A Content Management System (CMS) should help your organization reach your goals faster. Here’s how to choose the best one for your needs.
Choosing the right Content Management System for your business can be overwhelming. The abundance of options and dizzying choice of features can make it difficult to work out which is the best fit for your business.
Ultimately, the decision depends on the goals you’d like to achieve through your content.
A CMS is designed to facilitate the process of creating and managing content, without requiring you to know a programming language. But modern platforms enable you to do much more than that. The right software can help your business with everything from increasing customer engagement and brand awareness, to marketing and sales.
Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a Content Management System for your brand.
One of the most important things to look at when picking a CMS is its functionality. Does it have the features that will help your organization meet its goals?
The first step is to make a list of essential features that you’d have in an ideal CMS software, ranked in order of importance for your goals. For example, some of the most popular features that could enhance functionality include:
- Content and media management: how will it work? Do you have any specialist requirements? Is the process of content and media management intuitive?
- SEO optimization: It’s always useful to have an easy process for search engine optimization. Does the CMS you’re looking at include plugins to make search engine optimization easier?
- WYSIWYG editor: content editing and formatting can become significantly easier and faster with a What-you-see-is-what-you-get editor. This is particularly helpful if you or your team lack HTML skills.
- Marketing automation: a CMS has the potential to make teams significantly more efficient. If this is one of your goals, check whether your new CMS can facilitate marketing automation. This can both make your marketing efforts more effective, but also save you precious time.
- Ecommerce and online payments: if you’re managing an ecommerce site, then it’s crucial for your CMS to provide a fast, secure process for managing transactions between you and your customers – either natively or via a third-party.
- Social integration: social media is important for the promotion of your business. Most CMS vendors enable integrations with social channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube – allowing you to share content from your site directly to your social channels.
Flexibility is also important when choosing a Content Management System. For example, the ability to create custom pages and default templates is a huge benefit when it comes to managing the content on your site. Some other consideration are:
- Design: the design of your site and your pages has to be as flexible as possible. There’s no need to limit your creativity to set themes if you have the ability to tweak them to your own needs.
- Plugin dependency: does your business need many additional plugins to improve your site’s presence? Check if your CMS offers this option. Even if you’re not planning to use plugins right now, do you have the option to do so in the future?
- Personalization: to what extent will your new CMS allow you to personalize the site’s content, look and feel? Can you tweak the design, the theme, the plugins as much as you want?
Ease of use
This is usually one of the most important things a business asks when looking for a CMS. The ease of use can help a business save time and resources, particularly when onboarding new staff.
Make sure you check whether the CMS you’re choosing requires any special skills or training. A demo can be helpful in this case to help you decide which one is best suited for the needs and skills of your team.
If switching from an existing CMS, consider how similar the new one is to the old, and how easy the transfer will be. Software vendors sometimes offer technical help for businesses looking to switch – a service certainly worth enquiring about.
Security and support
It’s very important to check the security of your new CMS.
What is the encryption and how effective is it in protecting against vulnerabilities? How does it compare to competitors? Does it require any maintenance on your end, such as manual checking or updating of software?
Another useful thing to check is the support the vendor provides. If you feel that you could benefit from training, is it offered from the vendor? How responsive is the customer service? Is there a contingency plan if there’s an emergency?
The cost of a new CMS cannot be overlooked. The first thing to check is the initial cost, but it’s also important to be aware of any additional costs – for features, maintenance, out-of-hours customer service – and whether the total cost is justified by the return on investment.
Ultimately, you must consider whether your new CMS will help you reach your goals.
It’s clear that here are many things to consider when looking for a CMS platform, but the order in which these are prioritized is entirely dependent on your business goals.
After you set your goals and what you’d like to achieve with a Content Management System, the next step is to create a shortlist of vendors and start requesting demos. Hands-on experience of a new CMS is the best way to help you decide which one will deliver your goals most effectively.
A CMS is probably the most central piece of your marketing stack, so don’t be afraid to take your time and do a lot of research before investing.