Upgrading Your Website: Test Driving CMS Platforms Like It's Your Next Car

Post by Heather H Picture of Heather H
Ixis Service
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We've created a CMS demo scoring matrix for you to use at your next demo to help you decide what platform works for you and your team. Get it delivered straight to your inbox from our website.

We’ve spent some time looking at how our current site is performing and areas we need to improve when we upgrade. Now, we can start looking at our options for the future - which content management system (CMS) you want to use in your upgrade.

Sometimes, the CMS is decided on by you, the client, before asking agencies for quotes or releasing a tender because they want a platform they know works for them, others are open to suggestions and recommendations from agencies or developers as the subject matter experts.

Whichever way you decide to go, it’s worth having some demos on CMS platforms with your business and requirements in mind. Remember that your content team must be able to use your chosen CMS quickly and effectively to get content out so keep their skillset in mind too. 

You don’t want a frustrated marketing team that is constantly waiting for developer intervention to make minor changes. That being said, if your marketing team is more tech-savvy, having something that allows them to get creative and improve the customer journey themselves using a more technical CMS might be the way forward. It’s a personal choice to your business and one you should keep in mind.

a team gathered around a desk and computer

Prequalifying a CMS

In a world full of choices, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed and avoid becoming blind to what you’re trying to achieve. 

Every feature and CMS starting to look the same?

It’s the same as writing copy, stare at it long enough and you can't see the wood for the trees.

By shortening your list of CMS options, removing the too expensive and the irrelevant, you should end up with around 3 to 5 CMS platforms that suit your team, your customers and your business. By creating a short list, you can truly understand how a CMS works through a handful of demos.

There are a number of essential questions that you should be asking of yourself and your stakeholders (including developers, customer service, sales, senior management and of course your marketing colleagues) that will enable you to cull your list down for the demo shortlist. 

Your website lies at the core of your business, otherwise why would you be investing in it? By understanding what your stakeholders expect of your new website, through your SMART goals and using your user stories to understand your feature list, you can whittle down to what CMS features will empower everyone to achieve success.

Key CMS pre-qualification questions

1. What goals does the website need to achieve? 
A demo isn’t about just ticking a box on a feature list. Your website has clearly defined goals and the right CMS must help you achieve these objectives effectively.

2. What are your pain points? 
What problems are you experiencing from your current platform? Do you have any weird workarounds that need resolving? Check with all departments about what really needs to change!

3. What are your MoSCoWs? 
Use the MoSCoW method to ensure everyone’s needs and wants are prioritised and taken into account.

4. What are your business-specific quirks? 
Every company has needs that are specific to them. Can your new CMS platform incorporate them?

5. What’s your budget? 
The all-important question and one that could rule out a number of options instantly.

6. What’s your timeline? 
How long will your team / senior management be willing to wait for a new platform to be implemented? Is there something keeping you on a tight deadline or are you able to wait longer for the launch?

7. Will it integrate with your other applications? 
Your CMS may have to integrate with other applications both internally or third party. Not just ones you’re currently using but ones you may switch to in the future.

Develop a scoring system

Before you can understand if a CMS platform is right for you. You’ll need a rating or scoring system that you can use across each demo. This allows you to work on facts and scores based on everyone’s requirements.

team gathered around a desk and computer

We’d recommend a features matrix so you can document which CMS does what. Always score or rate the CMS instantly while the results are fresh in your head. We’ve created a template checklist which you can use and tailor to you and your business. Don’t forget, just because an agency claims that their CMS has a particular feature doesn’t mean it works well. Ask for a chance to use the CMS yourself, evaluate all the key features, the ones that matter to those using the site and compare how they work to the other competing CMS platforms.

When we say CMS demo, what you really should be asking for is a CMS test drive. See how things actually work and if they work for you and your team.

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To see the rest our website upgrade series, take a look at the links below:

Step 1: Your SMART Website Goals

Step 2: Identifying your main users and user groups

Step 3: Writing User Stories

Step 4: Documenting Site Features 

Step 5: Identifying and Adding Plugin / Modules

Step 6 part 1: Why Benchmarking Helps You Find the Answer

Step 6 part 2: Benchmark Metrics and Tools To Get You Started

Step 7: Test Driving CMS Platforms Like It's Your Next Car

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