A good website Content Management System (CMS) is a must for every modern business and it is important to make your choice of Content Management System carefully, based on the factors discussed below.
It would be fair to split web development into two eras – the pre-CMS and the post-CMS era. Pre-CMS websites were impossible to update for non web developers. CMSs have empowered businesses and those that own a website. You are no longer required to have a website professional on your payroll or even to get a web design agency to make minor and regular changes to your website.
Some larger changes to your website may still need to be carried out by a web design company but those are the larger and more infrequent changes that a website may need and not the everyday changes that a website owners's CMS is aimed at. You need to be choosy about the CMS your website is built on though as there are good and bad CMSs. So, what will a good CMS do for your business? Let’s find out.
Simple Learning Curve – The very idea of using a Content Management System is ruled out if it has a steep learning curve. A good Content Management System won’t make you burn the midnight oil to master it, just to get a few simple web pages edits completed. CMSs offer you a code-free web development and web management environment where you are able to add pages at ease and make changes to your existing content without having to worry about the underlying website code. Here your menu bar, navigation panel and breadcrumbs automatically adjust when new pages, menus or categories are added. This should all be part of a logical, easy to learn system – and before website handover is complete make sure your web design company organises CMS training for you and your colleagues.
Ease of Access – In a typical corporate environment your website would have to be managed by different teams and individuals to ensure it contains all the various pieces of updated information. This requires access privileges for people across different departments in the organisation. With a good CMS you would be able to organise access for different employees based on what website sections they should have access to. Robust access control systems allow you to customise the level of access for each individual and new employees can easily be added to the website CMS with the appropriate access privileges. A good website CMS access system prevents any staff member from editing material that they don't have permission to edit and this prevents website content accidents from happening.
Ease of Website Management – The ease of website management is inversely proportional to the number of web pages the site contains. The more web pages you have, the trickier it gets to manage all your website content and keep each page up to date and engaging. When you are constantly uploading product and service information on your website, its size will grow exponentially. This is where a good CMS would come to the rescue and allow you to organise and manage large numbers of web pages with ease. It doesn’t matter whether you have 10 pages or 1000+ pages, you would be able to manage your website content seamlessly - the website system would do the work for you. A good CMS will accomplish this with 'folders' and 'containers' to divide up your website content and the CMS itself will have visual/layout GUI (Graphical User Interface) features that enable you to just focus on the website section that you want to inspect and work on right now. If you are planning a new website build or a redesign, make sure you get a full demo of the CMS first so that you can see that it is going to make content editing easy for you and your staff.
Security – This is one of your biggest concerns when you are managing and operating a website. Hackers and other cyber criminals are constantly hunting the Internet to exploit the vulnerabilities in websites. When the security of your site is compromised it hurts your brand value by taking down your website, making your website slow to use, using your website to host unsavory content or using your website server to attack other websites. There are many CMSs that aren’t secure and would require very technical knowledge on an ongoing basis to upgrade the security and you should avoid them at all costs.
Good CMS platforms facilitate the installation of security patches and updates to prevent unauthorised access. These good CMSs constantly upgrade their security features and modules taking into account the latest threats. Security is best left to the web developers who know how to manage it so get talking to your web designers and see if they have the expertise and capacity to support your website and it's security now and in the years to come.
Built in SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is a vital cog in the wheel to creating a business focused web presence. You should be able to reach your target audience and garner maximum visibility for your website. For this to happen your site should top the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user searches for certain keywords or key phrases that are important in your industry and sector. While some CMSs let you use SEO add-ons these only increase the security vulnerability of your site as they are very often pieces of software that are not supported and are written by private individuals and not security experts. Leading CMS platforms come with secure and built-in SEO features that allow you to optimise individual web pages by customising the URLs, using the right keywords in TITLE tags and adding Meta descriptions to attract search engine bots like Google and Bing.
Adding Additional Website Material – Good CMSs will enable you to easily upload your Photos, Videos, Word Documents, PDFs and Spreadsheets that complement your regular web page content and make each page more interesting for your website visitors. The CMS would offer you a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website page editor that helps you publish and edit all regular web page content in the same way as you would in a Microsoft Word text editor or some other text editing program.
Parking Web Pages – “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and web development relies on incremental changes to meet the evolving needs of business. There are times when you could be working on a web page in the CMS and don’t want it to go live until you have given it the final touches. This feature is known as ‘web page parking’ and a good CMS would allow you to park a web page and access it on the CMS for editing until you are ready to publish it, but not have it live on the website until you're ready to do so.
The above aren’t just mere features or benefits of a CMS but actually go a long way in helping you to create a powerful and successful web presence and edge past your rivals. Having a good CMS means you can really manage your website and all this work can be doing without you having to spend unnecessary time away from your clients and business. The internet is one of the most competitive marketing platforms for your business and your choice of CMS will decide the fate of your website and how much of your valuable time will be spent working on it – minutes or hours. If you have any CMS questions, feel free to contact us - The CMS Experts.