In order to improve the experience of handling the information stored on your website, you need a Content Management System (CMS) that fits your business needs and automates the process to optimal levels of efficiency.
Choosing a CMS for your website is one of the most important decisions your company will make in terms of web design and development, not only because each one requires specific experience and mastery of detailed skills but also due to the very complex and time-consuming web development effort necessary to change it once you’ve had it implemented for an extended period.
The exponential growth evidenced year after year in the digital landscape signals that 2020 will be a crucial year for websites to employ successful content administration in order to stand out and make the user experience (UX) smoother, intuitive, and useful for visitors.
These are the things to take into account when choosing the CMS that will power your website this year:
- Category of Content Management System
- Needs of Your Team
- Which Content Management System?
- Available Support
Reviewing CMS Categories
Content management systems are usually divided into two distinct categories:
This means the CMS is installed on your own servers and your team has absolute control over every single aspect, from security to encryption to the entire display architecture.
This is a more efficient but complex and costly alternative. Even if you choose a CMS that’s open-source and free, your team will still need to tackle every single issue and bear the costs of upkeep. This also means your team needs to be comprised of professionals knowledgeable in the chosen system.
However, by installing the CMS directly on your server, your team will control every detail, which means content will be managed faster and up to any standards set by the company.
Any serious business should consider on-site content management systems in order to ensure the best results for their efforts.
Software-as-a-Service / Cloud-based CMS
By housing your CMS outside your server – whether it be a cloud or software stored by a third-party – your team will lose a lot of decision power and control over many aspects of the entire content management process and infrastructure.
While the level of input surrendered will vary, several key areas of work such as security, encryption and in some cases display options will be supervised outside your company’s locus of control.
This option means reduced costs and softer requirements in terms of experience, but given the lack of flexibility should only be considered by beginners or individuals and not serious businesses.
This is the first decision your company should make in terms of how to proceed. Given the complexity of the issue, it is crucial that management and the decision-makers involve the entire team in the process. After all, the developers are the ones who will be managing the content, the marketers the ones who will use the content to drive traffic, and the sales team the ones who will need to use that content to convert customers.
For large or medium businesses, an on-site CMS is a logical step. However, that still leaves the company with a large number of options that beg proper consideration.
That last point is the main reason to establish a list of priorities and needs from every department.
Needs of the Team
The CMS will have a significant impact on the cross-functional work carried out by the developers, but also the tasks and goals of all customer-facing departments, such as marketing, customer support, and sales.
Now, more than ever, with the increasing number of options available in 2020, choosing the right CMS should come down to in-depth consideration for the needs of all involved teams.
It’s imperative for management to compile a list of things every department considers important for the CMS, then develop a matrix that will establish priority. By organizing the process like this, the decision-makers can actually assess and compare all the alternatives and choose the most effective option.
A simple matrix can help organize ideas, see which points overlap at least partially, and help reach a compromised but efficient decision.
These are a few of the things the different stakeholders may want to weigh in on:
- Is the visitor-facing layout easy to navigate? Are there plenty of themes and visual alternatives available? How much control will the company have over the “look and feel” of the website?
- Are the back-end management and upkeep intuitive? Do current company developers have the experience to optimally use the CMS, or will training or new hires be required?
- What are the costs? What kind of investment is planned in terms of choosing a CMS? Which alternative is the most cost-effective?
- How flexible and scalable is the chosen product?
- Is the CMS open source and backed by a large and healthy community of supports consistently creating features for the product? What kind of plugins and add-ons are available and how much do those align with current company goals and tactics?
- How compatible is the CMS with modern browsing?
- What kind of integration options does the CMS have? Does it work seamlessly with apps and software the company will need to use on the website?
- Are there outside factors to consider, such as potential relationships with a specific company that develops a CMS or even clients that may have a preference? Should these corporate politics be taken into consideration?
Creating the matrix will allow stakeholders to rank their needs and establish quantitative priorities that can be used to choose the best CMS based on a balanced compromise.
Which Content Management System?
Once the company has established a list of priorities in terms of what it actually needs, the decision-makers can proceed to compare them against available options in order to choose the most appropriate one.
As mentioned before, any serious business should lean in favor of on-site management in order to ensure the best possible results.
One of the most important factors mentioned among the typical considerations is whether or not the CMS is.
Open source means the code is openly available to the public at no cost, which in turn leads to a large number of third-party developers creating interesting features that can be integrated into the original product. Even if the company who originally created the CMS goes out of business, the product will continue to be viable due to the network of outside support that can sustain it, which means the product will most likely remain in a state of continuous improvement.
So, which one to choose?
If your company intends to have a strong web presence and present a smooth UX to visitors, there are two main open-source alternatives that need to be considered:
This is. This CMS can easily tag, organize and categorize content, but it requires a greater degree of expertise to properly operate and take full advantage of its ability to create rich and complex pages.
It also comes backed by several features, both inherent and third-party, that can help improve your website in a number of areas, such as:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Auditing capabilities that can help boost website performance
- Multilingual translation support
This is the most popular choice by far,. This open-source CMS is widely considered the most intuitive, efficient, and an easier to install alternative, with a large community of supporters constantly creating third-party integrations that increase the number of features.
No doubt the matrix of needs will come into play when making the final choice, but the decision must be taken carefully and with no rush given its magnitude and impact on the overall operations of the business.
[For a more in-depth comparison between the two, please visit our post Drupal vs Wordpress: Best CMS in 2020]
Finally, remember that regardless of which CMS you choose to power your website in 2020, you’ll need to be constantly vigilant and ready to face any potential issues that may arise.
Be sure to grant your developers the necessary freedom to do their work and continue learning, as they will be your first line of defense should anything go wrong.
Likewise, you can consider employing the services of third-party experts that can provide 24/7 support at a fraction of the cost involved in hiring a full team of developers.
All these options are equally viable, as long as your company has plans in place to address obstacles, issues or even critical mishaps.