A content management system (CMS) is an online tool that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools that allow users with little- to no knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages create and manage website content with relative ease.
Shopping for the proper content management system for your website redesign project is a lot like buying tires for a vehicle. People don’t always put enough time into considering their options, but the decision is vital to the overall experience. If you’re hugging corners in your sleek luxury sedan, you want tires designed to maximize your car’s engineering. If you’re driving a four-cylinder commuter, you don’t need expensive racing tires to get the best performance. Similarly, when you’re redesigning your website, you need to choose the CMS that best suits the experience you want to deliver. You don’t want a CMS that falls short, and you don’t want to overpay for features you won’t use.
In most cases, your project likely falls into one of three categories:
- A simple site with basic functionality and a few dozen pages or less.
- A mid-level site with more robust functionality, such as logins and interactive forms, with anywhere from 75 to 150 pages.
- A site with enhanced functionality and interactivity with a large page count.
Where your project falls within this range dictates the type of CMS you need to achieve your digital goals. Here are some points to keep in mind when considering which CMS is right for you.
1. Type of Functionality
If your website will feature logins, online chat, rates databases and more, you’ll need a CMS to support that functionality. Delivering a powerful and interactive experience to your audience will require a greater investment in your CMS. If your functionality is simpler, you might be better served with a less expensive CMS option.
2. Ongoing Costs
A larger, more interactive and powerful website requires a budget to maintain it properly. If your marketing budget doesn’t allow for ongoing maintenance and updates after you launch, you may need to reconsider the size and type of your site’s CMS. Annual CMS license fees also should be taken into consideration. For the sake of your brand, you will benefit more if you deliver a better user experience with a scaled-down site that you can maintain regularly, than if you launch a huge site with all the bells and whistles that you cannot keep updated and functioning efficiently.
3. Flexibility and Scalability
As you develop strategies for the website you want today, keep in mind the website you will need in the future. Your product lines and service offerings will grow with your business, and you will need a website capable of adjusting easily and efficiently. Maybe you want to add a blog. Maybe you want to add new product pages or create landing pages for a targeted marketing campaign. A CMS that can scale to fit your marketing strategies will be an ideal fit so you can augment your site without creating a massive project.
4. Third-Party Integration
If you offer online chat functionality, calculators or any other integrated third-party applications, your CMS will need to be up to the task. Take a hard look at the functionality and applications you want to include and then figure out which CMS will allow you to deliver these online experiences to your audience.
5. Digital Agency Involvement
Do you plan to manage all aspects of your website in-house after launch? With your marketing and IT departments juggling various responsibilities, the task of updating a robust website could prove to be a significant strain that leads to missed deadlines on projects and/or a lag in keeping your website’s content current. With a larger website project, you’ll find great value in partnering with a digital agency that can manage your support requests and guide you with recommendations on achieving the best ROI from your primary digital asset.
6. Compliance Considerations
For most banks and credit unions, compliance is a primary concern. The CMS you choose should provide the features, safeguards and functionality you need to ensure compliance at all turns. This includes keeping a history of revisions made to your website so you can track all activity to a specific date and time.
Choosing the proper CMS is a critical component of your website redesign project. Do your homework to ensure that your decision will set your institution up for success now and in the future.
Douglas Malan is a senior writer at ZAG Interactive, a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT. He can be reached at 860-633-4818.