A content management system, or CMS, is a software solution that helps you build and maintain a dynamic website. It enables your business to change and publish content easily and maintain an up-to-date online storefront.
Most systems provide user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates to help you get your website started. They typically include an analytics package so you can monitor your website’s performance.
A CMS is a long-term investment requiring careful research to find the right solution for your business.
Here are some tips to help you choose the best content management system for your business.
Form a Purchasing Team:
Who are stakeholders in your purchase and use of a CMS? Your answer should include some thought about future company growth and the potential for expanding your business. Commonly, you will need to include someone from each of three departments.
•Marketing, which is responsible for the overall design of your website, publication of content, and result tracking. Your marketing team will be the primary user of the CMS.
•Sales needs to integrate its CRM into the CMS to maintain a seamless process between itself and marketing.
•IT is responsible for technical support for the technology, including integrating it into your other systems during deployment.
Task your purchasing team with providing a list of requirements. As you discuss requirements, include a dialog about the skill sets your employees possess. They need to be able to use the system on a daily basis without problems or delays.
Prioritize the Requirements:
Each of your stakeholders will have their own ideas about the system’s capabilities. Once they have given you their list, sit down with them to prioritize each requirement.
• Critical: essential features your system must have
• Important: features that your system must have but can wait if you will be implementing in phases
• Desired: features that would be nice to have but are not required for your business to function
• Non-essential: bells and whistles that provide little functionality or are not appropriate now
Do not rush these decisions. A medium-sized business may take two to seven months to determine requirements, research solutions, and select a system. Take your time now to avoid wasted time, effort, and money later.
Finally, as you research solutions take into account the following elements that any good CMS should provide.
•Ease of implementation
•Ease of use
Your CMS must begin delivering value as soon as possible and continue to do so into the foreseeable future.
What Features Are Essential to Your Business?
Forming a purchasing team and prioritizing requirements are two general tasks you need to complete before going shopping for your new system. Now let’s get into the details of the type of feature requirements.
Marketing will need feature-rich editorial tools to publish all types of content, including text, images, audio, and video.
•The CMS should provide easy ways to embed videos and insert images, as well as create and change textual content. If you have a company blog, make sure the blogging tool supports your publication, display, and analytical needs.
•Make sure your CMS is built for responsive web design so your website will appear appropriately on any device including mobile phones and tablets. It should also integrate easily into your other sales and marketing systems.
Your IT department will expect the system to provide robust security. Having your site hacked can be a slight inconvenience or it could damage your brand. You need the ability to scale with business growth; you don’t want to experience a sudden jump in business and have your site crash due to heavy traffic.
Do you want the solution to be on-premise or cloud-based?
On-premise deployment means installing the solution on your in-house equipment.
•Pro – You have more control over the system. You have the freedom to customize it so fit your exact needs. It is as secure as all your IT equipment.
•Con – You will pay for the solution upfront. Deployment can take time. You are responsible for installation, maintenance, and updates. Scalability may be limited. All work is performed on-site.
A Cloud-based solution lives on the vendor’s server and you access it via a web browser.
•Pro – Fast deployment. No installation or maintenance. The vendor takes care of regular updates. Security is a priority and most cloud-based systems scale easily. You pay monthly for service without a large initial outlay. It is easy for your team to work from anywhere.
•Con – You have fewer customization options and are dependent on the vendor for all your technical support.
If you are a small business with no IT infrastructure, a cloud-based solution may be the best choice. For large companies with existing IT infrastructure and staff, an on-premise solution can offer more customization.
You must have a website for your business. In today’s content-heavy marketing environment, it is critical for you to be able to add and update content quickly and easily. A content management system provides the capability for fast, simple publication with a variety of content.
Before shopping for a CMS, compile a list of requirements from important stakeholders within your company, prioritize them, and search for a CMS with those capabilities. Determine which deployment method works best for you.
Now you are ready to look for a CMS that matches your needs.
About the Author: Nicole Letendre is the marketing coordinator for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, social media and keeping up with the latest marketing trends