Content Management Systems for Your Website – Yay or Nay?
When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, your website’s design, ease of use and SEO practices make a huge difference on your bottom line, as you can read about in this recent article, “Stop Your Website From Killing Sales” on Forbes. If you’ve decided it’s time to revamp or redo your website, an important decision to make is if you will use a Content Management System and which one will best fit your needs.
What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System (CMS) is the backbone of all content-rich websites. These are websites with lots of pages that feature text, photos and videos. CMSs are applications that store the content that websites display as pages. The web application allows content editors and marketers to log in and update content on the website without having to code or develop. The CMS is responsible for displaying the content by combining the data entered by the editors and a page layout to structure the data appropriately. Therefore, if you want to create a website that enables you to maintain the website without constantly having to use a developer, this is the option to consider.
Why Utilize a CMS?
Content Management Systems are beneficial for many reasons. First, they make website updates easy to do. Additionally, there’s no downtime on the site while the editors are making edits and they are able to preview their changes before pushing them live for others to see. Then once the changes are pushed live on the website, viewers can see them right away. This makes adding new, fresh content to a website straightforward. Images and assets are also easily uploaded and placed into the CMS.
The CMS makes workflows easier as well. When an editor updates content, a workflow can be started that alerts approvers that content has been updated. After approval, the content can be automatically published to the website.
Besides content and assets, CMSs can also be used to manage SEO and personalization. Marketers can target specific content to display to specific demographics based on rules entered into the CMS.
CMSs vary in cost, so you’ll want to weigh this against the important benefits of heightened productivity, ease of use, SEO function and the personalization they provide.
How does a CMS work?
One of my roles as a software engineer is to customize CMSs to make them look, feel and function to our clients’ specifications. This involves writing custom code, designing useful page templates and creating approval and publishing workflows.
The first step in creating a website is to create the page layouts that will be used to display the content and images. A website can have one or many layouts, depending on the content that is to be displayed. The page layouts contain the code that will request the data to display from the CMS.
Based on the data that is to be displayed, we will create data types to store the data. These are objects that contain the fields that content editors will populate with data. Let’s say that the client wants to display a News Feed. We would create a data type to store the feed that would contain a headline, short description, full article and published date, for example. We would then develop the page layout that displays all of the fields on the page. Once those are finished, the content editors could then log in to the CMS and enter the data for the News Feed items.
What CMSs are out there?
There are many different types of CMSs available on the market. BIG YAM specializes in Sitecore, EpiServer and Kentico, which are written in Microsoft .NET. BIG YAM developed and is maintaining Parsons Xtreme Golf, which was written in Kentico. Our company also developed the website for the Viridis Group, which was written in WordPress.
Other CMSs written in PHP (a general-purpose scripting language) include WordPress and Drupal, made by Acquia. Examples of sites BIG YAM has created in PHP include YAM Capital and The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, which were both developed in WordPress.
The following image shows where different Content Management Systems rate in terms of features, vision and execution.
When you’re ready to move forward with your website, our web development team is ready to guide you through the process of choosing the best CMS for your company’s needs.