When you’re building a website of any kind, it’s likely that you’ll want to do so without needing to use a substantial amount of code. Building a website is made easy with a content management system, which gives you the tools needed to create your website without having an in-depth knowledge of code. These systems are designed to streamline many of the processes that would typically take hours or days to complete on your own. The right system will provide you with all the tools that you require to create and manage your website.

When you’re searching for the ideal content management system, it’s important to understand that there are many options to select from, some of which have a better reputation than others. If you don’t have much knowledge of coding, you may want to search for the CMS that includes the largest feature-set. Every business should use this type of system if they want to build a functional and aesthetically appealing website without needing to spend significant resources to do so.

While some content management systems are entirely free to use, others will charge some kind of monthly fee. In most situations, you’ll want to spend at least some money to get the most out of your CMS of choice. Even if you are required to pay a monthly fee for a content management system, using a CMS to create your website is definitely worth the money. By building a website with a CMS, you can avoid the time-sink that’s required to learn HTML, CSS, or JavaScript coding. This article takes a closer look at content management systems and why businesses love to use them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Content management systems give businesses the tools to create a website without prior knowledge of code.
  • Our article discusses the seven most important features of a CMS which include core functionality, user management and editing, ecommerce and marketing features, design and mobility flexibility, plugins and third-party integrations, maintenance and security, lastly support.

1. Core Functionality

When you’re searching for the best content management system to use for the creation of your website, there are a number of important features that you should be on the lookout for. Likely the most important aspect of a CMS is the core functionality of the system. This functionality involves the ability to add, create, or delete content through the CMS. If this functionality is lacking or obtuse in some way, you should likely opt for a more user-friendly and feature-complete CMS.

The core functionality of a content management system should also align well with your business goals. For instance, if your company expects to scale significantly in the near future, it’s important that you choose a CMS that’s equipped to scale at the rate that your business will require. Even if you’re not interested in a core aspect of a CMS now, it’s better to think in terms of what your business will need in the future.

Keep in mind that different content management systems are ideal for different types of websites. For instance, CMS platforms like Magento are designed with eCommerce websites in mind, which means that all of the features and functionality that they provide are geared towards businesses that need online storefronts. Knowing your business goals should make it easier for you to determine which CMS offers the core functionality that matches your business needs.

2. User Management and Editing

User management and editing are both very important parts of any CMS. If you or any other users of the CMS aren’t very familiar with HTML, you might find it difficult to create your website from scratch. To that end, it’s important to use a CMS that offers expansive editing features. The content editor should be easy-to-use without allowing the user to readily change the visual style or basic functionality of the website. When the CMS is outfitted with a strong content editor, you can likely create and manage your website without needing to know how to code.

As for user management, it’s likely that more than one person will be using the CMS to manage the website and the content within. It’s important that your content management system of choice is equipped to handle multiple users with different roles. For instance, you don’t want your IT support to have full access to the CMS features that your content writers will use. User management should be straight forward, which means that it should be simple to assign roles and permissions for every user of the CMS.

3. Ecommerce and Marketing Features

While it’s possible to find and use CMS platforms that simply allow you to manage your content, the best platforms will include extensive eCommerce and marketing features that can help you create a modern website with all of the features and functionality that the user expects. For instance, a CMS can make it easy to build and integrate landing pages into your website. These pages are necessary for providing users with a place to go when they visit your website by clicking an ad or a link in a blog article. The CMS that you choose could also give you features that allow you to enhance the shopping-cart experience on your website.

Make sure that you select a CMS that provides an ample amount of marketing features. A simple marketing feature allows website owners to add social media icons to their website. Advanced marketing features allow you to implement your digital marketing planning, inbound techniques, and content calendar on the platform. If you or the marketers in your company don’t know how to effectively use coding, using a CMS that includes substantial marketing features should make it easier for your marketers to perform digital marketing techniques without assistance. These techniques include everything from video content marketing to organic social media marketing.

4. Design Flexibility and Mobile Use

If you want to create a website that’s unique and matches your brand image, it’s important that you choose a CMS that offers design flexibility to its users. In the event that you want to use a template-based design for your website, added flexibility likely won’t be necessary. On the other hand, making design changes to the website and adding your own branding will require extra flexibility. Some of the flexibility features that you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Design freedom
  • Content architecture
  • Editing and managing content
  • Managing pages
  • Editing templates

If you have an in-house designer, they might need enhanced design features to create the website that you require. It’s also essential that the CMS is built to accommodate mobile users. Your website should provide users with a fantastic experience across all devices, which is why responsive functionality should be provided within the CMS.

5. Plugins and Third-party Integrations

The most popular CMS platforms don’t provide all features and functionality on their own. To get the best of everything, you’ll want to use a content management system that allows plugins and third-party integrations. Third-party integrations and plugins will allow you to enhance your website in ways that the CMS likely wouldn’t be able to offer. For instance, some plugins focus on email marketing.

You can also find plugins that aim to improve load speeds for websites. Platforms like WordPress provide users with access to thousands of plugins that help to improve the overall quality of the website. With a large number of plugins and third-party integrations to select from, it should be easier for your business to set itself apart from the rest.

6. Maintenance and Security

Maintenance and security are two additional aspects of a CMS that should be very important during the decision-making process. When it comes to maintenance, the best way to obtain profits for your company is to keep maintenance costs down. The ideal content management system will be streamlined to the point where ongoing maintenance isn’t required, which should lessen operating costs. Simple CMS platforms require very little maintenance and don’t update as much as larger platforms, which makes them more secure. If your main goal is to reduce your operating expenses, a simple CMS is the way to go.

Security should be a big concern of yours when selecting a CMS. Cybersecurity threats are becoming more rampant and potent with each passing day. These threats can come in the form of malware, hacking attempts, and DDoS attacks. If your website isn’t secure, a breach into your system could cause hackers to gain access to important customer data, which would invariably hurt your reputation and your bottom-line. The CMS system that you choose should offer strong security features that can be managed by every user of the CMS.

7. Support

Another very important aspect of any content management system is the support that they provide. No matter which CMS platform you use, there will invariably be times when your website goes down or technical glitches occur. In these situations, it’s essential that you have someone to contact in order to effectively and efficiently resolve the problem at hand. The best content management systems provide numerous levels of support that include documentation, user manuals, live support staff, video training for CMS users, and certification.

Try to find a CMS that offers 24/7 technical support. You never know when a problem will occur, which is why 24/7 support is necessary. You can gain a better understanding of the level of support that a CMS provides by taking a look at customer reviews. These reviews should detail support features and help you learn more about the reliability of the CMS in question.

Content management systems are essential for any business that wants to create and manage a website without needing to spend the time or money that’s required to code every website component from scratch. Whether you opt to use WordPress or decide to go with Drupal, your main concern when searching for the right CMS is to find one that matches your business goals and will help you grow your brand.

Bryan Miller of Bryt Designs Long Beach Web Design, Development, & SEO
Author
Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. He is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine. Feel free to send Bryan a message here.

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