A content management system (CMS) is a pivotal piece in the creation and management of any B2B or B2C website. Your website is the hub of your online marketing presence. Being able to convert visitors to leads and customers comes down to how easy it is to extend and manage your marketing strategies.
While every company is different, there are a few things every good CMS must have to meet fundamental business and marketing needs. Look for these capabilities when evaluating and choosing a CMS:
1Create and Manage Content Easily
This is the big one. When we build a website using a CMS, it aids our efforts as developers, but even more so, it enables our clients to generate and manage their own content.
Publishing new content on your website can keep it fresh, drive new and recurring traffic, and boost your SEO rankings. Having a content calendar can help you plan and manage what you’ll be posting throughout the year, ensuring a steady rotation of quality and helpful content for your readers.
While there are instances where a special graphic is needed or a landing page requires custom coding, posting web content such as blogs, news articles and upcoming events shouldn't usually require a developer. Having an easy and intuitive interface to manage content is essential. Our clients should not have to work with HTML or any other "behind the scenes" code for content updates. With the right CMS, nothing should stop you from being able to publish content yourself.
Websites change. Just as your business grows and evolves, your website needs to be flexible enough to keep up with your needs.
It is common to regularly create new landing pages for email or pay-per-click campaigns. Each page might be slightly different from the others. A good CMS will give developers the flexibility to make modifications accordingly, without worrying about interfering with other parts of the website and inadvertently affecting your campaign tracking or website analytics.
We understand how much can go into a company's marketing effort; usually it requires several different services to make it all happen smoothly. It is crucial to have as many of these services as possible tie into each other to reduce manual work and errors.
An example is a website with Salesforce integration. Many popular content management systems have plugins that can get your website syncing your contact forms with Salesforce. With this integration, when a form on the website is successfully completed, Salesforce will automatically create a new lead and alert you to follow up. Without this integration, form submissions – and the opportunities behind them – might get lost in email purgatory.
Sometimes businesses need to create a user portal for gated information like vendor/partner resources, private documents, etc. A good content management system will either have:
- The ability to manage users and groups built-in;
- A plugin that can be added to the website; or
- A combination of both, allowing additional functionality on top of what is already there (this is the best option)
Building an entire web app behind a user portal may present some issues, but for basic use cases, a CMS should be more than enough.
Our CMS Recommendations
While we are well-versed in several content management systems, selecting the right tool is the key to any job. When it comes to marketing websites, WordPress and Craft CMS are our top picks. When e-commerce functionality is required, our go-to recommendations are Shopify or WooCommerce (installed on top of WordPress).
We like these particular systems because they have relatively large and active communities surrounding them. Having an active community is essential! Nothing is worse than trying to find help for a product that has been abandoned. It is invaluable to be able to reach out to the community via forums to ask questions and get timely responses. These platforms also provide security and quality of life updates on a regular basis, which is crucial to running a well-oiled website.