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Building a Content Management System (CMS)

Launch Plan, Skills Needed, Costs

With 12-year experience in CMS development, ScienceSoft knows how to build a CMS that would improve the efficiency of content management by up to 60%.

Building a Content Management System (CMS) - ScienceSoft
Building a Content Management System (CMS) - ScienceSoft


Pavel Ilyusenko

Head of PMO, ScienceSoft

Peter Manko

Senior Business Analyst, ScienceSoft

Building a Content Management System (CMS): Summary

Content management system development is required when a company needs software to conveniently manage its digital content. Such content may include documents, digital media assets (e.g., photos, audio and video files), and web content.

  • Building time: 2-6 months.
  • Required team: a project manager, a business analyst, a UX/UI designer, front-end and back-end developers, QA and DevOps engineers.

How to build a CMS in 8 steps

This is the fullest development roadmap, though we see in our CMS development projects that some steps may be skipped.

  1. Create a CMS concept.
  2. Plan the CMS development.
  3. Design workflows and prototypes.
  4. Kick off the CMS development (platform-based or custom).
  5. Conduct testing and QA of CMS.
  6. Perform CMS data migration.
  7. Conduct user training and launch the CMS.
  8. Provide after-launch CMS support.

ScienceSoft offers cost-effective implementation of custom and platform-based content management solutions that help organizations streamline the creation, publishing, and updating of diverse corporate content.

How to Make a CMS

CMS development projects differ based on the project scope and the solution specifics, but the key steps to build a content management system are universal. Relying on 12-year experience in CMS development, ScienceSoft lists them in the plan below.


Create a CMS concept

Duration: 1 week
  • Analyze your organization’s information architecture, content management processes, and content types used.
  • Define the content management needs and CMS goals (e.g., simultaneous content management across dozens of websites, faster content development and publishing, more efficient storage and management of large files, compliance with region- or industry-specific regulations like GDPR or HIPAA).
  • Outline the solution’s scope (e.g., customizable content templates, AI-based content personalization, built-in SEO tools, multilanguage support).
  • Specify the future CMS users and their roles (e.g., content authors, content editors).

Deliverables: a CMS vision and a project scope.




Plan the CMS development

Duration: 2-3 weeks
  • Decide on a content governance strategy, including content life cycle workflows, file naming conventions, metadata management, frequency of content updates, user roles and permissions, content retention/deletion, regulatory compliance.
  • Define the core CMS features depending on your content management needs. E.g., if you need a CMS to manage websites used for selling products online, it will need built-in ecommerce functionality (e.g., product description pages, product recommendations, promotional banners, shipping and payment information). Alternatively, a CMS can be integrated with your existing ecommerce solution.
  • Define the target KPIs for a CMS solution (e.g., +50% traffic volume on the website, +25% user engagement with the web content, +60% invoice processing speed).
  • Create a CMS requirements specification.
  • Choose a suitable platform (for platform-based CMS implementation) or a tech stack (for custom CMS development).
  • Plan CMS integrations (e.g., with CRM, intranet, ecommerce, marketing automation software).
  • Plan a CMS development project, including the project duration and budget estimation.
  • Draw up a business case, including cost-benefit analysis, NPV and ROI calculation, etc.

Deliverables: a content governance strategy, a CMS feature list, a CMS requirements specification, the list of target KPIs, a CMS development plan.




Design workflows and prototypes

Duration: 3-4 weeks
  • Create an information architecture, i.e., categorize the content to ensure easy content search.
  • Design content management workflows (e.g., content approval, publishing) for each content type.
  • Create personas and user journey maps.
  • Create CMS prototypes.
  • Conduct usability testing of the prototypes.

Deliverables: the content architecture, workflows, CMS prototypes.

To enable facilitated content search and collaboration on content, we reflect the organizational structure in a CMS solution. For example, we create separate spaces for department- and team-based content management in CMS.

