A CMS, also known as a content management system, is software that allows you to develop and manage your content through various marketing channels. While most content management systems focus primarily on managing your website's content, some marketers also offer the ability to manage content across multiple channels such as web apps, social media, and more. A CMS enables multiple users in your company to collaborate on marketing efforts without the need for extensive technical or coding knowledge.
How does a CMS work?
A CMS helps create content in an easy-to-use application by allowing users to create, manage, and publish content with just a few clicks of the mouse. Rather than building a website or landing page from scratch, a CMS eliminates the need for extensive development and simplifies content creation through drag and drop or WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get). This allows marketers to control more of the website, streamline workflows, and bring both the business and technical teams together to work together in real time.
Evaluate which CMS to use
First, identify the issues your team is currently facing and whether you would like to benefit more from a SaaS or a hosted CMS solution. Make sure you fully understand your website and content management needs, as well as the basic functionality you need from a CMS, before you begin the evaluation. We recommend making a list of features that you need and that you need to make your evaluation easier.
Most CMS platforms let you create web pages, save your favorite page templates, save and serve content, collaborate with team members, and even create workflows, calendars and processes to help organize your team.
When evaluating the price of a CMS solution, you need to consider more than just the upfront cost of the product. Not all CMS solutions come right out of the box with everything you're looking for. Some require additional features or integrations and may add additional costs to large support requests or SLAs, WYSIWYG editors, and more. Consider all business needs and make sure you are aware of the CMS limitations and other costs that may be incurred.
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Think about what kind of maintenance and day-to-day administration is required. After completing the initial migration and setup, what is the site creation and maintenance like? Do you need a developer to help you with your daily tasks? How does this solution work with your team's skills? Does the solution offer WYSIWIG or drag-and-drop editors for your non-technical (non-developer) team members? Take a look at what type of support is included or available, and consider which one is best for your business. Do they offer 24/7 support or is an SLA required?
Make sure to check that this CMS integrates easily with your current tech stack. If the out-of-the-box solution cannot meet some of your needs, how much customization is required or available and what can be incorporated? This is where you should consider all of the features (the required and nice features listed earlier) and figure out what requires additional integration or may add additional costs.
You should also make sure that the CMS software is scalable. Find a solution that fits your current needs but always keep your future goals and direction of your site and business in mind, and find CMS software that can grow and adapt with you. What features do you need to help your business grow?
CMS software features for SEO and digital marketing
With a good CMS, not only can you create great web content with ease, but you can also manage your website's SEO. Basic SEO features include page titles, meta descriptions, and alternate image text. Think about how much control your team would like to have over other technical SEO functions such as updating sitemaps, robots.txt, adding schemes, canonicals or setting redirects. Being able to make these changes quickly without waiting for development can be critical to SEO success.
Page speed and mobile device responsiveness are important factors that you should also keep an eye on. While your website looks great, it will not be good for users and may not get high rankings in search engines if the website loads slowly or is not cell-friendly. A faster website not only helps your search rankings, it also increases user engagement and conversions, as well as your website's bounce rate. If the CMS you are considering has CDN capabilities, make sure it is lightning fast and has proven page speed performance.
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Other features to consider include marketing / social media integration, site chat to support inbound sales, e-commerce features, A / B testing, dynamic content for personalization, blogging features, SMS features, CRM and Sales functions or email marketing. Will your team benefit from features like content calendars or structured workflows?
As you review solutions, think about what is most useful and relevant to your business. Does this solution meet all / most of your needs, or do you need to add products and features or integrate with other technologies?
Each website has different requirements - some may require event registration while other websites may require ecommerce capabilities or website chat for inbound sales. Most platforms allow users to sign up for free trials or sandboxed versions of the CMS software to gain hands-on experience and determine if a CMS is right for them.