Custom CMS Guide

Custom CMS Guide
Article by Sumana GangulySumana Ganguly
Last Updated: March 23, 2023

With so many content management systems out there, should you customize your own?

There’s no such thing as one size fits all. A CMS that works well for one business may not work in another.

While you could build an open-source CMS to get the essential functions you need, you might end up with many features that you don't need and don't add much value to your website or business.

That’s where a custom CMS can come in handy.

To help you get started, here's everything you need to know about custom CMS: tips on building one, which platform to use, and the common mistakes to avoid during the process.

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What Is a Custom CMS

A custom content management system is a platform that helps you manage your website’s content. It's tailor-made to fit the specific needs of a website or business.

Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, a custom CMS is designed from scratch to meet the unique requirements of its users.

You can fully customize the CMS to match the look and feel of a website and add any functionality.

Custom CMS VS Open-Source CMS

  • Custom CMS
  • Open CMS

Custom CMS

A custom CMS is a system built specifically for your company. You can use it to manage any aspect of your business, such as content management, e-commerce, and marketing automation.

With a custom CMS, you get everything you want immediately.

If you have specific functionality that none of the popular solutions offer, it may be worth your while to build your own custom CMS.

A custom CMS can be integrated with your existing website and software.

However, if there are features that aren't quite right for you or if they don't work and they should (or if they aren't necessary), there could be some issues.

Open CMS

An open-source CMS is developed to be used by anyone—it's free and accessible to all. It offers more features than you might need.

An open-source CMS has fewer bugs because more people are using it. Unfortunately, there may be features that aren't quite right for your business.

You can save time and money using an open-source CMS if you don't need to add particular functionalities or integrate with third-party services.

An open-source CMS requires additional development work to make it compatible.

It comes with a generic design that you may need extra time and money to customize.

Why Should You Use Custom CMS Development

As of 2022, roughly 44% of websites were built using custom CMS. Research also shows that between 2015 and 2022, there was a 75% increase in businesses using custom CMS.

So, when’s the perfect time to decide on a custom CMS instead of an open-source?

Here are several reasons that might make you reconsider.

When you have outgrown your open-source option: You may think it’s enough to use an open-source CMS, but these tools don’t always meet your business’s unique needs.

Custom CMS development makes the most sense when you need more flexibility, if you have a complex and specific set of requirements that an off-the-shelf solution can't meet.

  • When you want a system tailored to your unique business processes: If you require more customization than those provided and know how to code, building a custom CMS can save a lot of headaches in the long run.
  • When security is paramount: With a custom CMS, you can control who has access to your site and what they can do.
  • When you want an optimal website experience for your visitors: Custom-built systems run on the back end and are designed to feel native to your site and cleaner than other website templates.

Building a Custom Content Management System: Quick Tips

When building a custom content management system, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to plan when it comes to design and development so that you don't run into any unforeseen obstacles.
  • Decide on categories and tags from the outset so your CMS can handle them properly.
  • Use serverless architecture for maximum flexibility and cost savings.
  • Don't skimp on testing. A good CMS should be able to take a lot of traffic and data.
  • Be aware of any legal requirements that may come up as you build your CMS.

Top Platforms for Content Management System Development

When it comes to content management systems, there are several platforms to choose from:

  1. Wix
  2. Squarespace
  3. Pulse CMS
  4. Sitefinity CMS

1. Wix

Wix is one of the top platforms for content management system development. It’s the fastest growing CMS worldwide, expanding 149% yearly.

With Wix, you can create an app-like website that's mobile-friendly and easy to use.

It has a drag-and-drop editor and templates that look great on any device.

And if you want to get into coding, Wix has an extensive library of code snippets that can be used to customize your site further.

It’s an excellent choice for small businesses that want to create a website quickly and easily. It's also great for non-technical users who need to make frequent changes to their sites.

2. Squarespace

Squarespace is another popular CMS platform with a 7.03% market share. It allows users to create websites with ease.

You can create your own template or choose one from their library, then customize it with your branding colors and content.

Squarespace offers fantastic options for SEO optimization, so getting found by search engines will be more accessible than ever before.

3. Pulse CMS

Pulse CMS has been around since 2005, making it one of the oldest CMS platforms on this list but still going strong today.

With Pulse CMS, you can build websites without the coding knowledge required, thanks to their code generator, which produces clean HTML5 code. This means no more broken links or errors.

4. Sitefinity CMS

Sitefinity CMS offers developers everything they need to create powerful websites quickly and easily without any coding experience required.

3 Ways You Can Save Time with a Custom CMS

Many content management systems (CMS) are available, each with features and benefits.

A custom CMS can be a great time-saving tool for businesses and marketers who need to manage large amounts of content.

Here are other ways a custom CMS can save you time:

  1. Automated publishing
  2. Scheduling
  3. Customizable workflow
  4. Choosing the wrong platform
  5. Not understanding the requirements
  6. Not doing enough research

1. Automated publishing

With a custom CMS, you can automate the publishing process so that new content is published automatically on your blog or website.

This can save you time, mainly if you post new content regularly.

2. Scheduling

A custom CMS can also help you schedule your content in advance. This means you can write and schedule several blog posts or articles at once and then have them published automatically over time.

This can be a great way to keep your website or blog updated regularly without spending hours doing it every day.

3. Customizable workflow

A custom CMS can be customized to match your specific workflow needs. This means that you can set up the system to work how you want it to, saving you a lot of time in the long run.

Mistakes to Avoid in Content Management System Development

4. Choosing the wrong platform

There are many platforms to choose from, and it's hard to know which is best for your needs.

If you don't research, you may choose an inferior platform that doesn't meet your requirements or integrate well with other systems.

5. Not understanding the requirements

Understanding what needs to be done will help determine how much time can be invested in each phase of development, which will have a significant impact on the final product (and cost).

For example, suppose you need a website that integrates with several third-party services but don't want them displayed on every page immediately after launch.

This should be considered during the planning stages so no additional costs are incurred later when decisions are made about where these integrations should go.

6. Not doing enough research

A thorough analysis involves researching how many pages need updating every day/month/year and how much content needs to be created before the launch date.

These numbers will change over time, so at least ensure they're updated once every quarter. Also, consider how long users spend on each page before leaving (or converting).

Other mistakes you should be aware of are:

  • Assuming that a custom CMS will be more expensive than an open-source option.
  • Underestimating the amount of work required to develop a CMS
  • Not taking the time to learn about different content management systems before making a decision
  • Not having a clear idea of your needs before starting development
  • Trying to build too much into your CMS
  • Not testing your CMS thoroughly before launch

Custom CMS: Final Thoughts

If you're thinking about creating a custom CMS, you should have a pretty good understanding of what it is, how it works, and some of its benefits and drawbacks.

While this can be advantageous for some businesses, it's not suitable for everyone; and there are plenty of excellent custom software development agencies ready to take your project t the next level. Moreover, these agencies usually have a full-list of services, from web development and CMS, to app development.

Consider your needs carefully before making a decision— if you require a lot of customization and are willing to put in the work to maintain a custom CMS, then it might be worth considering.

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