What is a CMS? That's not a trick question. Look for a definition of the term online and you will find straightforward definitions that ultimately come down to the same concept: it's a system designed to help you manage your website.
But the reason the above question is so important is because it hints at the underlying purpose of such a system. A CMS, at its core, should help you easily manage the content on your website.
If it doesn't accomplish that, why would you pick it in the first place?
Unfortunately, this underlying purpose too often gets lost. In the interest of saving money and quick implementation, too many businesses choose a CMS that does not enable them to maximize the potential of their website. What they end up with is a lot of time out the window and a business website that doesn’t actually serve the business.
So does your CMS work around you, or do you work around your CMS? To answer that question, deeper investigation is needed.
Entering The Nightmare World Of Workarounds
Off-the-shelf CMS solutions like WordPress, Magento, and Drupal power millions of business websites around the world. Their benefits include ease of setup, as well as low costs, make them appealing options for businesses of all sizes.
Their biggest downfall is their massive popularity. If millions of businesses use the same platform, how can you make sure the system actually accomplishes what you need? The short answer: you can't. When using such a CMS, you will be limited by a structure designed to benefit everyone equally, not just your business.
By necessity, you will have to find ways to work around obstacles to accommodate your business. The WordPress directory is home to over 44,000 plugins on its CMS, promising to adjust your website to fit any possible business model.
But every plugin comes with a tradeoff: designed externally, its quality is far from guaranteed. Plugins are also a known security issue due to external and often unknown developers. And even if you find tools that improve your website, each plugin will slow down your site and worsen user experience.
Creating The Right System From The Start
Plugins are a common way to work around the deficiencies of WordPress, but they remain just that: a less than perfect way for you to accommodate your individual business practices. A business that relies on plugins to power its CMS is the perfect example of the above.
In the end, plugins can help sustain your business, but fail in the core purpose of your CMS: to more easily manage your website and its content. In fact, that task may become even more complicated than it was prior to CMS implementation.
Contrast that situation with a custom CMS that is created specifically for your business and its goals. Custom-built solutions include workflows designed solely for your business, meeting your unique needs. Rather than having to work around your CMS, your CMS works not just around you, but for you.
What Does Your CMS Accomplish For You?
How well does your CMS enable you to accomplish your business goals without needing complicated workarounds? If you and your employees have to continuously find creative solutions for seemingly simple problems, or even have to adjust your business workflows and operations to accommodate your CMS, something needs to change.
Instead of going with the obvious solution, consider a custom CMS instead. Especially as you look to long-term benefits rather than short-term costs, you will find your return on investment to be significantly higher. After all, you want your CMS to help you manage your website and its content, not make it more complicated.