If you didn’t already know, CMS is an acronym for “content management system.” A CMS is used by many developers, consultancies, and companies to build their website. It’s an incredibly common thing to do, as any flavor of CMS you choose will always save you effort and money, compared to building a website from nothing. This is especially true if you look at the lifetime investment of your website. Using a CMS framework or solution of some kind just seems to make sense. After all, this is what I’ve built my own career upon since 2001. However, then, CMS was known as a portal or portal framework. That’s a long time ago, so it’s not a bad idea to take stock of things every now and thing to see if what you’re doing is the correct thing. To this end, I asked myself, “How is CMS doing right now, and does it make sense to still be doing CMS-related work in the future?”
Please note that this article is mostly focused on the perspective of those of us that in some way provide website development services, where you deliver a website to clients.
Riddle Me This… Is CMS Worth My Time?
This article is the result of me asking that very question. If I’m going to invest my own time, effort, money and that of others into CMS, is it still a good investment today? This is an easy question to ask, but how exactly do you go about making that determination? This, it turns out, is not so easy. There’s a lot of disconnected information out there. The most useful information it seems is locked behind the closed doors and high-priced clutches of research firms like Forrester. So what now?
Before I move forward any further, I should get one thing out of the way for my fellow DNN community members… This is not a look specifically at DNN, nor is it meant in any way to speak directly to DNN. For that matter, not only is this article not intended to hurt DNN, it’s also not intended to disparage any CMS. This was purely done as an exercise to research CMS in general. If CMS as a whole is doing well, then any good or great CMS will do well too.
Another worthwhile disclaimer would be that I’m not necessarily a professional researcher, only in that I’ve never held such a title in my professional career, but like most of you, I have performed research that has informed entire companies since I’ve been in the workforce. So, generating data, parsing it for commonalities and abnormalities, and making decisions based on that data are all tasks that I’m very familiar with. I’m just not a mathematician, statistician, or a formal research analyst.
In doing a similar exercise to answer similar questions in the past, it occurred to me that there actually is a way to do this research and it would only cost me my time. I guess I’ll have to bill myself later, as it took a long time and this is valuable information. Information I’m now giving to you.
Gathering The Data
Gathering the data for anything like this is often the most time-consuming part. You need to find it first and foremost, but then you need to find a way to make sense of it, then do the same thing again to make sure others can make sense of what you figured out. This is a process, it’s not always the same process, and it takes a lot of time with a few dashes of trial and error.
The data I found was hiding in plain sight. Long ago I’ve learned to use services like BuiltWith to help me get to know prospects, clients, and competitors. BuiltWith is a great way to get a lot of information about the various technologies used on nearly any website, sometimes in as quickly as a click or two. It’s surprisingly very accurate. Since BuiltWith came onto the scene, others