While CAB have selected Umbraco as their preferred CMS solution, Umbraco is not the only CMS out there.

Over the years there have been hundreds of CMS solutions, from the very basic to enterprise level solutions. They all have their own features that are suited to specific needs.

Looking for the right CMS for your requirements is very similar to buying a new car. Would you buy the first car you saw without investigating further? I suppose you may do if you know the car is exactly what you are after - you may be in the car marketplace and know everything there is to know about the car industry. Chances are, you would do some investigation. You would probably ask friends, especially if they are owners of cars themselve. You would search the internet for reviews and feedback on the car. You would request a test drive of the vehicle first. You would seek out a few cars to get a comparison.

These are similar things you should be doing when looking for a CMS solution for your website. The CMS is going to be the bedrock for your site and will be around for a long period of time (hopefully many years). You should be looking for something that is going to be reliable as well as fitting all your business needs.

The following is a general list that you should satisfy before committing to any CMS.

  1. Are we limited to any specific technology? If you have your own hosting and the website is still going to be hosted there, this will affect the CMS you can have. There are generally 2 types of hosting - Windows and Linux. Windows hosting will allow you to host CMS system built using Microsoft's .NET framework and classic ASP. Linux is best suited to PHP, Ruby and other open source solutions.

  2. How big are we expecting the site to be? You may only require a half dozen pages to start off with, but expect this to rise to couple of dozen. This is a fairly small site, so you wouldn’t want to invest in an enterprise level solution that is happy dealing with thousands of pages. And Vice Versa. You will also want a solution that can handle the expected growth of your business for at least a couple of years.

  3. How much will the licence cost? Some CMS systems require a licence to be purchased before any work can be started. Some solutions are open source, which generally means they are free to download and use, but this is not always the case so you should investigate this. Some costs can be down to per user, while others are a one off fee.

  4. Is the CMS still active? This may sound a little silly, but CMS systems are being released all the time - and not all of them are successful. A few will fall by the wayside, their creators no longer supporting the product. This is fairly dangerous as security risks/loopholes are being found and exploited all the time. The web is also evolving and you may require some of these features to be used on your website - if the CMS is no longer being developed you are losing out.

  5. How popular is the CMS? If you select a popular CMS, with an active community of developers and supporters, you will generally find an answer to your queries. Being active and popular will mean you will be able to find developer resources at competitive prices as their is an active marketplace. If the product is open source, are there any modules for the CMS? How many? Are they fairly recent? All this will help in reducing the time to build your site, and therefore your overall costs.

  6. Can i see a demo? This is probably the most important question you should ask. Have a play on a demo site, get a feel for the product before you invest further. If you are going to have a number of people using the CMS system, get them to play on the demo as well. While you will not be expected to know everything about the product - you should be able to add a new page, edit the page and delete it. Was this easy to work out and achieve? If the answer was no, then this is probably not the product for you.

Lastly, you should seek advice from a professional. Back to the car analogy from the beginning - if your car suffered an issue what would you do? Chances are you would take it to a garage to be investigated and resolved. Speak to a few Web Development agencies. Get their input and build up a relationship.

Getting a new CMS solution for your business could be an expensive investment. It should be treated seriously and should be the best solution for you.