This CMS checklist summarises the base requirements to help you get clear on what you need from a CMS.
How to use this checklist
Use this quick checklist to ask questions and discuss CMS requirements with your team. You could also use it with a CMS vendor to help clarify the suitability of their CMS for your purposes. Refer back to the gather CMS requirements page if you need to.
Features and functionality
Do you need specific or customised features such as events, social media integration, video capability? How will these be built into your CMS?
WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
Can you create clean content with the WYSIWYG content editor tool? Can you write in the styles and format you need to? How flexible is the editor?
Multiple site management
Can you manage multiple sites through the CMS, if required?
What metadata and tagging systems are available in the CMS?
Can you crop and resize images easily in the CMS?
Can you optimise content for search engines in your CMS? Are URLs created on a page by page basis?
Is there internal site analytics or integration with external analytics tools?
Version control and archiving
What version control does your CMS have? Can you compare and restore earlier versions of content? How easy is it to archive content you no longer require?
How easy is it to change navigation of pages if required?
What are the roles of the people using the CMS? Are the roles and permissions flexible and configurable?
Will you manage some or all your content workflow through your CMS? Write down which parts.
Have you clearly identified your own content types? Can you create and set up different kinds of content templates for different types of content in your CMS? Write down all of the different types of content you will use on your website (for example, generic topic page, about page, news stories, media releases and annual reports).
Internal site search
Does your CMS have its own internal site search?
Can the CMS be used as a headless CMS for managing content for use on multiple sites?
Testing, staging and live sites
How does your CMS manage content on the testing, staging and live site?
Other languages (if required)
If you need content in other languages, can your CMS support this?
Accessibility guidelines apply to both your CMS front and back end. For example, how will your CMS help to make your website compliant with WCAG2.0AA? Accessibility also includes things like using plain English. See the Style Manual for more about structuring, writing and creating accessible content.
Write down all the associated CMS costs. Also consider ongoing maintenance, training, licences, development and support costs.
Ask your CMS vendor about their product roadmap. How will their CMS technology direction and timing affect you as a client? What future changes might you need to be aware of.
Vendor choice and capability
Who will need CMS training in your agency? How often is it offered? What is the learning curve like for new people?
Is there a developer support community in Australia? Is it online, face to face, 24/7? Overseas based support can mean a delay in time zones.
How often is the CMS updated to the next version? How might this affect your website content or CMS use?
Future changes or customisation
If you want to make custom changes to your CMS in future, what is the process for this?
Any new code being written for your CMS deployment should be licenced for re-use. See the Digital Service Standard criterion 8, 'make source code open.'
Security and hosting
How and where is your website hosted?
What type of CMS security do you have?
What site protection features are in place?
Do you need to encrypt your content?
Are you using an SSL certificate for public facing web content?
How often are content backups done and where are they stored?
Is there a disaster recovery plan? How are issues logged by you?
If you change your CMS, is there a clear, secure process in place for migrating content?