consuming. If your brand is in the wake of simplifying your creative processes, it may be time to revisit your Content Management System (CMS).

What is a CMS?

A CMS is a software platform that allows you to manage a website and all its associated content without starting from square one. They provide an easy-to-follow template that makes it easy to add in text, photos, and video while optimizing your site for SEO and lead generation. It’s important that your business finds the CMS that’s the best fit for your specific goals and challenges, and one size does not fit all. There’s a wide variety of well-known platforms on the market for your brand to use.

Here are just a few of today’s most popular platforms:

Here at Roger West, we work with a wide variety of CMS’s – from the ubiquitous WordPress to the more robust SiteCore. We’re also a Gold-level Sitefinity partner, with over 40 Sitefinity implementations, Sitefinity-certified developers, and two-time winners of Sitefinity’s Website of the Year award. See Top 7 Reasons Why We Chose Sitefinity CMS.

Why You Should Have a CMS

If you think about all the work involved, building an entire responsive website from scratch usually requires a lot of brain power. We’re talking about coding in layouts, text, images, font, and so on. When you use a CMS, customizing the design and function of your website can be done through templates that already exist. By eliminating the room for error and the need to code everything from scratch, the process of building up your brand’s website becomes easier and runs much smoother.

In the case that your team’s vision is unclear, having a CMS helps to narrow each idea in a way that isn’t overly time consuming. This is because the system allows your team to try a variety of different designs and layouts before sticking with one you love. Once your site is established, having a CMS also allows your team to make changes and additions to your content quickly, without the hassle of starting from the beginning.

Select a CMS to Empower Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Your CMS is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy, and if the one you are currently using is not meeting all your marketing needs, difficult to use, or cumbersome to integrate, there are better solutions available.

You need a tool that will empower your team to create relevant, personalized, and engaging cross-channel digital experiences for your customers. You need a solution that not only accomplishes your digital marketing goals, but also satisfies the requirements of content creators, designers, developers, and site administrators.

A Benchmark for Evaluating a Web Content Management System

Here are five key capabilities that a next-generation web content management system should have to ensure your digital marketing needs are covered:

  • Usability – The CMS should empower your team members (content creators, designers, developers, marketers, and site administrators) to collaborate effectively. Look for an intuitive interface with key features such as:
    • WYSIWYG in-line editing tools
    • Drag-n-drop interface
    • Built in spell-checking
    • Generic content blocks
    • Simple landing page and form builders
    • Workflow management
    • User roles and permissions
    • Control over URLs & SEO metadata
    • Design templates
    • Multi-site management
  • Digital Marketing Tools – The CMS should include out-of-the-box digital marketing tools that allow your team to deliver a more personalized and engaging digital experience. Look for features such as:
    • Content personalization
    • Email marketing
    • E-commerce
    • Social media integration
    • Web analytics
    • SEO capabilities
    • Community building
  • Mobility and Cross-Channel Publishing – The CMS should give your team the ability to publish content seamlessly across all digital channels (web, mobile, email, social) and across all devices (desktop, tablet, mobile). Look for features like:
    • Built-in responsive design engine
    • Built-in responsive design layouts
    • Preview for mobile devices
    • Screen size detection
    • Mobile application builders
    • Email marketing
    • Social media integration
  • Extensibility – The CMS should give your development team the ability to extend features via web parts or other controls. Look for a CMS that offers:
    • Open API
    • Custom Fields
    • Widget Editor
    • Templates for Rapid Development
    • Module, Control and Other Builders
  • Integration – Likewise, the CMS should give your development team the ability to integrate with other systems, like:
    • Identity services for authentication and single sign-on
    • Portals, intranets, and extranets
    • Enterprise applications, like CRM, e-commerce, etc.
    • Databases
    • Web analytics
    • Social media 

Get Started with your New CMS

When your team is officially choosing a CMS, it’s important to get a real-life, hands-on demo so you can try out the tool in action. Don’t just watch a generic video or listen to a salesperson. By using the guide above, pick several to test out and decide which one works best for your type of content.

Need help choosing the best CMS for your business? No sweat. We’ve already researched, tested, and worked with dozens of leading web content management systems and can help you find the best fit. Let’s Talk.

Michael Westafer

Michael Westafer


As the CEO and founder of Roger West, Mike brings over 25 years of marketing, leadership, and business strategy experience to our team, clients, and partners. Under his leadership, the Roger West has grown from a scrappy startup to a full-service, award-winning agency. He believes in getting things done, making big things happen for clients, and delivering expert fist-bumps.