CMS Lockdown

By Chris Davis

For those who don’t know, a CMS is a Content Management System. In plain language, it’s a type of software on which a website can be built that allows almost anybody, without any programming skills, to quickly and easily edit and update it.

Most websites these days are built on CMSs because a website owner who is able to make changes also makes the process less expensive, much faster, and easier than having a web company do it every time.

So, CMS is good.

But, proprietary CMS is bad.

A proprietary CMS is one that is custom-developed by a web design and development company.

Red flag: For anyone who is considering hiring a web company and is told the company has created its own CMS and that’s what will be used to build your website—run for the hills!

Here’s the real deal: With a CMS, you and your staff members can actually make many of the edits and changes you’ll need on the website:

  • Changing text, photos, and PDF documents
  • Adding, removing, and moving web pages.

All of this can be done without any assistance from a web company. Be aware that there are limits to what any CMS can do; at some point, you may need to make more substantial changes that cannot be made using a CMS, in which case the changes must be made by a web company, but there is still a lot you can do on your own.

But what happens when a web company raises its prices, or its service becomes inadequate, or you find another company that’s cheaper and better? If a website is built on a proprietary CMS, you won’t be able to switch to a new web company; you’ll be stuck paying higher prices and enduring non-responsive, lackluster service. Why can’t you switch? Also, another programmer or web company will be unable to code your website because it was built using custom software. So, to successfully make modifications to the existing website, a programmer or company will have to first learn how to code in the language of the custom, proprietary CMS, and then actually do the coding. Either entity will have to charge more money to make the change, which will inflate costs. Then it will take time to learn a new coding method, which the provider probably won’t want to do.

So, now you’re stuck.

You’re tethered to one web company forever—unless you decide to build anew website again.

How can you avoid this? Don’t hire any web company that uses a proprietary CMS platform. Instead, insist upon having a website built on a CMS that can be used by many different programmers and web companies.

In this way, you’ll have more options when you need them.

Chris Davis is the owner of DVS Camp Websites. Download his free report “5 Ways Your Website Is Costing You New Campers” at, or email him at