Do You Need A Content Management System?

Oct 16, 2017 | eCommerce, Featured

We live in a dynamic world. We change, we enhance, we learn, we grow.

Standards, best practices, product offerings, content—these are no longer static entities. That said, not everything is in a constant state of flux.

Some information on the web rarely changes, like store hours and contact details. Others change all the time, things like software, mobile phones, or trending fashion. Deciding whether you need a Content Management System, or CMS, requires taking a look at how often your content changes, or doesn’t change and how much technical support you need. Before you can determine if you need a CMS, you need to take a long internal look at your goals, resources, and needs.

What is a CMS?

A CMS is a tool that enables technical and non technical teams to store, create, edit, manage, and publish a variety of web content. Through centralized rules, processes, and workflows, a CMS provides a framework for how content is produced and managed in an organization. These systems are easily accessible and, typically, user-friendly.

There are four elements of a CMS:

Content Creation

A CMS is very easy to use, often with drag-and-drop functionality and an interface similar to Word.

Content Management

With a CMS, you have the ability to track versions, grant user permissions, and integrate with existing IT systems.

Publishing

A CMS lets writers publish without making changes to the theme and gives developers the power to modify appearance, where necessary.

Presentation

Enhancement features often come standard with CMS, giving your site improved functionality, navigation, and interactivity.

A CMS is ideal for companies that:

  • Regularly post content
  • Have a large team of users working with the release of content
  • Lack a large technical staff or team of developers
  • Don’t need a quick launch
  • Operate across geographical borders
  • Need to track users
  • Are looking for simple management of website without complicated customization
  • Don’t want to deal with SEO

Here are your options for eCommerce CMS:

Open Source

  • Self-hosted
  • Easy to migrate
  • No service charge
  • Access to Everything

License/Hosted

  • Free hosting
  • Unable to migrate
  • Pay as you go
  • Doesn’t require programming

SaaS

  • Free hosting
  • Unable to migrate
  • Additional service charge
  • Doesn’t require programming

PaaS

  • B2B CMS
  • Linked with others
  • API-enabled
  • For large corporate use

Some popular CMS platforms include:

Click here for a quick comparison of the three major CMS platforms. A CMS makes updating and publishing content a simple task without the need for a ton of coding or high-level developer skills. Sounds great. All the features and no need to hire a new developer. What’s the catch?

With a simplified user experience comes a higher price tag and the lack of flexibility. If the time comes where you have need for customization, you might find yourself scouting for a developer.

Things to consider when evaluating to CMS or not to CMS

Before you can determine if you need a CMS, you need to evaluate what you hope to accomplish, how you plan to meet your goals, and what kind of resources you have at your disposal. Ask yourself these questions

Your need for content updates

Is your content largely static or dynamic? A CMS allows for easy modifications and updates of your content. If you need the flexibility that is required of consistent publishing, you might want a CMS.

P

The pro: A CMS is a good tool for consistency of appearance and branding across channels.

O

The con: A CMS limits your flexibility and ability to customize.

The size of your team

Once you have a good grasp on how often you will be updating content, consider the size of your team and who needs access to that content. If you are consistently releasing content that is filtered through multiple sources, a CMS may be your best bet. You can limit access so that those people are able to publish content without making changes to the overall design.

P

The pro: You can allow users to make editorial changes without worrying about affecting the overall design.

O

The con: You may have to work within the themed template for changes or fork out the money for a developer.

Your need for customization or alignment of assets

Are you managing a storefront, social media accounts, and selling on third-party marketplaces? One of the great selling points of a CMS is the ability to offer an omni-channel experience. If you choose to go with a CMS, your look, branding, and offerings will be aligned. Each published piece of content will encompass the necessary elements of your company and can be done by anyone.

Do you need features that don’t come built in a template or are you simply publishing new blog content each week which would benefit from the standardized options offered by templates? Depending on your needs and offerings, you may need standardization instead of customization, or vice versa.

Consistency is important, especially for large companies with a ton of offerings or those that operate across borders or languages. But, what happens if a decision maker suddenly decides it’s time to deviate from that consistent pattern? You end up without a way to accomplish your goal and suddenly find yourself in a rushed situation where you will pay high prices for a developer in a time crunch. If this happens, you have suddenly nullified your reason for choosing a CMS in the first place (applying an easy-to-use system to all of your content without the need for a developer).

However, if you have a global brand, a CMS can be powerful tool to ensure you deliver the same experience, regardless of physical boundaries.

P

The pro: A CMS ensures consistency and an omni-channel experience.

O

The con: You will have limited customization options without a developer.

Ability to implement and maintain a CMS

Some CMS options boast a $0 price tag. However, as the saying goes, nothing in life is free. There are costs associated with migration, design, and ongoing maintenance.

One last piece of advice…

Spend time upfront to determine your business requirements. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution – Allocate time and resources to properly evaluate solutions before selecting the best one for your company.

Still unsure of what to do, we can help! Contact us today and we will help you determine whether you need a CMS.