Why you need to know

Oh wait Steve, I'm the communications guy/gal. why would I need to be involved in this? Doesn't my web guru take care of this for me? Well they can, but I've found that the more I know the better outcome for the whole team. I trust my team with all my heart and I'm very fortunate to even have a team. Many of you though don't have a web guru on your team so you really need to know what CMS's are all about. The better your knowledge base, the better the decision. The better the decision. The increased probability that will accomplice your goal.

Which way?

There are roughly 3 decision pathways when scoping out technology for a website project and in particular choosing a Content Management System (CMS). You can:

  1. Use an existing CMS provider who specialises in the church 'market'. If you don't have web specialists on staff this is a great way to go. You can move with confidence that most of what you'll need to do can be done for you.
  2. Use a open source CMS. If you have a web guru on staff this solution is a option as much of what has been thought of has been created by guru's throughout the wwworld
  3. Use a blog/publishing CMS platform.

1. Church specialist Content Management System

E-zekiel - Crossway's current CMS provider. We used their sister design company to redesign our website. Great bunch of people.
Ekklesia 360 - A lovely examples of this CMS here.
Site Organic - Get you website planted into good soil here.
IP Internet – Australian based company that does both CMS and other web services.
Clover – Awesome flash based template CMS. Ridiculously simple and full of syrupy goodness design wise.

There are alot more CMS providers. These are just a few I've investigated when researching our redeveloping our website.

Pros: They are proven and will do what they say they do. They often have a design firm that does the design work and understands the CMS inside which will maximise out levels of functionality you wouldn't necessarily be able to leverage off otherwise. They off great value for money because they aren't in it just for the money because this is their ministry.

Cons: Won't always have a high level of customisation if you want something that isn't in their feature set.

2. Open Source Content Management System

Joolma - So more than just a CMS.
Drupal -  Again, so more than just a CMS.

Pros: Massive user development communities which means pretty much anything you have thought of doing has been done and can be plugged in ready to go. Cons: High level of tech guru-like understanding of all things web. If your geek leaves to work for someone else you may be left with CMS no one really knows how to drive.

3. Blog/publishing Platform

WordPress is a great solution. I've used it on a couple of business jobs and it does the business. The pros and cons are the same as the Open Source.

Don't forget! Bottom line

When you have researched and compared functionality, you need to remind you self of the 'why', 'what' 'who' & 'how' goals. Choosing a content management system is the 'how' part of the process and should not define the 'why', 'what', 'who', rather it should fulfill and amplify the 'why', 'what', 'who' .

Why are you building a website?

What do you want it to do?

Who is your primary audience?

How and what will you communicate?

Check out a previous post for more on the why, what, who & how in communications.