Essential facts when choosing a CMS for your Nonprofit Website
A content management system (CMS for short) will allow teams to edit, add, and publish material to a nonprofit website easily without having to rely on an internal website department.
Time4design realizes the challenges nonprofits face, so it is crucial for us to understand the organizations objectives before making best recommendation. However, from the perspective of a nonprofit, what should be the top essential criteria? Choosing the right CMS will result in better engagement to your target market. Here are 5 areas we believe should be considered as part of a decision.
How long should a website last for? Debatable, but it should be flexible for a time when enhancements are absolutely mandatory due to either a demanding market or changes in technology. The chances are that a redesign may not be on the table, but will the CMS allow easy expansion of new products or features. A suitable system should have an adaptable platform to allow the ease of new additions whether it be in 6 months or 6 years.
Ease of use
For those outside the technology sector, the learning curve of a CMS could be a frightening idea. It might have the tools to allow you to edit a website, but how long will it actually take to accomplish the task! There is no doubt that the right CMS should be intuitive and involve the right amount of common sense where it does not require a masters degree to make changes.
Perhaps one of the first items that might be an overall decision maker for a nonprofit is:
- How much will a CMS cost?
- What are the long term maintenance charges?
There are a variety of CMS systems to choose from. Product based systems will have a full tech support team, dedicated hosting environment and IT services. This, while perhaps suitable for higher education websites, ideally this would not be the correct solution for a smaller nonprofit due to substantial costs. On the other hand, systems based on open source technology have a broad support community, and tend to be best from a budget stand-point. In combination with the right website maintenance plan provided by your digital design agency, long term support and security measures are guaranteed without breaking the bank or sponsor!
As we just covered with cost, support is most certainly required when a problem arises, and should not be a breaking financial factor. A popular CMS with a large support base will have the most options available in comparison to a product specific company CMS where a support call to the company is needed. Reliable help should be easy to come by whether it is with your web design agency or another vendor.
Search Engine Optimization
How effective should a CMS be when it comes to SEO? As with the technology curve, SEO is another area that might not be as familiar to some , but absolutely essential when it comes to marketing a nonprofit website. A good CMS should a support all the features required of any SEO and digital marketing campaign. While some systems might require additional support tools, it might come with a larger price tag, so it is best to ask the right questions first.
Evaluate your options
We have covered most of the important CMS facts and essentials that aids success to a nonprofit, yet with many options on the market, which CMS ultimately will be the most suitable? Such contenders on include WordPress, Hubspot COS, Drupal, Joomla to name just a few, but they all must be specific to your requirements.
Great websites require the best solutions, and of course the best team to get it done. Perhaps this question should be best answered by giving us a call, or simply reaching out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.