CMS software gives small businesses an edge in managing their web content.
The right CMS solution can dramatically improve your ability to coordinate content from a variety of departments in an easy-to-use interface that posts it directly to your site.
But for many small business owners, the deciding factor in CMS is cost. A relevant website is important, but if it's going to cost significantly more than you are paying for a web developer or in-house web manager, it's not worth the effort.
Inexpensive CMS solutions are out there. The trick is to understand the differences between available CMS platforms and the trade-offs you'll have to make with cheap CMS software.
Like any other business application, CMS can be purchased from a variety of commercial vendors. The advantage of a commercial CMS solution is that you get a high level of support and well-defined user agreements in exchange for your investment. These solutions are often faster to implement and give company owners a sense of comfort and security. But the downside is that the licensing costs for these solutions can be exorbitant. When you consider the customization features most companies require, commercial CMS is frequently cost-prohibitive for most small businesses.
Open Source CMS
Unlike commercial CMS, open source CMS is created and maintained by a dedicated (hopefully) crew of volunteers. Since the code is open, the solutions offer more customization opportunities for businesses. Additionally, they benefit from a broader installation base and more extensive testing. The big drawback of open source CMS is the unavoidable uncertainty that comes with a product that is being maintained by volunteers. Product support, documentation, user training and other features almost always fall short when compared to their commercial counterparts.
Hybrid or Custom CMS
To bridge the gap between commercial and open source CMS, some companies task their web developers with the job of creating a custom CMS solution based on open source technology. Using an open source solution as the backbone, the web developer then creates a "new" application that has been tailored to your company's needs. The benefit is that if something goes wrong, you can still rely on the developer to work out the bugs.