Evaluating Content Management Systems
If you want your business and brand to reach as wide of an audience as possible, consider building a website that will serve as the online focal point for your company and any services/products it offers. It’s possible to build a website with the use of a content management system. This is a type of […]
Aug 08, 2022 | 10 min. read
If you want your business and brand to reach as wide of an audience as possible, consider building a website that will serve as the online focal point for your company and any services/products it offers. It’s possible to build a website with the use of a content management system. This is a type of software platform that allows business owners to develop and manage a website as well as all of the content within.
While every CMS platform differs somewhat in the types of features that users can take advantage of, most will offer features like design templates, SEO optimization tools, and extensibility with modules and plugins. Building a responsive website that’s well-designed and meets all of the needs your customers have requires extensive coding for fonts, layouts, images, and text, which is why it’s highly recommended that you opt for using a CMS when developing your website and managing its content.
When you’re searching for the right content management system, the qualities that you should be on the lookout for include an intuitive interface, flexible customization options, the ability to create without having programming knowledge, an emphasis on best web development practices, and full optimization for speed and performance. This isn’t a list of the best CMS providers but rather how to find the best one for your business.
What is a CMS?
As touched upon previously, a content management system is a popular software platform that provides business owners with the ability to build and manage a website without needing to start development from scratch. Most of these systems offer templates that make it simple to add images, videos, and text without needing to know extensive coding. When using a CMS, the website you build will be automatically optimized for search engines and lead generation.
Even though there are many CMS platforms on the market, keep in mind that there isn’t one option that’s perfect for every website. There are many reputable CMS platforms that you can select from, each of which has its own distinct features. Some of the top platforms at your disposal include WordPress, Webflow, Wix, Magento, and Sitecore.
When you use a CMS to manage the content on your website, it’s important to create the right content, which includes everything from newsletters to blogs. Providing regular content helps you keep site users engaged while also appealing to new visitors who enter your site for the first time.
Why You Should Have a CMS
There are many reasons why any business that wants a strong online presence should have a CMS. Because of how much work is necessary to create and manage a website without a CMS, selecting one of these systems for your website will allow you to save a considerable amount of time and money.
Because of the many tools a CMS delivers to users, the right platform can help your business grow and rank online. The search engine optimization and performance optimization that CMS platforms automatically implement should make it easier for your web pages to reach the top of relevant search results.
Today, the majority of businesses with online presences use CMS software to manage their websites and make sure that content is delivered in a timely manner. In fact, CMS platforms have become integral for all types of businesses, which include smaller business that are just starting out and multi-million dollar corporations.
By getting rid of the need to code every component of the website from scratch, building and managing the website becomes considerably easier while also allowing the site itself to perform better. With a CMS in place, content changes and additions can be made in minutes.
A Benchmark for Evaluating a Web Content Management System
When you start searching for the right content management to pair with your website, there are numerous features that you should be on the lookout for. While practically all content management systems allow businesses to post digital content on their websites without needing to perform extensive coding, finding the best fit for your business and brand may require more research. The following serves as a benchmark you should consider using to evaluate CMS platforms.
1. Intuitiveness: Easy to Understand and Use
Any CMS you choose should consist of a graphical user interface that’s aesthetically appealing, doesn’t contain complex options, and provides simplicity in every facet of the interface. The best interfaces are ones that are easy to understand and use. The one you end up selecting should make managing and creating content much quicker, which should result in your productivity improving.
If you choose the right CMS platform, all members on your team should be able to collaborate effectively when using the system. The interface features you should be on the lookout for include:
- A drag-and-drop interface
- In-line editing tools
- Generic content blocks
- Automatic spell-checking functionality
- Workflow management
- Design templates
- User roles and permissions
2. Flexibility and Ease of Customization
Not every CMS offers the right amount of flexibility and customization. If you want your website to stand out from the competition, you should make sure that the website has a unique design and layout, which is only possible if your CMS offers extensive customization options.
If a CMS is highly customizable, it should be easy for you to make your new content digestible while also making sure that the content is wholly consistent with your brand. When you’re looking for a content management system that offers customization, try to select one that allows templates to be customized. For instance, Joomla and WordPress are known to accommodate template customization.
3. Extensibility via Plugins and Modules
Among the most important aspects of building a successful website is to optimize the site on a regular basis to account for the unique needs your customers have. This optimization extends to your CMS. The top CMS platforms provide users with the opportunity to add software to the CMS via plugins and modules.
By implementing this software as it’s needed, you can act on important stats and data that tell you how your content is performing. There are many CMS platforms that offer expansive libraries of plugins. The types of features a CMS should have if it provides extensibility include:
- An open API
- A widget editor
- Easy-to-use templates
- Custom fields
4. No Need for Programming Knowledge
When you’re trying to run a successful website that represents your business and brand, you shouldn’t need to hire developers and designers with comprehensive coding knowledge. While these hires can cost a considerable sum of money, it’s also important that you’re able to add content quickly and easily without being tasked with adding code to your website. CMS platforms enhance usability by providing users with the tools they require to add content without coding.
The feature that you should be looking for is WYSIWYG editor, which allows content to be edited without code. If you’re developing a more complex website, you should be able to find a CMS that allows you to add some code and edit files when necessary. Once your website has been placed online, site content will need to be edited on a regular basis whenever services or products change. The CMS platform you use should make it easy to update text, add blog posts, and edit forms.
5. Optimized for Performance and Speed
The best CMS platforms are ones that take website speed and performance into account by automatically optimizing the website and its content. Your website’s performance can be the difference between users having a great experience and users wanting to leave your website for one that doesn’t take a long time to load. Keep in mind that more than 50% of online consumers expect eCommerce websites to load in three seconds or less
Because of how important it is that your website performs well if you want to retain customers, the CMS you choose should cater to website performance by making sure that performance is always great regardless of the number of users on your website at a given time. It’s possible to improve load times by partnering with a reputable CMS.
6. Emphasis on Web Standards and Best Practices
Search engines like Google and Bing prefer websites that are properly optimized with meta descriptions, featured images, and alt tags. These pieces of information and data should be easily accessible to search engines if you want to avoid a low ranking. When a search engine crawls your website, it will look at every element on your site pages to determine if your site runs well, provides relevant content, and is properly optimized.
If you want a high ranking, choose a CMS that implements best practices in regards to search engine optimization. When an application is made with best practices and standards in mind, you’ll likely be provided with a website that’s easy to maintain, offers cross-browser compatibility, and has easy-to-edit code.
Content management systems provide businesses and brands with the tools they require to build their own website and manage site content once it’s placed online. Because of how many CMS platforms are available to you, try to find one or more platforms that offer all of the aforementioned features and services.
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