Open source CMS is an especially attractive option for business owners who want the benefits of CMS technology, but can't afford the costs of a commercial application.
Instead of dropping big bucks on a polished commercial product, owners turn to the open source community for a free solution for their online content management requirements.
Open source CMS does have some drawbacks that you should be aware of. Like many open source solutions, open source CMS can lack the reliability and support features you've come to expect from many of your other business applications. Since these solutions are created and maintained by a corps of volunteers, there come with a certain amount of long-term uncertainty. If that doesn't deter you, here are some of the features to look for an open source CMS solution.
- Easy installation. There are enough quality open source CMS solutions on the market that you shouldn't have to settle for one that is difficult to use. Look for the same convenient user interfaces that are available from commercial CMS.
- Customization. Open source CMS technology is often more customizable than commercial CMS because it relies on open code programming. A good open source CMS solution can be easily tailored to your company's requirements.
- Support & community. Most open source CMS solutions are backed by an active community of volunteers who are constantly working to improve the application and support its users. If a CMS doesn't seem to have a robust community following it could be a sign of a limited lifespan product.
- Users & clients. If you want to know how effective an open source CMS application is, take a look at the users and clients who have adopted it. Basing your decision on the number of current users isn't just following the crowd. A large volume of users translates into a groundswell of support to keep the solution alive on a go forward basis.
- Documentation. You should expect a quality open source CMS solution to come with at least some support documentation. It may not be as extensive as commercial CMS documentation, but it will at least give you a basis for troubleshooting and training.
- Maturity. Longevity makes a big difference in open source CMS solution. Avoid choosing the latest whizbang application that could have been created as a college student's senior thesis project. Instead, focus your search on a mature application with an established reputation for stability and user convenience.