Why we don’t recommend a Bespoke CMS

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When it comes to digital marketing, your Content Management System (CMS) can either make things easy or difficult.

Just think of your CMS as the admin side of things, while the website is the pretty storefront…
A bespoke CMS is one that is built for you, generally by the website designer. It has a few pros and cons which we’ll explore in some detail.

The alternative is to use a more popular CMS that is built for any and every type of site. Some CMS’es like Shopify cater for specialities, like E-commerce.

You need a CMS that has the following attributes:

• Reliable
• Scalable
• Customisable
• Widely Supported
• Secure


Having a CMS that you can count on day in, day out is pretty important. If you run an e-commerce website, having a website down is a disaster.

If you use a bespoke CMS, thats hosted on the builder’s server, you’re at their mercy. If something goes wrong, they should get onto it quickly, but as it’s only designed for a limited number of clients, it will show cracks sooner or later.


You need to review what tasks you have to undertake as a result of your CMS. For example, if your CMS doesn’t allow you to print off invoices in bulk. Don’t make the mistake of not factoring in the growth of your site.

By automating tasks, you can free up time to concentrate on more important things, like customer service and marketing.
Apps/plugins can help with all sorts of tasks, improving your workflow as well as increasing conversions.


A bespoke CMS can be modified by its designers to adapt to any task, but this can be expensive. What’s more, your custom code my only apply to you, so it may break another part of your site.

Plugins are a great alternative with a non-bespoke CMS. On the WordPress platform, many are free but user discretion is required to ensure you aren’t uploading malicious software. Make note of the amount of downloads, user reviews and version number the plugin has.

You should always have access to all aspects of your site. Many bespoke CMS’es won’t allow you access, presumably to prevent the coding being played with. However, as a webmaster you should feel comfortable with HTML. By not allowing access, it forces the Bespoke CMS owner to pay for seemingly small changes.

We’ve come across silly fees being charged to site owners for tag changes, adding small scripts, or even changing text within a page. You don’t have to get caught in this trap!

Widely Supported

Wordpress branded pens and pencilsA bespoke CMS that’s built for a handful of clients is adaptable, but it won’t be able to offer the breadth of possibilities that a larger platform can.

As of August 2013, WordPress is used by 18.9% of the top 10 million websites (source W3Techs).

If something goes wrong with WordPress, it goes wrong for millions of users. Fixes happen very quickly, especially with security issues.


Your bespoke CMS is likely to be used by only a small number of other clients. Be aware that you’ll have to trust the ability of your bespoke CMS to ward off any malicious attacks. That means that your web designer is going to need to be on top of his game, all the time.

TIP: All CMS systems will face security threats, but you can help to reduce your risk by:

• Limiting login attempts
• Choosing long passwords for admin and FTP logins, with a mix of numbers, upper case and lower case letters.

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