In the open source world, there are primarily three content management systems that hold the top spot when it comes to word of mouth, popularity and implementations. While WordPress far outpaces the other two; Joomla and Drupal; when it comes to installs and user base, they still maintain a pretty hefty following. Just because these systems are at the top, however, does not mean they are always the best option (see my previous post entitled WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are NOT the best CMS.
Today, I'm going to outline the top 7 mistakes people make when choosing WordPress, Drupal or Joomla for their CMS.
A very common mistake I see being made on websites nowadays are blanket recommendations of products from people with experience using only that product or, even worse, people who just want to offer an opinion for the sake of doing so. Take a look on Q & A websites like Quora for instance and you'll see tons of foolish recommendations to people that offer little to no information.
Here is a typical question on Quora asking for CMS recommendations with a fantastic response from someone who is smart enough to not recommend a product without more information:
What I didn't show you is the list of answers with responses such as “The best one is WordPress” from someone who has no idea what the requirements are. Sadly, there are tons of people throwing out these types of recommendations. I appreciate when people like Mr. Memud above step up to try to put some clarity to the questions.
You should never just choose to go with a CMS because someone recommended it, regardless of whether that person is someone with experience or not. Make sure you explore the product fully, try it out in a demo environment and see if it suits your needs BEFORE implementing it as your CMS of choice. Most people wouldn't buy a car without a test drive and you shouldn't get a CMS without one either.
Never choose something just because of word of mouth because honestly, it doesn't mean much. Popularity of a product has nothing to do with whether it's the right product for your job. Always make sure you take the time to explore the product and get a run through from someone in the know before you make a selection. There's a reason why the typical RFP process for CMS selection takes several weeks to several months.
Never, ever, ever choose a CMS just because it works with your favorite plugin. Believe it or not, it's not that expensive to hire a freelancer to code you an integration if you really need it and you'll not be forced to make a compromise in usability.
There are theme developers all over the world that can hash out beautiful designs for minimal cost. Don't choose a CMS just because someone developed a pretty theme you like.
Never choose a product JUST because it's free. If cost is a factor and you absolutely have no budget, that's fine but do make sure you take the time to explore ALL of the free products on the market that fit your requirements. Use resources like our CMS directory to find a number of great products.
Are you an open source promoter? Do you prefer open source products? Fantastic. Is that a reason to choose a product for your business? No, it's not. You should be responsible and take the time to make sure you explore the products that best suit your projects needs first. If an open source solution happens to be one of them and it comes down to that being a deciding factor AFTER vetting out that it fits your base requirements and needs then perfect but never make it a primary factor in your decision.
No. Just no. As with every other point I've made above, make sure you always test out each product thoroughly and that it first your requirements first and foremost.
In a nutshell, in case you haven't figured out my point by now… don't choose a CMS just due to a single reason. Always make sure you explore all of the available options out there. If you aren't sure what options there are, use tools like our CMS directory or ask us in the forums. If you need more in-depth assistance, drop me a line and I'd be more than happy to give you a hand. We offer top notch CMS consulting based on our many years of experience using the many products on the market. When it comes to consulting, no other group can offer as much insight into the products on the market than we can.