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I would like to draw on your experiences with different web content management systems and hear what kind features you feel are the most important from a webmaster point of view.

As a webmaster what features do you find are the most important in a CMS?

Please:

  • specify only one feature per answer
  • up-vote features you also find important
  • feel free to give multiple answers (propose multiple features)
  • describe features in depth, rather than reference a specific CMS
  • feel free to write "in contrast to ...", i.e. what this feature does better
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This should be a community wiki –  John Conde Sep 11 '10 at 15:15
    
Agreed on CW, and done. –  JasonBirch Sep 11 '10 at 17:16
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7 Answers

It needs to be easy enough for anybody, even my mother, to use it.

Edit: Although the CMS should be easy to set up and tweak the most important functionality is the user experience since that is the ultimate goal of the software. To allow users to easily manage content updates without being web developers. The easier it is to use the more likely people are to use it.

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What does 'use it' entail? Setup, layout tweaking, editing content? –  mawtex Sep 11 '10 at 15:37
    
mawtex, good question, but there is not a single answer to that. Different CMS'es have different audiences. User friendliness is always relative to what the users do with it. One CMS may focus on usability for skilled webmasters, another may target "your mother". –  marcvangend Oct 13 '10 at 7:15
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Customization. It needs to be able to not only scale well, but be intuitive enough that it can be scaled. IE. I should be able to add modules/plugins to it with no hassle, and upgrade them with no hassle. I should also be able to write my own modules/plugins to access parts of the CMS' internal parts without wanting to kick a brick wall. I should also be able to pass it off to a designer so that they can theme it without having to understand, what plugs I'm using and where.

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Uniqueness is what drives the web, it is why there are different websites doing different things. There can be no true cms unless it can allow the idiosyncrasies of why you needed your own web app in the first place. –  Thomas Sep 11 '10 at 20:59
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From a webmaster perspective I think the most needed feature is good documentation.

The webmaster has to hack through the code to customize a website.

Comparing Wordpress with Joomla, I find Wordpress easier to hack in the code. Joomla is harder but good documentation make it easier.

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Good support. Not necessarily paid support mind you, a community can do just as well, but a webmaster should never be stuck on their own to sort out a problem. In it's a hosted solution this is even more important. In my experience nothing is worse that being dependent on a small group of people you don't trust during a crisis.

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AJAX Support (Optionally) provide REST service or JSONP callbacks to allow hosting APIs and javascript-heavy applications / extensions.

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The most important feature that isn't included in most CMS that exist today would be easy multivariate tests.

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I18N – Internationalization

Multi-Language Management of Content

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