Your web traffic is a vital factor, maybe even the most important one, in generating sales leads for your business. According to Stanford University, 75 percent of people judge the credibility of a company on the design of its website. That’s why it’s such a big deal when your company decides to overhaul your web CMS.

There are so many ways to ruin a Web CMS project without even trying, but here are 11 that will certainly do the trick. 

1. Get the biggest system you can.

Your company has the budget, so you might as well buy a system that does everything.

No, that’s neither true nor necessary. "Every system out there is good at some things, and terrible at others,” says Adriaan Bloem, senior manager online at MBC. “Usually, you're better off with choosing two or more ‘best of breed’ systems, rather than trying to force a hammer do the work of a screwdriver as well.”

2. Choose a CMS because it’s the most popular in the market.

Different companies have specific requirements, even in the same industry, so don’t think you can copy what someone else has done. Nothing substitutes for doing your own research, including commissioning a proof of concept with test implementations of your most important features.

3. Buy the features instead of the relationship.

The space evolves really quickly. Features you buy today might be irrelevant before you implement them. The relationship you have with both your implementation partner and your vendor are often more relevant to project success than the features in the product demo. Find the right partner, and a CMS that will allow you to extend functionality.

4. Don’t go to a vendor for advice, because they’ll just try to sell you more services.

If you don’t trust your vendor, you should not choose their product in the first place. If you picked a vendor you trust, then why not make the most of the relationship? A great vendor will make sure that your project is a success and help you with best practices and advice.

5. Stick with existing partners, even if they have never worked with the new CMS before.

It cannot be overstressed: when you work with a partner, they must be familiar with the CMS you have chosen. If they don’t understand the new system's underlying philosophy, they will ruin your project.

6. Build solutions for problems you don’t have.

“Trying to maintain complete flexibility is usually a cover-up for not actually knowing what you want to achieve,” claims Bloem. “It leads to a hugely complex implementation that, paradoxically, will make it incredibly hard to change anything. Your project costs will balloon; and if you're running along in agile, without knowing where you're running to, you'll probably never even get there.”

Figure out what you want to do early on, and distill it to the simplest possible elements required.

7. Set a firm date and budget before you know the scope.

“The content creation phase is often underestimated, as is the job of moving old content into the new system,” explains Maurizio Müller, head of digital marketing software at Tinext. He adds that, “it’s also really important not to go online until you’ve done all the necessary tests, including the backup and restore procedure.”

8. Try to make the new system work like the old one.

You have to find a system that does what you want it to, but both you and your teams need to understand that your new system has new approaches. Train people to understand this, and get the best out of the new system.

9. Let developers run the project alone.

Sure, you need their involvement, but they’re not going to be the ones generating leads.

“If you have good developers, they'll create a very efficient, reliable setup -- which is totally unusable for editors, and doesn't achieve any of the business goals on the frontend website,” explains Bloem. You have to make sure that you have a user interface that can be used easily by everyone, from management to marketing. This will speed up campaigns, give marketing teams more autonomy, and ultimately save time and money.

10. Get the whole company to manage the project.

Democracy has a place, but it’s not in website project management. Yes, you should involve people in the development process. But there’s got to be one clear project leader who can say yes and no.

“You really have to involve all stakeholders,” agrees Müller, “while at the same time ensuring that there are not too many 'decision makers' on the project.”

11. Work with your current system, because you don’t want to waste money on a new one.

This is the classic case of "throwing good money after bad." Just because your old system has cost you millions to build doesn’t mean that it makes sense to keep using it. Getting a new system could turn out not only to be easier and faster, but also cheaper to maintain. Sometimes you just have to start right back at the beginning. 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by  Johnath