The functionality and appeal of your CMS website rests on your ability to select the best content management system for your needs. There are a lot of big names competing for attention as well as some smaller names that have great promise to become big names. This means lots and lots of choices for those who want to design CMS websites.
To make the selection process a bit easier, consider five tell-tale marks of a great content management system:
# 1: You do not need an IT crew on staff to install the CMS.
Installation is where some of the less effective content management systems fail. If a user can not figure out how to get the system installed they start to wonder if they will be able to actually use the system once it is installed. The best content management systems will be very easy to install even if the IT guy is not down the hallway.
# 2: The backend must be very easy to use.
This may be debatable for some people, but in most cases the backend of a CMS website should be incredibly simple to use. Most people using a CMS do not know HTML code or do not want to waste time messing with code. This means they are looking for a very simple system that allows them to add to, tweak and change their websites without getting into complicated procedures.
The simpler the backend is, the better suited a CMS will be to those who do not know how to completely code a website for themselves. This is important if you are designing websites for consumers who do not know much about web design. The easier the backend is for them to maneuver, the fewer calls of frustration the designer will receive after the product is in the hands of the client.
# 3: The CMS should offer templates that are reliably easy to modify.
The great thing about designing a CMS website is the ability to easily modify templates to come out with the perfect website for a given client. You should be able to take a template and make changes so it matches what you want your site to be or what a client wants their site to be. If the modification is too difficult or not possible, then the CMS fails to live up to its main purpose.
# 4: A great CMS will allow easy manipulation of extensions to extend the functionality of the CMS website.
If you can not add extensions, you can not get the most out of your CMS website. The best content management systems will make it easy to work with extensions so you can create the perfect website with any template.
# 5: There should be some form of community or support service where help in the design process can be found.
Finally, make sure the content management system you select has some type of support where you can ask questions and get the opinions of others familiar with the system. This rules out some very small or new content management systems that are still in the developing stages, but it might also rule out some of the larger guys that do not need to have valuable support communities.
All of these marks identify content management systems that are easy to use. That is essentially the purpose of creating a CMS website. They are just easier to use and much faster to work with than a website designed on basic HTML code.