Holy Cow! How does one choose from 878 Content Management Systems?

Given the salutary, all-round benefits of embracing a CMS today, both by an agency and by a client, how exactly does one go about selecting one? One way would be to go through the entire list at CMS Matrix. A better way would be to start from what you want/need.

To answer what you need/want, think in terms of content and functionality of the sites that you need/want:


  • Very little content [5-,10-, 15-page sites]
  • Lots of content with fairly simple levels of hierarchy [100- 1000s of pages, but neatly categorized and no category overlaps, or more or less similar types of content]
  • Lots of content with hierarchical levels and interrelationships [100 -1000s of pages, categorized with content/ category overlaps, different types of content]


  • Little functionality [sitemap, contact forms]
  • Moderate functionality [sitemap, custom forms, job section]
  • Lots of functionality [Gallery, real estate listings, directory, forums, personal messaging and community features, member subscriptions]

Once you have an understanding of the content/ functionality combinations of the sites that you do, you will be able to match a CMS that does this the best justice.

CMSs can be evaluated by the:

  • Ways/ Methods they handle content
  • Richness of plugins/ modules/ extensions that they have
  • Strength of the community that surrounds the system
  • Ease with which new users can learn and adopt the system

Usually, the larger the community, and the longer that it has been around, the richer will be the extension/ module sets available for that system.

But adoption of a CMS system has something to do with the ease with which folks can implement the CMS.

CMS Matrix lists around 878 [and that list is growing rapidly] Content Management Systems, some paid or commercial, others free and Open Source. What CMS Matrix does effectively, is that it allows you to compare the CMSs along a huge set of features. This can be very helpful if you’re new to CMSs and desirous of looking at a few before settling on one.

What you need to understand in the selection of your CMS is:

  1. The content type, structure defines the CMS you should employ
  2. The functionality determines the CMS you should employ
  3. The learning curve needed for adoption impacts the CMS you should employ
  4. The strength of the community and the number of extensions surrounding the CMS will also determine your CMS choice.

Check out the reviews of CMSs at CMS Matrix. I’d suggest that once you have homed in on a few that CMSs that meet with your content and functionality requirements, check out the CMS sites, the forums and the plugin databases of each.

Hang in there for a week and check out what folks are saying about the system and/ or its components/ plugins and then make a wise choice.

Because the systems are getting better, each day, remember yesterday’s choice of a CMS may not be valid tomorrow.

Best of luck!

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