Several years ago, Content Management Systems were in high demand in our industry and a must have for associations. There were quite a few varying Content Management Systems available with various options and fees. Costs overall were rather expensive, based upon user licenses with additional fees for the source code. (On average anywhere between $15k – $40k per system with annual fees as well).

Then ASP.NET became popular and new CMS’s arrived that were open source, included plug and play modules for very little costs. These systems, whether ASP.NET or PHP, were slick and easy to use. Very little set up time and offered ease of use. The costs of the previous paid CMS’s were reduced. Some drastically lower than a few years prior (about ½ the cost).

Now with there being many open source CMS’s available, (Joomla, WordPress, DotNetNuke, Drupal, or Microsoft’s latest offering called Oxite (, are paid CMS’s a thing of the past?

This would depend on your website needs. Not all CMS’s will fit everyone needs. Whether it is a paid CMS or an Open Source CMS. Custom programming can be added to each type of CMS in order for the completed system to be one of use to your organization. But first you will need to determine the needs of your organization. What do you need the CMS to do and what do you want available for your end web site users?

Some other important items include: Host provider, type of programming language and database hosting available, integration with a member database, user interaction, design, etc. The answers to these questions will help in determine the systems that will best fit your needs to begin with.

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The CMS you select will be your tool to create/administer your web site. This is how the public will view your organization. Ensuring that you have the right tool is important. Check with your web consultant to provide guidance in outlining the best solution to fit your needs.

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