The Disadvantage of a Content Management System

Previously I discussed the benefits of using a Content Management System for your business. You should also know when it’s better to build a static site instead.

Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of a CMS Site:

1. Contains hundreds of files

A site that contains many files leaves itself open to errors. For example a client updating the site may create errors (i.e. inserting images that are too large, inserting flash, javascript, video files) that result in substantially altering the design of the template.

It may take the designer many hours to find the cause of the error. He may have to go back to redesigning the original site especially if the files were not backed up. This will cause much frustration for the site owner because his site will be offline. He may lose all the files he has created thus losing his customers and having to spend money again to fix the errors.

A static site only contains a few files that can easily be corrected for errors.

2. Limited flexibility in design

CMS sites primarily use templates for design. They are easy to recognize because they have a standard format i.e. 2 or 3 column design with boxes placed in various positions to accommodate the content.

The designer must stay within the confines of this type of template therefore he is limited in the flexibility and uniqueness of design that can reflect his business.

3. Limited SEO of web pages

The web pages of a CMS site are generated dynamically. This often means the URLS of the web pages contain long strings that are a combination of words, numbers and/or symbols. Search engines have a difficult time spidering these types of pages. Not all web designers will care to edit the code to make the CMS site search engine compatible.

Meta tags (a necessity for obtaining good rankings) are also often left out of dynamically produced pages.

Duplicate content can easily occur in CMS sites because it may use several style sheets to produce the same content i.e.
print style sheet plus the standard design style sheet.

If the CMS site contains a blog the content may be duplicated by appearing on the front age, in the archives, in the printed version and in the syndicated content.

4. SEO Maintenance

Since CMS sites often contain hundreds of pages it may be difficult to optimize them. For example it will take a long time to
change the keywords in the copy and meta tags for that many pages. Keywords for web pages need to be refined and altered
to keep pace with the changing demographics of peoples’ searches.

5. Slow loading

Because a CMS site is database driven you need to wait for the pages to be processed by the server. Since there are hundreds of pages they may be slow to load. This will cause you to lose visitors as most internet users have a short attention span. A site should only take a few seconds to load.

A CMS site on a slow server or on a server that includes many other sites will make also take a long time to load.

A static site that is built using CSS (cascading style sheets) and doesn’t use lots of tables in its design will load much faster than a CMS site.

6. Expensive design

CMS sites cost a lot more to design than static sites because a designer has to install and configure the database, design the
template, then customize it to include all the extensions i.e. menus, polls, banners, forms etc.

It will also require extensive testing to check for errors, browser compatibility and screen resolution.

Finally the designer needs to explain to the client how to manage the web site from the control panel i.e. add content, grant permissions to different authors etc. The web designer must include charges for time spent with the client on how to
administer the CMS site.

7. Maintenance costs

  • What if your CMS site suddenly produces errors?
  • As the owner of the site are you making constant backups in case the site goes down?
  • What will you do if your database server fails?
  • If not, is your designer doing the backups for you?
  • How will you know if your designer is still around should your site go offline?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself when considering a CMS site for your business.


Before considering a CMS site for your business, determine what your needs are. If you are a small organization or business that needs less than a hundred pages consider building a static site instead.

If you are a large organization or business that will have hundreds or thousands of pages that need to be added or updated frequently with multiple authors, consider creating a CMS site.


  1. Great discussions. CMS what a great concept to start the evolution of providing more control to Marketing. However, CMS falls short by creating more development work with new templates, business data integration, feature integration/coding. WebIvy provides an OnDemand Platform for Marketing that combines CMS and Web Development for Marketers without knowing how to code.

  2. its really helpful.

  3. One thing that is not only often but almost always overlooked is that most true CMS solutions are very complex pieces of software require a lot of time to get your head around… CMS (not blog engines such as WordPress) require advanced understanding of HTML, CSS and web technologies (not to mention that when updating content you always have to keep SEO in view). So essentially operating a CMS still requires a web developer. Yet, most of the time clients believe that once the CMS is up and running they can handle it themselves. But if you buy a plane does that mean you know how to fly it…?

  4. I’m researching on CMS right now, I wish to migrate onto the CMS but from my little findings I think CMS is not flexible when it comes to designing and structuring of a website. As a developer I’d like to do my designs in fireworks and dreamweaver/sharepoint and then insert CMS in the areas of the site when i want the user to be updating on a regular basis but i’ve not found a CMS that works that way.
    Just thinking…If you found any CMS that does what I said it doesnt do, please be kind to email me on

  5. Yeah, it seems that the CMS is lot harder and heavy on the learning. CMS sounds good choice for my site but then again my site is static. All of the TOP drupal sites that I have seen so far are pretty clean, but nothing impressive(considering is best examples). I think is better to stick to what I have now then switch to CMS.

  6. Having used CMS, I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone who doesn’t know much about the web or editors. As an avid HTML and CSS and dreamweaver person I found it hard to learn at first but once I got the hang of it it was alright .

    The worst thing about CMS is finding,installing the extensions to increase the use of the site. Most of the search engines have paid extensions at the top and some of the free templates did not work.
    I spent two weeks addin extensions and checkin out the manuel.
    One thing that annoyed me was the tedious steps to add sections and catorgries and I hated clickin four to five times on toolbars to get the content where I wanted.

    The positive side to CMS is being able to add and upload products to the website and state the stock but then I had to trawl the net to get rid of the two logos and swap it for paid logos.
    If the CMS had menus/ shopin cart and an editor it would have saved me allot of time.

  7. I must disagree slightly with points 3, 4 and 5 above. Though I do believe you are right with most CMS’s, we use a lite CMS system (

    It is not a do it all, over the top CMS. Its easy to use and does what we want. The reason I disagree with those points are:

    3) With Easy CMS Lite you name the pages, so for instance we have pages called /products/rfid_readers.php. This is very SEO friendly.

    4) You say that some CMS sites have hundreds of pages, so maintenance is an issue. To be fair though, that is not a limitation of the CMS. If you had a static page with hundreds of pages it would still be just as difficult??

    5) Again, you are mostly right, but with the CMS we use it actually stores the links only (page URLS and names) in the database. The actual content is stored as an include file, so it loads really quickly.

    Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts…

  8. cms is great if you want simple website..most corporations use it for large websites so that can have 50+ pages…the truth , no one reads 50 page websites , even though there are several plugins available , you still need to know a little backend programming to really manipulate the frame work. it doesn’t allow you to have “individual page looks” because of frame work limitations , even though it is seo friendly , the seo rules are changing , cms programs will have serious competition soon. flash and interactive will be come more popular due to the fact that businesses will need to start “sticking out ahead of their competitors , although interactive , and flash are not the best for seo now…once adobe finishes the flash seo project , and the search engines finish their reckonization programs…static websites will be a thing of the will also put these so called ” web design ” companies who charge $250 for a site , out of business…because all their designers will only know cms programming , and will have forgotten all their interactive knowledge. I could be wrong , its a theory.

  9. i am trying to learn about CMS. Please tell me what all changes we can do in CMS based website. can we change complete layout, colors, fonts etc in cms enabled website? also, which are the good CMS softwares?

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