We’ve all done it! Endured the long process of getting a new flashy website and then had the pain of not being able to update it properly as the content management system is not fully accessible or is too difficult or daunting to use. You don’t want to be “that “person who broke the firm’s website.
What is a CMS?
A Content Management System (CMS) is an application that supports the management of the content of web pages, allowing you to edit, store and format content including text, imagery, banners, and video in a certain way.
Choosing the right CMS for you
It’s never easy picking a system without full technical knowledge or experience. From the outset and at the briefing stage, it is important that whoever is building your website clearly understands what you want the website to do once it is built and be clear on what changes can and cannot be made without the developer’s support.
Basic functionality - think about what you need to do behind the scenes with the website on a day to day basis from editing, deleting and moving pages. Can you just go in and start typing, copy and paste text and upload imagery? Even if you don’t need the ability to do something now, you may in the future, so it’s best to have this covered from the start, again at the briefing stage.
User interaction – are you clear on what potentially valuable data the CMS will be able to generate from users through forms, downloads, subscriptions or opt-ins, for example, newsletter sign-ups. What does this look like in the CMS? Can it be exported into an excel database? Are you clear on how this will comply with the forthcoming GDPR regulations?
SEO – can you easily add in H1s, keywords, links, meta titles and descriptions in your CMS? Is it easy to find your way around enabling you to regularly deploy SEO tactics?
Roles and Permissions – if you have several people adding content, consider using a range of roles from editor to approver, so content can be approved by a manager before it goes live. Also, consider having the ability to add authors to published content if there are different contributors to articles/blogs.
Training - having an experienced web developer on board is key as they should be able to work out exactly what you need the site to do and gauge what level of support you will need. As part of this, they can also provide the appropriate training, ensuring that you get the most from the CMS. It is therefore important to factor in the time and cost of CMS training in any brief to the developer.
For professional services firms, it is important to have a CMS that is quick and easy to use so it doesn’t take up too much time. Busy professionals are then far more likely to contribute valuable content on top of having to get on with their day job and earning fees.
We recently helped a client develop a specialist sector website. As a niche team of lawyers, they had no internal marketing or digital support and therefore would have to manage all updates and news on their own. Understanding the challenges that the niche team faced, we specifically chose a CMS that they would be comfortable and confident in using with minimal training. The ability to easily add text, images, links, copy and paste content, enabled the team to easily and quickly publish news articles and thought leadership pieces. Having such a practical user-friendly CMS has given them the confidence and motivation to regularly add new and relevant content to the site, building their online visibility and in turn, helping them to punch well above their weight.
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