Before evaluating a content management system, you need to evaluate your own needs first. This quick questionnaire is designed to help you better understand your website content management requirements.
1. How many pages and other assets is your website likely to contain?
a) Under 1,000
b) Under 10,000
c) 10,000 or more.
2. What sort of site traffic do you expect?
a) Under 10,000 page impressions per month
b) Under 100,000 page impressions per month
c) 100,000 or more page impressions per month.
3. Which platforms is the site going to be delivered to?
a) This is a web-only site
b) Some syndication of content for delivery to other platforms or sites is going to be required
c) Multi-platform delivery is an integral part of our plans.
4. What sort of page layout will be used?
a) Each page is likely to be quite different
b) Page layouts are likely to be similar, but not much control is required over presentation
c) A consistent look and feel is required throughout the site.
5. What are pages like?
a) Text only
b) Text with the occasional image
c) A combination of text, graphics and media files.
6. How important are hyperlinks?
a) Linking between documents in different parts of the website and to external sites is not essential
b) Some links between documents and to other sites are going to be required
c) The effective application of hyperlinks is critical to the success of this site.
7. What sort of access control is required on the website?
a) All visitors should be able to access the site in the same way
b) Some parts of the site should be restricted to registered users
c) There are several levels of access rights that need to be defined for each page.
8. How important is personalization?
a) All users should see exactly the same view of the site
b) Some personal information must appear on pages
c) Layout and content should change depending on who is viewing a page.
9. How important are user contributions?
a) No content is submitted by users
b) Some interactivity is required but this is separate to the main content of the site
c) Much of the content is submitted and contributed by users.
10. How important are Government standards (such as e-GIF in the UK or Section 508 in the US) to this site?
a) Government standards are largely irrelevant
b) We see the standards as a good idea and want to follow them where practicable
c) This is a Government-supported site requiring conformance to standards.
11. How regularly is your website going to be updated?
c) Throughout the day.
12. How does content arrive?
a) In batches and in a structured form suitable for conversion into web pages
b) In batches and in a form unsuitable for conversion to web pages
c) Piecemeal from a variety of sources.
13. Who will be entering content into the system?
a) Staff with good technical knowledge
b) Staff with minimal technical knowledge
c) Several people possibly working in separate locations.
14. What sort of multilingual requirements are there?
a) The site is produced entirely in English
b) There will be some non-English content, but it will be maintained more-or-less separately
c) It is a multilingual site with much of the content requiring different language versions.
15. What level of workflow control is needed?
a) All people working on the system can be trusted implicitly
b) Updates needs to be approved for publication
c) We need a several-step workflow process.
16. What sort of editorial records are needed?
a) Records management is not really important
b) Some sort of page audit trail is needed
c) Full version control and rollback are required.
17. How important is integration with other systems?
a) There are no serious integration issues with our website
b) Some integration is likely to be required
c) Tight integration between our website and other systems is required.
18. What is your attitude to security?
a) Website security is important to us, but we have no specific restrictions on access to our web servers
b) Website security is a high priority and only secure connections are allowed from outside our network to our web servers
c) Security is a very high priority and no access (except for viewing) is allowed to our web servers from outside our network.
19. What is your in-house technical capability?
a) We have no in-house technical staff at all
b) We have in-house technical staff but their priorities are elsewhere
c) We have an excellent in-house team dedicated to delivering web services.
20. Do you care about what software platform you use?
a) We will use anything that will get the job done
b) We need to ensure interoperability with existing systems
c) We will only consider a system based on our current software platform.
The scale and complexity of a site's requirements will have a radical affect on what content management sytem is right for you.
If you keep in mind what you really need rather than what features somebody else tells you a content management system requires, then you are more likely to make the right choices.