Choosing CMS as a magazine publisher

How to Choose a CMS as a Magazine Publisher

Choosing the best CMS as a magazine publisher means looking under the hood and evaluating how the features offered by various platforms align with your own needs. It also means considering how difficult it might be to migrate from your existing CMS to the new system you choose.

Content management systems serve as the backbone to a website, and the system you select will play a big role in the way you, your staff, and your audience interacts with your website on a day-to-day basis.

When it comes time to choose a CMS as a magazine publisher, you should start by deciding whether you want an open-source or a closed-source platform. Open-source platforms, like WordPress, are usually much easier to navigate and they are updated more frequently as new features are released. Closed-source platforms are typically designed with specific industries in mind, like news publishing or online magazines. However, these proprietary systems can come with expensive premiums and exporting data in the future is known to be extremely challenging.

(To learn more about the pros and cons of open-source and closed-source content management systems, check out this guide.)

Let’s say you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and you’ve decided that an open-source CMS is the best fit for your online publication. In our experience, one of the most stressful parts of choosing a CMS as a magazine publisher is deciding which features or functionalities you need currently, and which you’d like to have in the future. Just because your publication doesn’t use a specific feature right now doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to have that feature down the line. In order to make sure you’re getting access to as many advanced publishing tools as possible, you need to use an open-source CMS with a large community of users, like WordPress.

WordPress is one of the largest and most well-known content management systems in the world. One of the reasons why is because online magazine publishers who use WordPress get access to more than 45,000 plugins, which extends the functionality of the platform. Plugins are how we adapt a widely-used CMS to a specific niche within the publishing industry. Thousands of plugins have been developed specifically for magazine publishers, giving publishers the ability to quickly add online stores, galleries, mailing lists, and directories to their websites.

As a magazine publisher, you need a state-of-the-art CMS that includes features for publishing and monetization. The magazine publishers we work with at Web Publisher PRO often say they want a system with minimal setup and a low cost of ownership. The simplicity of a CMS plays an important role in how quickly a publication’s editors and writers can start using the system.

When you choose a CMS as a magazine publisher, you also want to pay attention to reliability. Niche systems might seem cutting-edge, but take a look under the hood and you’ll discover that the technology is very finicky, causing publishers to experience frequent website outages. Larger, open-source platforms are considered to be more reliable and less expensive to maintain.

If you were hiring a house painter, you’d ask to see his work. The same holds true when selecting a CMS. Before you choose a CMS as a magazine publisher, check out other magazine websites that are running the system. You may find that some websites look more polished than others, or that some websites include key features that you won’t want to miss out on.

When it comes time to choose a CMS as a magazine publisher, here are a few things to consider:

  • How frequently is the CMS updated?
  • How many other publishers use this CMS?
  • How will you migrate from your existing platform to the new CMS?
  • What is the process for exporting data from the CMS, if you choose to switch systems in the future?

If you are going to hire a web development firm, make sure you choose one that has experience working with online magazine publishers. As we’ve discussed, each industry has its own unique needs. An online magazine publisher needs his website to perform differently than a small business owner. Achieving optimal performance requires the right mix of features and plugins, to extend the capabilities of a CMS, and that is something that you should always take into consideration when you choose a CMS as a magazine publisher.

If you would like to learn more about choosing the right CMS as a magazine publisher, setup a time to chat with a member of our team here at Web Publisher PRO.