What CMS Should you Choose?
A content management system (CMS) is an application that enables non-developers to change website content. Hundreds of different content management systems currently exist, which each serve their own purposes. It can become overwhelming when deciding which to choose. You should know, there are only a few CMS that we would recommend! There are some CMS that are so difficult to work with, they can prevent you from completing necessary tasks. A CMS needs to be set up and developed using best practices and with your end goals top-of-mind. While we will be going over how to determine what CMS to use for your website, we recommend consulting with an expert before making your decision.
Determining the Sites Needs
The type of website you build is a key deciding factor in the CMS solution you choose to use. The two examples we’ll use have content management systems specializing in out-of-the-box support.
- You’re building an eCommerce website, the goal is to advertise the products and solicit purchases of those products. Shopify and Magento are the two CMS solutions we would recommend.
- You’re building a marketing-focused website intending to inform and lead users to a conversion point. WordPress is the top CMS solution we would recommend for marketing websites.
Marketing websites are what we specialize in, so that’s what we will be focusing on in this article.
For any website, the architecture of the front end of the website is important for the user to get from the landing page, to whatever page they need to go to. Good architecture is organized and structured. This is something that needs to be maintained while scaling and modifying the website. Options to adapt and change the structure and organization of content to user behavioral data are also important.
Informational websites are dependent on good messaging. It’s important to have content that drives home the value proposition. SEO campaigns are reliant on optimized content as well. Having a user-friendly content editing experience is important to ensure you can scale and optimize content on the website without involving pricey web developers.
The main purpose of a marketing website is to generate leads. Your CMS should make it easy to add forms from marketing automation platforms like Hubspot, Marketo, or Pardot.
In today’s internet age, “user-friendly” means a lot of things. Making a website optimized and easy to use on all browsers and devices is likely the biggest part of making a website user-friendly. The website should be developed using best practices to ensure optimization for all devices and browsers.
All content must be editable and avenues to add new content should be available in the content management system. This empowers non-web developer content editors to scale the website content to keep up with rapidly evolving companies.
For informational, lead-generating marketing websites there are quite a few choices for a CMS. Let’s consider the type of content management systems we have to choose from:
Open Source CMS
The CMS application source is openly available to be downloaded and used however one desires. This enables developers to start a website from a base and build it however they like from there. Examples of open-source CMS are WordPress (not wordpress.com), Drupal, and Joomla.
These systems are great for building a customized experience on the front end and back end fit for whatever application you have. The one you select depends on your specific needs and what the CMS solution provides out of the box. Due to its large community following, WordPress is the default choice in this category. A lot of out-of-the-box functionality has been developed by the community for WordPress
Closed Source CMS
Closed source CMS solutions do not allow access to the code base and only provide access to the content editing backend. Typically, closed source CMS solutions will provide some ability to customize the front-end HTML and CSS in some form or fashion. This enables some deeper customization for the front-end of the website to be completed.
A closed source CMS can be great to get a website up and running with very little development cost. The major drawback to these solutions is that you will not have access to the code base or database. This makes you reliant on the CMS provider, which could limit scalability, user-friendliness, and content editing abilities on the front-end. Also, If you wanted or needed to migrate to another CMS solution, it’s not as simple as a click of the button. It requires an entirely separate website build with website building cost.
A headless CMS is a CMS that does not render the front-end (what the user sees) of the website. A headless CMS typically provides JSON objects when requested via API and then separate front-end code uses that to construct a front-end for the user. These solutions can be both open source or closed source content management systems.
Having a separate front-end and back-end can provide some benefits when it comes to flexibility and scalability. It’s not the most cost-efficient route upfront, but it’s the route that provides the most value and saves you later.
Our Choice for CMS
At Digital Reach Agency, we have decided to use WordPress as a headless CMS to build informational marketing websites.
Why do we prefer WordPress as a CMS solution? Because it’s the number one used content management system in the world! It allows us to use the best evolving modern front-end frameworks possible to provide an optimized experience for users. It also has community provided plugins, themes, and support, which make it much easier to maintain and build.
It’s also easier to find content editors that are familiar with WordPress. If you can’t find someone familiar with WordPress, it has a small learning curve due to its user-friendly interface and great documentation.
Find the Right Help
At the end of the day, the best CMS can become the worst CMS if it’s not developed correctly. Yes, you could find a company that will take a bunch of plugins and a fancy visual builder theme and slap a website together using WordPress at a decent price. Is that really going to achieve your goal though? In today’s competitive online market, it’s not enough to get a website up and running. It needs to be optimized for the user experience and easy to maintain and scale. Otherwise, the website’s SEO and lead generation metrics could be negatively affected.
At Digital Reach Agency, our web development team specializes in building websites that are optimized for the users and the content editors. We use the latest modern technologies and methods to build websites that fit marketing website’s needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help get your website on the right track.