The actual costs of Content Management Systems

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Whether launching a new website or updating your current one, the Content Management System (CMS) you use will be the backbone of your digital presence. One consideration when choosing a CMS is the price tag – but all may not be what it seems.

Enlighten Designs walks us through the actual costs and why it is wisest to do your homework before investing in a CMS for your business.


A one-time or monthly licencing fee is an obvious cost, ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand per month. However, the monthly licencing fee may be the smallest part of its cost; you’ll also need to think about implementation, training, hosting, support and ongoing maintenance.

Implementation & Training

Unless you have an in-house IT department, you’re probably going to need help installing the system and/or migrating your existing content/website – and then there’s the training so your people can use it.

Some systems are designed to be user-friendly and can take just a few hours for someone with previous CMS experience to learn then pass on to others in the team. More complicated systems can take a couple of weeks to learn. Therefore costs, in terms of dollars and staff hours, will depend on how complex the new CMS is and how long it takes to implement and integrate into your business.


Hosting costs are typically separate from CMS software unless you choose a Software-as-a-Service CMS. All other types will require hosting by a third party. While we’re only talking about a few dollars a month for a standard site, the costs add up when considering multiple sites or significant data amounts to accommodate. Don’t forget to account for the time it will take to configure the CMS and get everything working together.

Maintenance & Support

Like all software, maintenance is of prime importance and typically involves regular updates, server maintenance, security audits, backup solutions and support. Typically, this isn’t part of the up-front costs, so don’t forget to factor it in before signing on the bottom line because skimping on this part will cost you dearly in the long run. Without regular maintenance and updates, you’ll be a sitting duck for cyber-attacks, site crashes and slow site response times. It’s better to budget about 20% on top of your CMS package cost for maintenance than lose customers through poor experiences.

Remove the hidden costs

Implementing a SaaS CMS package is an effective way to avoid the trap of hidden costs – and your finance team will love you for it. A typical SaaS CMS is billed monthly and covers associated costs such as cloud storage, cloud hosting, installation, mobile accessibility, on-prem CMS integration, external SaaS integration and cloud-based maintenance.

Being cloud-based, it’s usually plug-and-play with support included as part of the deal. If your business has limited resources or is just getting started with content management and solutions, a SaaS CMS is a smart way to go.

Enlighten Designs have been creating beautiful, user-friendly digital solutions since 1998. Built on a passion for people, Enlighten Designs can help set you up with the best CMS solution for your business. If you want to find out how a CMS can improve your online presence get in touch.

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Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Connect is the leading multi-media hub for New Zealand's tech innovations. We keep you informed on the need-to-know impact stories, the trends shaping our world, and the tech enabling us to go further.

Enlighten Designs

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Enlighten Designs creates beautiful, user-friendly digital solutions. As an award-winning creative technical agency, our mission is to deliver digitally transformative experiences for customers ranging from small businesses to enterprise clients. Founded in 1998, Enlighten Designs is based on our passion to bring exceptionally designed, innovative and custom technology solutions from the shores of New Zealand to the world.

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Application modernisation services address the migration of legacy to new applications or platforms, including the integration of new functionality to provide the latest functions to the business. Modernisation options include re-platforming, re-hosting, recoding, rearchitecting, re-engineering, interoperability, replacement and retirement, as well as changes to the application architecture to clarify which option should be selected.

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