9 Factors to consider when choosing the right CMS [2024]

Selecting a Content Management System (CMS) is not about choosing the 'best' platform available. Instead, it's about finding the one that aligns with your team's context, priorities, and goals. At Pixelmatters, we believe in a tailored approach, understanding that there’s no universally perfect CMS, but rather the most suitable one for each company.

Factors to consider when selecting a CMS tailored to your needs

Finding the ideal CMS starts with a deep dive into your business needs and the digital challenges you're facing. This is crucial for identifying a CMS that can meet your current needs and has the scalability to accommodate future growth.

At Pixelmatters, our CMS benchmark process starts by gathering all the requirements and factors that will influence the decision-making process. Let’s go over the main ones to consider when looking for the right CMS.

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1. Autonomy

The level of autonomy your Marketing team needs for your website will have a big influence on your CMS choice.

If you prioritize creativity and flexibility, then a platform with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor and with drag-and-drop functionalities could be ideal. This would allow your Marketing team to design, edit, and publish pages with real-time visual updates.

If your needs are simpler — such as updating text and images without the desire to change the website's structure autonomously — a more straightforward CMS with some built-in templates might be enough.

2. Cost efficiency and ROI

Budget often plays a decisive role in this process. It's important to assess the initial investment to set up the CMS, which includes maintenance, upgrades, and potential scalability costs. This is especially relevant when choosing between a private-company CMS or an open-source solution.

For private-company CMS options, like Webflow, initial costs may be lower. However, keep in mind that costs can increase with higher site traffic, including the need for advanced features, typically available under higher-cost Enterprise plans. This factor is crucial for understanding long-term cost efficiency and ROI.

3. Scalability

When it comes to scalability, businesses face decisions between private-company hosting providers and self-hosting solutions. While private solutions offer scalable services and managed services, pricing models and service limitations can restrict scalability.

On the other hand, self-hosting solutions provide flexibility in capacity and customization but require hands-on expertise and knowledge.

Both options have their merits, and you need to carefully consider your needs and resources to make the right choice for scalable hosting.

4. UX

The usability of the CMS for your content creators and admins is important as it directly impacts their speed. A big learning curve can hinder productivity, while a user-friendly interface will facilitate the day-to-day.

A CMS with intuitive and easy navigation, clear labelling of each field and option, helper texts, and interactive tutorials can significantly reduce the time it takes for new users to become proficient.

5. Community

Access to a sizeable and passionate Community for troubleshooting, tips, and plugins is very relevant when picking a CMS.

Not only is it useful for developers, who have somewhere they can turn to when they need to understand how to fix bugs or discuss specific error messages, but also for marketers, who may need to learn things like SEO optimization tips, how to integrate specific tools and more.

The WordPress Forums, Webflow Community and Strapi Community are examples of flowing communities.

6. Support and documentation

Similar to the Community factor, access to both support and documentation is also important. Generally, open-source options don’t provide direct support due to their public nature, but they usually have a lot of documentation and community-driven resources (WordPress has an extensive support guide page, for example). Paid or proprietary CMS platforms often provide direct support as part of their service/product package.

7. Integrations

A CMS typically doesn’t live in a bubble — it's part of a broader ecosystem that includes CRM systems, marketing automation tools, email automation platforms like Mailchimp, analytics platforms, and more. A CMS that fits well within your current tool stack can streamline workflows and enhance overall operational efficiency.

8. Security

Generally, your CMS choice should provide good protection mechanisms against vulnerabilities while making sure it’s compliant with data protection regulations. Whether it's compliant with GDPR for European users or any other industry-specific standards, your specific security requirements (like SOC 2 Type I, ISO 27001) need to be taken into account.

9. Others

Any other specific requirements for your website will play a role in the CMS decision-making process. These can include the capability of localization, integrating a very specific platform, handling URL redirects, clearing caches, and others alike.

Ready to choose your CMS?

Selecting the right CMS is about understanding your business from the inside out. It's a strategic choice that should align with your specific needs, challenges, and goals. The question isn't which CMS is the best — but rather, the best CMS for you.

At Pixelmatters, our approach is highly collaborative. We look to understand your company, your product, needs, vision and priorities. With this approach, we ensure that the chosen CMS not only meets your functional requirements but also aligns with your business’s strategic goals.

Need help choosing the right CMS?
Our team can guide you through the process, helping you make an informed decision that meets your unique needs and business goals.
Tiago Coelho