By Jeff Kline

Blog

3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chamber CMS

Friday, April 27, 2012

In my last post, I introduced the idea of using a content management system (CMS) for your chamber website. Now that you have a basic understanding of CMS software, it’s time to start shopping for the perfect CMS for your chamber website. 

I am a frequent flier, so I’m always comforted when I notice the airline going to great lengths to ensure a safe flight. And out of all the meticulous safety procedures I observe from the terminal window, what brings me the most comfort is the sight of the plane being refueled.  

Airlines know how important it is to plan ahead – they always ensure that the plane will make it to the next stop without running out of fuel. Likewise, you should plan ahead for your chamber website by choosing a CMS that won’t run out of capabilities. To select a CMS that will benefit your chamber website for years to come, choose one that is upgradable, backward compatible and redesign-friendly.

UPGRADABLE 

Just as an airplane refuels at every stop, your chamber website’s CMS should upgrade on a regular basis.

Plan for the future by taking a peek into the past. Does your prospective CMS have a track record of frequent upgrades? Or is it still stuck on version 1.0?

It is crucial that the CMS behind your chamber website stays up-to-date with the latest technology and website trends. Be sure the CMS you select will be frequently upgraded to provide you with the newest capabilities. 

Otherwise, in about two years, you’ll find yourself spending thousands of dollars to switch your website over to a newer, more tech-savvy CMS. You’ll also spend a large amount of time learning the new system and re-uploading years of data. (And, as we all know, time is money!)

BACKWARD COMPATIBLE

When inquiring about the upgradability of a prospective CMS, be sure you also ask about backward compatibility

If a CMS is backward compatible, it that means newer versions of the software will maintain full functionality and nothing within your existing website will break during the upgrade process.  Your CMS will retain content that was published under an older version, enabling you to continue editing that content with the new version.

REDESIGN - FRIENDLY

In past blog posts, I’ve discussed how frequently design trends come and go. Web design is like high fashion – the creative concepts change every two or three years. Be prepared for future design trends by choosing a CMS that makes the redesign process easy.

Choose a CMS system that separates your software (including all published content) from the design. This will allow you to seamlessly change out your design template without affecting the data stored in your CMS. To your visitors, it will appear that you have a totally new and improved website – but in reality, you’ve just replaced the old design with a new one. Your user interface, content and data haven’t changed. 

SPOTLIGHT: BOCA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce website has gone through three major redesigns in just a little over ten years – all while using the same CMS system. The Boca Chamber started using Accrisoft Freedom when it was still at version 1.0. Seven versions later, their website is still standing – and better than ever!

Take a clue from the Boca Chamber – or from your favorite airline. Prepare your chamber website for future destinations, and choose a dynamic, ever-evolving CMS that you won’t end up having to ditch in the nearest body of water.

UP NEXT: CMS Content Creation Tools

In my next post, I will discuss specific CMS capabilities that will greatly enhance your chamber’s ability to create and publish its own content. See you next week!

   Accrisoft for Chambers

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