How to Select the Best CMS for Your Hosted Website
Most inbound marketing or web design experts would agree, you are way better off building a hosted website on a web content management system than custom coding. When you’re outsourcing your web hosting, a CMS can ensure your web content has some structure around it, both for importing it into the root of your web hosting system, but also for exporting the site to a new hosting provider if need be.
There are many other advantages to using an open-source or licensed CMS for your website, including:
- Templates and themes for consistent design and navigation
- Functions for tagging and linking your web pages or SEO value
- Galleries for sorting and managing images and videos
- Plugins for social sharing, analytics engines and content delivery networks
- Ease of upgrading your site for compliance with security and accessibility standards
If you are a web designer or digital agency, you likely have a handful of CMS applications which you rely on, and either you choose to use a platform you clients can use to update their website on, or which enables your firm to maintain sites on a retainer basis. Either way, as an agency, you are doing your clients a favor by choosing a CMS platform which will evolve and scale over the long term.
Here are some key considerations when choosing a CMS application for hosted websites:
Web Content Manageability
The era of web designers owning total responsibility for all web content is long over. The need for fresh well written content requires the skill sets of many disciplines – including writers, graphic designers, product managers, and other line of business professionals. Web developers don’t need to fear for their roles when a CMS is adopted, as the best ones are highly customizable and configurable.
If your organization needs to place a lot of the onus of content management into the hands of non-technical staff, you want a CMS which is easy to use, and offers a familiar user experience to apps your team is used to.
Some CMS solutions which are especially LOB user friendly (but innovative enough for web developers) include:
These platforms are web hosting provider friendly, and their publishers provide a lot of documentation to facilitate installation in cloud or virtual server environments.
Content Purpose, Analytics and Volume
If you have built a website as a static brochure site, or purely for promotional purposes as a channel for clients to find and contact you, a simple, open source CMS can deliver a lot of value quickly. If your requirements extend into functional areas like e-commerce, large volumes of dynamic content and multiple languages, the sophistication of your CMS needs to step up as well.
If you want to track the effectiveness, suitability and popularity of your content, a CMS platform with embedded or available reporting tools is your best bet. At a minimum, you want to be easily embed your Google Analytics tracking code, or on the other end of the spectrum, there’s Adobe Experience Manager or Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud offer deep analytics.
The ability to ramp your website up in terms of web content volume needs to be considered, both in terms of ease of publishing and capacity needs to be considered. Many open source database enabled CMS products have nearly infinite scaling capacity, but striking the balance with ease of use needs to be considered.
The ability to connect your web content with other systems in your business, such as CRM apps, e-mail marketing tools and marketing automation platforms is another area which needs to be evaluated which evaluating your web publishing platform.
SEO, Shareability and Mobility
Discoverability, ease of posting content to social channels, and mobile responsiveness are inevitable considerations of the platform which is the best fit for your needs. You want to make your website rank high for your most important keywords.
Once your target audience finds your site and likes it, you want them to easily share it with their peers. You might have selected specific social channels you are sharing your content into, however when your ideal prospect is sharing it too, the content can get more traction, and build your authority.
Finally, making your website responsive for tablets and smartphones is often table stakes in many industries. Ensuring your hosted website is built on a mobile friendly CMS can be the difference between your company reaping the rewards of making a wise CMS choice for your company, or making a choice based on the wrong criteria.
What CMS has your company, or digital agency implemented for your web presence? Are you considering a migration to a new hosted CMS platform? Tell us about your successes, struggles or failures in the comments section below.
For help in determining the best hosted content management platform for your business, contact Server Mania today!