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The Best CMS for Your Buck

Now that you have listed some of the things that CMS can do for you, it is time to start shopping. Before you can determine the best CMS value for your small budget, you need to do three things:

  1. Gather your functional requirements. Base this on the list of features described in the preceding section.

  2. Determine your budget. Remember that this number has to cover not just the purchase of a CMS, but the entire investment. The investment might include training, professional services, and the cost to import legacy content. Additional investments might include hosting, add-ons, upgrades, support contracts, and other maintenance contracts. Balance these costs against the money you'll save in person hours over the short and long term.

    Budget Threat

    The cost of a CMS is not limited to the sticker price on the software itself. Sometimes a new CMS requires additional professional services for setup and for loading your old content into the new system. Further costs might come in the form of additional staff members with technical skills required to run the new system, or from auxiliary purchases such as extra servers, databases, or software licenses. Be sure to include all related costs before you select a CMS.


  3. Make sure to take an accurate inventory of the technical expertise you have on staff. Be conservative; list only the expertise you anticipate retaining over the long haul. If you have only one or two technical people on staff and you can't predict their long-term commitment to the organization, let that uncertainty inform your CMS decision. (Plan for the worst-case scenario, and you might avoid living it.) Additionally, you might want to underestimate the level of expertise that you have on staff; this will keep you from having to foot the bill for a consultant when you find that your tech people are in over their heads. As an example, if there is one overworked technical person on your staff whose skill in some areas is questionable and who has recently told you he is looking for another job, you might not want to choose an open-source CMS that requires technical knowledge to install and maintain.


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