A Content Management System, CMS, helps you manage a Web site without spending a lot of time or money on programming. If you choose the right CMS, you will have a small amount of installation and customisation work then a small update each three or six months. When you choose the wrong CMS you end up with almost as much work and expense as if you created the whole Web site from scratch.
I hear of cases where the wrong CMS wastes more time and money than writing everything yourself. Web site owners spend as much or more than the cost of creating the whole site by hand then throw out the offending CMS and start again with a new CMS or write the whole site by hand. Try before you buy. Buy something that is free so you do not waste money.
What Does a CMS Cost?
CMSs vary in price from free up to way more than a Web site is worth. Web sites are valuable but the content and services provided by the Web site are more valuable than the actual Web site. Your money should be spent on people, content, and service, not software.
Where Do You Start?
Where do you start when selecting a CMS? I recommend starting back beyond the Web site design stage. Start with a Web Architect to work out what you need. Skip past the Web designers as you can worry about the design of the Web site later. Get a genuine Web Architect. The right Web Architect will make sure the CMS selection process and the Web design stage start with the right requirements.
Open Source Versus Proprietary
Open source software gives you freedom of choice. Proprietary software locks you in to one software vendor's design for the future, including that vendor's need to increase revenue. Some proprietary software offers a lot of function but function is often a snake that mesmerises Web site owners in to buying things they do not need. Some functions will turn prospective customers away from your Web site.
You want on your Web site only what your customers want. If you buy anything else then you need a way to turn off the unused functions so that the extra functions do not slow down your customers.
Software manufacturers, and the companies owning software manufacturers, often have multiple brands to compete in different markets. they also may have multiple brands in the one market to pretend there is competition in that market. When you buy proprietary software, you may be artificially locked into a limited product in an attempt to force you into buying a different and more expensive brand from the same company or another subsidiary.
Open source software lets you change any time you want with no limitations.
Ask your sales and marketing people about forced buying. Forced buying is when you are forced to buy a product you do not need or want in order to obtain the product you want. An example is the Google Chrome operating system where your data is stored by Google wherever they want even if you do not want them controlling your data. The Google approach with Chrome is probably illegal in most countries with privacy laws because you have no control over the data you collect from your customers. The Google Chrome approach almost certainly breaches your privacy agreements with your customers because Google is not part of those agreements.
Some CMS products come with forced buying of installation services, training, support, and hosting. Open source gives you independent control over all those areas.