What is a CMS and why is it important for anyone who wants to build a strong online presence?
A CMS basically means Content Management System. It is an elaborate platform/system that allows website owners and administrators to regularly add, modify or update content. There are also multiple content types that can be added such as posts/articles, videos, images, etc. When it comes to a CMS, some are more technical than others, depending on which you choose. In most cases, digital publishers use CMS’s regularly to update their websites.
How can someone make the wrong decision when it comes to choosing a CMS?
You would think that all the CMS’s do the same thing, stores content and helps us add, edit, update and delete content online with ease. So where could we possibly go wrong? Well, the analogy that all products in the market aren’t the same applies to when choosing the right CMS. As such, just like some products have drawbacks, side effects and are not durable. CMSs can be complicated to set up, require a large budget to hire a developer to complete tasks and the user interface is not so friendly even though they are great.
The right CMS is
- highly secure
- supports different features
- easy to configure
- has an abundance of supporters
- is good with SEO
- and has forums to help in resolving issues.
[you can have issues with a good CMS too, as it is humans who are going to use it and not a computer and we tend to forget the right procedures sometimes which may cause unexpected errors. But, a great CMS always has an open source community who have already been through your situation and in most cases answers are readily available online]
Additionally, plugins and maintenance comes at no cost to little money.
Here are the 3 mistakes that most people who want a CMS for their new website make.
1.) Failing to do Proper Research
As discussed in one of myposts, there are several factors that affect the rankings of a website. Make sure you do proper research about the CMS’s that are around. Read about the CMS on forums and blogs. Take the time to talk to friends and developers and take appropriate notes whenever you can.
Look for a CMS that has been around for a while and has features that facilitate everything else with content management.
Going with a CMS that is used by big brands is also not the right choice. A CMS used by a big brand is possibly very reliable and strong but it can sometimes cause big problems and the big brands can afford the big bucks to solve the big problems on the site. An average company might need something that saves time and money, and can easily be explained to the key people running the business.
2.) Letting the developer choose the CMS
Do not let your developer choose a CMS of his/her choice without you getting involved in the initial decision making. Unless you work with a company and are ready to pay for each and everything from development to site security and content management of the site, it’s best that you choose your own CMS based on what you have researched and understood.
Most of the times the developers are so much into a particular CMS that they think it’s simple to use a CMS. However, for a normal person it may be complicated and difficult when it comes to handling several different areas of the site. This is true, especially when it comes to the technical aspects of the website.
3.) Going with a CMS without thinking about factors that affect the SEO.
Make sure the CMS that you select is Search engine friendly and can easily be extended. Once you have a well established and functional site, Search engine optimization is one of the most of important things you will need to work on. Especially if you want your prospective clients / target audience to come across the amazing content that you have created for them. Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc help you get those visitors for you in which case you will need to optimize your site for Search Engines to be able to find you.
Maybe for the time being you do not provide any online payment facilities, but you never know, perhaps in the future you might need that facility because you may want to extend your services for online purchasing, or make it easy to schedule appointments. Not to mention that being online makes it easy for the clients to pay from the comfort of their homes or mobile devices.You might want to integrate a survey that collects data for you without you even talking to your customers. You just have to set it up once and your site automatically keeps working for you.
There are a millions of possibilities with the right tools.
That’s the reason why choosing the CMS that can be easily extended without major issues is a must. Also, having plugins to facilitate all its core functionalities and having a strong site security is extremely crucial.
Some Examples of a CMS are WordPress and Drupal which can be extended to use E-commerce. Platforms like Shopify and Magento are a great example of more E-commerce focused CMS that is easy to use and offers great functionalities.
Shopify is great for anyone who wants to sell online.
- It's easily affordable
- Easy to set up and thousands of great templates to pick from if you do not want a custom site. A few free and the rest of them are paid but it only costs you a one time minimal fee.
- Shopify comes with great security and marketing tools
- You do not need to worry about hosting your site
- And at last you also get world class customer service.
- It comes with a 14 day free trial.
For drag and drop website builders look at the chart in this link.
My Take on choosing a CMS.
I always recommend WordPress to anyone who is working with a CMS for the following reasons.
- It is easy to use
- Backed by trusted wordpress community
- Even if you do not have any knowledge you can learn a lot from the wordpress codex and the forums.
- It is easy to find developers to fix or update anything on your wordpress site.
- There are several plugins available to carry out innumerable amount of functionalities with wordpress.
- Access to several Themes both free and premium.
- Easily extendable if you decided to sell online or want to receive online payments for the services you are offering.
- Easy to use SEO
- Security plugins are also available with wordpress.
- Easy to Backup and Migrate
- WordPress keeps its core updated, this ensures your site security and it is very easy update to the newest version. Your site can be updated to the latest version without affecting the layout or functionality of the site.
- For building an Ecommerce site wordpress you can use Woocommerce that provides a very robust and flexible solution that can be integrated on the wordpress platform, with other wordpress features.
[Note: I do not recommend a person who is in a totally different business than digital media to jump into the pool of website development, for several reasons. Some of them are; website development is not as simple as it seems, there are several mandatory things to keep in mind for a successful business, such as SEO, a tested UX, trip wire, engaging your clients, site security, site load time, testing bugs etc. So, unless you come from a web design, UX design or app development background, I recommend hiring a professional to work with and familiarize yourself with the important factors that affect a successful online presence rather than wasting several hours and getting negligible to no results. Read more at this link]
To conclude, a CMS must be selected by you to ensure that you have made a decision based on research and the understanding of its functionalities. Ideally, you want to maximize search engine rankings and be able to build a reliable, fast and well designed site. All of these factors make for an overall great online platform for you to communicate to your target audience and prospects. The end result will be a fully functional website that your customers can come visit without issues of site speed or having to leave because the there are too many glitches.