ScienceSoft’s Senior Business Analyst


Kick off the CMS development (platform-based or custom)

Duration: 2-6 months (depending on the project scope)

Carry out your CMS development project in line with the chosen implementation approach:

  • Build a platform-based content management system. This option is recommended if the default set of CMS features (e.g., multi-type content support, a WYSIWYG editor, content approval workflows) can fully meet your content management needs.
  • Develop a CMS from scratch. This option is recommended if you need a flexible and scalable CMS tailored to your specific content management needs (e.g., built-in SEO tools, AI-based content personalization, multisite and multilanguage support, custom branding, integrations with legacy software).

Deliverables: a CMS solution.

To reduce CMS development risks, time, and costs, we suggest applying an iterative approach to development and introducing CI/CD pipelines. Thus, a new CMS iteration is delivered every 2–3 weeks. The approach actively engages stakeholders early on to guarantee better user satisfaction and control over the delivery results.

ScienceSoft’s Head of PMO


Conduct testing and QA of CMS

Duration: 30% of development time
  • Create a CMS test plan, test scenarios and test cases.
  • Conduct the required types of CMS testing (e.g., functional, integration, performance, usability testing).
  • Fix the defects detected during the testing (e.g., slow page loading, errors in the content workflows).

Deliverables: a CMS test plan, test cases, reports.

Conducting QA in parallel with CMS development helps us reduce the implementation time and ensure that no serious bugs will slip into production.

ScienceSoft’s Head of PMO


Perform CMS data migration

Duration: 5-25 days
  • Create a thorough data migration plan.
  • Define the content eligible for migration to the new CMS.
  • Check the legacy content for errors and duplication, outdated or inconsistent data.
  • Conduct content migration.
  • Test the transferred data and content for consistency, accuracy, completeness, etc.

Deliverables: a CMS data migration plan.




Conduct user training and launch the CMS

Duration: 1-2 months (training)
  • Create documentation on the CMS use (including a style guide that describes the content formatting rules) and hand it over to the CMS users.
  • Conduct training sessions for CMS users on content creation, approval, publishing, and updating.
  • Perform user acceptance testing.
  • Collect user feedback and implement relevant CMS improvements (e.g., in navigation, workflows).
  • Launch the CMS to the production environment.

Deliverables: CMS user guides.




Provide after-launch CMS support

  • Resolve user issues and fix the newfound defects in the CMS, if any.
  • As time goes on and your organization grows, adjust the solution to the changing business needs (e.g., create custom CMS add-ins or plugins).
  • Monitor and improve CMS compliance with the region- and industry-specific standards and regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA).

Deliverables: defects reports, performance reports, compliance reports.



Choose Your CMS Service Option

ScienceSoft leverages 34-year experience in software development to create feature-rich and cost-effective CMS solutions.

CMS consulting

After an in-depth analysis of your case, we deliver an optimal CMS feature list and a detailed CMS project plan. Also, we provide expert advice on choosing a fitting platform or a tech stack for successful CMS implementation.

Go for CMS Consulting

CMS development

Experienced in both platform-based and custom CMS development, we can build a robust solution for you. You will get CMS design, development, integration, QA, user training, support, and evolution services — everything you need from one vendor.

Go for CMS Development

CMS Development: Success Stories by ScienceSoft

What Our Customers Say

ScienceSoft's team of five Java developers and one test engineer have been working hard to ensure our product – Enonic XP – exceeds our customer's expectations. ScienceSoft's experience in agile development ensured smooth project implementation and iterative development of Enonic XP. As a result, Enonic XP has evolved into an easy-to-use and scalable platform, which is crucial for our success.

Now that we’ve been working with ScienceSoft for 4 months, we can say that we are no doubt happy with our choice of development partners. The quality they deliver is consistently high. Given that the whole project team is international, we have no communication problems, and the reports are on time. What we appreciate is their ability to work independently, with no need for our careful guidance.

Sultan Masad

Group IT Manager

Star Star Star Star Star

We partnered ScienceSoft for building a SharePoint document management system to streamline document storing, search, approval, and archiving. [...] To facilitate document search and search filtering, the team implemented document tagging. Also, the team created an approval workflow for policies and procedures. 

