The most important feature of a CMS is...

By Deane Barker on October 3, 2008

LinkedIn: Answers: What’s the most important feature that you look for in a CMS?: A simple question posed on the LinkedIn. Some good answers, and worth reading for a CMS junkie.


Community size and support, ease of use, expandability of the CMS, the amount of available “add ons”, licensing types, and most of all -SECURITY and how issues are handled when they arise. [...]

Fit for purpose ;-) [...]

I think ADAPTABILITY would need to be the most important feature – the ability for the user to have the system adapted to his/her requirements quickly and easily by the developer. [...]

The single most important, and often overlooked, feature of any CMS is ease-of-use for content editors and other end users. [...]

This one seems a little out in left field.

As a chief of technical development of our CMS (Xmanager) I may say that the most important feature of a CMS is semantic web and ontology compliance.

Wow. Seriously? That’s “the most important feature of a CMS”?

Comments (4)

yachris says:

That “out in left field” sounds like someone who’s read a whitepaper but hasn’t actually ever tried to make use of semantic/ontology concepts.

Have you seen Tog ( It’s an attempt to make a bunch of plugins for Rails to quickly and easily give your site “Social Web” stuff. Looks pretty good, though a bit early. Interestingly, for the current discussion, is that they have a CMS plugin!

BryanSD says:

Considering a CMS is system would suggest that no one feature if more important than another, wouldn’t it? Though there definitely is some fluff in a CMS that we could all live without if we have to.

I would say in many ways that it is more important for those backing the CMS application to be aware that a CMS is more than software. A CMS is an information system which has to reflect a person, business, or organization’s business processes and workflow when it comes to content management. That’s a very complex system and why we all still struggle looking for the perfect CMS.

Ron Miller says:

Sure a a good ontology is crucial to the underlying structure of the system, but so long as it’s good most users won’t care about that. That begs another question though, from whose perspective?

End users want transparency when adding information to or accessing information from the repository. IT wants ease of administration and the ability to cross systems. Compliance wants a way to clearly determine document lifecycles. Legal wants to be able to find content minutiae, the needle in the haystack. in an enterprise content management system that touches so many areas of the organization, what’s important really depends on your job and how you interact with the system.

Ron Miller Editor Fierce Content Management Newsletter

SasQ says:

I must add that CMS shouldn’t force me to learn some new strange terminology, e.g. what is a slug, taxonomy, pingback, linkblog, widget, gadget, what’s the difference between a Story, Page, Book Page, Article and Blog Post, or the difference between a Skin, Template, Theme, Style and Scheme. I better would like the CMS to talk in my own language, e.g. website, homepage, menu, URL, folder, category etc. It’s not good when different CMS differs only by the names they add to their features, and when those names differ only to make some diversity between the CMSes.