An Effective Content Management System CMS
Content Management System (CMS – as I will refer to it the rest of this article). There are many options for a CMS that matches the need of your business, but this is one decision you want to take considerable time with. The affects of a business’ choice will be affected until there is a change. To avoid any unnecessary consequences consider the following.
First write out a list of goals, some may include:
1. How many pages will I have?
2. How many people will have access to the CMS?
3. Do different people need to have different access levels
a. If yes are there different administrative levels?
4. If yes how detailed is the access?
5. Will I ever build e-commerce into the CMS?
6. How many markets do I want to reach?
7. Do I want people to interact with the CMS?
8. Do I have specific tools that need to connect to the CMS, like a CRM?
9. What devices need to access the CMS?
10. How detailed are the pages that I need, do I want custom forms?
11. Do I have specific products that I need a specific database built for?
12. Do you want private company pages?
I will try to come back and make this more complete, but this is a great list to start with. Based on answering these questions we can actually move forward in determining an appropriate CMS. For most small business’ with a website of 15 pages or less a blog system will probably work like WordPress, Posterous, or Tumblr. At Cirv we use Posterous and feel for our size it cuts time down considerably. We do need other tools but it fits into our tool set nice.
There are a couple of ways to have your CMS hosted, one is through the company running the CMS. The other is to buy a full license of the CMS and host it yourself. Both have there advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the advantages of buying one that includes hosting is:
1. Updates are seamless and happen as you log in
2. In most cases there are always running with no down time
3. They take care of back-ups.
1. Pricing can change
2. They can change any features they want.
3. They can go out of business and lose your data, (usually companies give notice to get you data down, but it has happened.)
4. Anything you customize or third party plugins can all of sudden quit working.
Advantage of hosting your own:
1. You can customize it around your company.
2. You own the license and don’t have to worry about any data being compromised.
3. You know you always have access to your data.
4. You can plan your upgrades. Set up a test environment and make sure everything is functional.
1. Upgrades are a big hassle.
2. More fees for upgrades.
3. Usually takes outside knowledge, unless you have a competent in-house personnel
Things I would recommend looking for out of a CMS is unlimited users with ability to add / edit pages and have user access controlled. Easily add web pages with a custom built interface.
If you are looking for a solution that handles stories that are updated frequently i.e. You are covering a conference or product launch that is being updated live, you would want to make sure your CMS can handle that.
The big idea I want to convey here (listen carefully, because it would probably more painful later) the next big website update you make in your business. Most likely you would want to have some sort of CMS connection to it.
Example: If you sale multiple choch-keys of anything. Most likely you are maintaining information on the various products. An affective CMS would allow anyone with basic computer knowledge in your company to update your website.
Example 2: If you have key information that you don’t want to give away for free. It would be very helpful if you could display qualifying information to your consumers. Then withhold key information to your potential buyers while still drawing them in. This would be another important question to ask. (Show the firs paragraph and have your audience login (or buy) to get the rest of the info.
This article is only a brain starter on a bigger conversation for any company that is looking to draw thousands of users a day. But for any smaller company who just wants to update their website no more than a couple of times a week. I gave three great options above. For any bigger companies I am more than willing to sit down and help come up with a viable solution that would fit all your needs and make sure all questions are covered.
With my Web development background and knowing what Cirv has done for other companies and affective content approach is a necessity. It will not only help you engage your current audience, but is a necessity on gaining new audiences.
A Better Website,