Why Choose ScienceSoft to Create a Content Management System

  • 34 years in custom software development.
  • 12 years in CMS development.
  • 130+ testimonials from our valued clients.

  • Business analysts with 5-9 years of experience in CMS.
  • Expertise in 30 industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, banking, retail.
  • Microsoft partner since 2008.
  • AWS Select Tier partnership.

Typical Roles on Our CMS Building Team 

ScienceSoft's CMS development team usually includes:

Project manager

  • Defining the scope, budget, timeframes, milestones, and target KPIs of a CMS development project.
  • Managing resources for the project.
  • Facilitating and coordinating communication between all team members.
  • Supervising the project activities.
  • Tracking the project milestones and deliverables.

Business analyst

  • Investigating the content management needs, goals, and target users.
  • Suggesting the most relevant CMS features.
  • Mapping CMS features to technical requirements.
  • Organizing, specifying and documenting CMS requirements, including the description of CMS modules, information architecture, user roles, integrations, etc.

UX/UI designer

  • Performing UX research.
  • Creating user journey maps and designing user interactions with a CMS.
  • Building CMS prototypes.
  • Conducting CMS usability testing.

Back-end developer

  • Choosing a suitable platform or a tech stack for a CMS.
  • Developing and deploying a CMS solution.
  • Integrating the solution with a CRM, intranet, or other tools.
  • Developing custom CMS add-ins or plugins for a platform-based CMS.

Front-end developer

  • Developing the UI components of a CMS.
  • Optimizing the CMS front-end performance to improve user experience.

Test engineer

  • Designing a test plan for a CMS solution.
  • Selecting appropriate testing tools.
  • Designing, executing, and maintaining test cases to ensure CMS operability and consistency with the requirements specification.
  • Reporting the defects to developers and validating the fixes.

DevOps engineer

  • Automating the CMS development process by introducing a CI/CD pipeline.
  • Monitoring CMS availability, performance, and security.

Sourcing Models for CMS Development

Benefits of Building CMS with ScienceSoft

Guaranteed CMS quality

Due to our quality-centered approach: regular code reviews, integrated APM (application performance management), systematic QA with optimal test coverage, including unit testing, automated API and UI testing.

Cost-efficient CMS development

To reduce CMS development costs, we use proven ready-made and open-source components instead of developing custom tools or using third-party costly tools. Also, we ensure the optimal use of cloud services.

Lower risks

To minimize implementation risks, we offer all-around consultancy at each stage of CMS implementation, from architecture and UX/UI design to the solution’s launch, and follow the iterative development approach.

Technologies We Use When Building CMS

CMS Building Costs

CMS implementation costs depend on multiple factors such as:

  • The complexity of CMS features (e.g., AI-based content personalization, SEO tools, multilanguage support).

  • CMS coverage (i.e., support of one website or dozens of multi-page websites).
  • The diversity of the content types and the overall volume of content.
  • The number and complexity of reports and dashboards on CMS usage (e.g., number of pages published, content downloads/uploads, executed workflows), content management workflows, and integrations (e.g., with CRM, intranet, ecommerce, marketing automation software).
  • The chosen sourcing model (in-house vs. outsourced), the team composition and the team members’ seniority level.

Sample CMS implementation costs

From ScienceSoft’s experience, developing a content management system may cost around $20,000–$400,000, depending on software complexity.

$20,000 - $50,000

For a basic CMS solution with content authoring tools, customizable templates, alerts and notifications (e.g., about content publishing, modification), reporting and analytics (e.g., content usage, user behavior).

$70,000 - $100,000

For an advanced CMS with multiple custom features (e.g., non-linear multistep workflows for content approval) and third-party integrations (e.g., with ERP, CRM, PIM, ecommerce software, marketing automation software).

$150,000 - $400,000

For a complex enterprise CMS with custom features like AI-driven content personalization, multisite and multilanguage support, access to content management functionality on mobile devices, and more.

About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We advise on and build custom and platform-based CMS solutions with a rich feature set to ensure prompt and cost-effective web content management. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we guarantee high-quality IT services and the security of our customers’ data. If you are interested in a CMS implementation, consider our CMS development offer.