Content Management Systems (CMS)

Improving the federal government’s ability to deliver digital information anytime, anywhere, on any device—via open content—is a key goal of the Digital Government Strategy. A content management system (CMS) can help your agency move to an open content model, making it easier for people to find, share, use, and re-use your information.

GSA’s Center for Digital Services Innovation has developed this CMS toolkit that provides the following resources for agencies:

Document Your Business Case

Moving to a CMS requires a significant investment in time and resources. See how other agencies have used a CMS to improve business operations, and use these examples to build your own business case.

Read more about documenting your business case for a CMS.


Prepare Your Content

The more work you can do up-front to clean up and streamline your content, the easier your migration will be.

  • Conduct a Content Inventory—take stock of all your content
  • Identify Content Structure—determine content types and metadata
  • Develop a Content Strategy—document your plan for content creation, publication, and governance
  • Clean Up Old Content—eliminate ROT (redundant, outdated, or trivial content) and archive as needed

Read more about preparing your content to move to a CMS.


Select the Right CMS

You’ll want to consider many factors when selecting a CMS, and it’s important to get it right, because most agencies stay with the same CMS for several years.

  • Decide if You Need a CMS—can you create open content without one?
  • Evaluate Types of CMS—weigh the pros and cons of open-source and commercial CMS tools, and which CMS tools other agencies use
  • Identify Resource Needs—learn what’s required to obtain, implement, and sustain a CMS
  • Document Requirements—document the features and functionality of each CMS to narrow down your list
  • Select the Right CMS Tool—test out top contenders, decide which tool best meets your needs, write a Statement of Work for contract help with migration
  • Is One CMS Enough?—determine if one CMS can meet all your content management needs; for example, can you use the same CMS to manage your website and your blog?
  • Common Pitfalls—avoid common mistakes, such as not developing a content strategy

Read more about choosing a CMS.


Migrate Your Content

You’ve done all your prep work, now it’s time to migrate. Make the process run smoothly to minimize disruption to your content owners and visitors.

  • Plan Your Migration—identify role and responsibilities, and keep stakeholders informed
  • Migration Models—will you do a manual or automated migration, or a combination?
  • Train Your Teamteach your team how to use the new CMS
  • Migrate Your Content—do a test run, move your content to the new CMS, consider a beta site, manage broken links, test everything once it’s moved
  • Launch—launch your new CMS/site

Read more about migrating your content to a CMS.


Agency Case Studies



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Content Lead: Rachel Flagg
Page Reviewed/Updated: October 30, 2013

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