Do I Need A Content Management System (CMS)?

Awesome Co. Web Design

A CMS (Content Management System) allows you make changes to the content of your website. If you are not sure what it is and are curious to find out, read our post explaining what a Content Management System is. So the big question is, do you need a CMS? You do if, and only if, the benefits provided by the CMS outweigh the costs associated with it.

One consideration is whether you are building a website on top of a CMS or are trying to integrate a CMS into an existing website. It’s a lot easier to build a website from scratch that includes a CMS than to take an existing website and add one to it. So the price difference between a new website that has a CMS and the one that doesn’t is fairly small – a few hundred dollars. Whereas you’ll have to spend somewhere between $700-$1,200 to add a CMS to an existing website.

The other consideration to make when it comes to having a CMS is upkeep. Since a CMS is a piece of software, like all other software, it receives updates to fix bugs, plug security holes, improve functionality, and add new capabilities. Performing updates to the CMS is usually better done by a web developer. Even though there is typically an ‘Update Now’ button in the CMS dashboard, a number of things can go wrong that can corrupt your files and database, ruining your website. A web developer will be able to mitigate those risk by properly backing everything up and restoring the website if something goes wrong. Release cycles differ for different CMSs, but WordPress, which is one of the more popular CMS goes through 1-2 major updates and 8-12 minor updates in a course of a year. You don’t need to update each time, and even we generally only follow security updates and major releases, but it gives you an idea of update frequencies for a CMS.

The more capable the CMS, the more things you can change yourself. The downside is that the more things you can change, the more complicated and confusing the system can be. We suggest that you have a CMS set up in a way that allows you to easily change the things you need to change frequently, and if something may only change once a year, it’s probably not worth the hassle.

There is an inherent tradeoff in choosing to have a CMS with your website. You wouldn’t be paying for content updates, but you will have higher maintenance costs associated with the CMS itself. Our rule of thumb is that if you update your website more often than once a month, a CMS is worth the investment and upkeep. But if you update it less frequently, you are better off not having a CMS and just paying for updates as you need them.