Among all of the important technology tools for getting online is the Content Management System (CMS). You might think of it as simply your website, but it is part of what should be "under the hood" of an effective online presence. Your CMS is what allows prospective customers to discover online the experience, talent and value that you offer.
What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A CMS is software that allows your team to build and manage a website without having to learn or use code. With a CMS, you can create new content, manage it, modify and edit, and then publish content in an easy-to-use interface. In most cases, you can customize the design and functionality of your site by downloading or purchasing templates and extensions rather than using code. More than one person can work on the content at one time, and when published, that content should be easy to find and share online.
Think of a CMS as the software suite - like Microsoft Office - except for the internet. When you use office efficiency software you don’t have to worry about the machine language that ties back into your computer. A CMS provides powerful publishing tools that allow you to create valuable content online.
The CMS fills the gap between the industry knowledge that you and your team offer to customers and the need to share your expertise online. You’re an expert at what you do, you shouldn’t have to be an expert on coding websites too.
Why do you need a (well-designed) CMS?
Consumers and the search engines (like Google and Bing) have one thing in common - they both look for valuable content that meets their needs. Search engines are designed to deliver the most valuable content to online searchers. Consumers want to answer their questions and find solutions for their needs when they search online. Both of these are wrapped up in content.
A well-designed CMS manages the content in such a way that it satisfies both consumers and search engines. If you don’t have a CMS that is easy to use and equipped with all the essentials, then either you have to rely upon developers to input all of your content, which is expensive and slow, or you publish content that has a low chance of getting found in search or converting leads.
If you don't' have onboard SEO, lead conversion plus tracking built-in, then the whole process of publishing and sharing content just takes a lot longer and because it has so many steps - we're likely not to get them all complete. That means the content we do produce has less marketing impact.
A poor CMS quality means that we do all the work to create content, but get much less of the value.
A CMS needs to do more than just publish content online
Just like the quality of service that you deliver to your customers, a CMS that is well-designed delivers a quality experience to your future customers. Simply put, a CMS provides content quality assurance.
This is one area in which a highly effective CMS differs from many of the low-cost CMS programs that are available. Template-driven systems, and those that simply duplicate the same content across many websites, don’t help the organizations that use them to improve their marketing outcomes. With a limited or template system, consumers don’t discover your content online because it is either a duplicate or it has not been optimized for search (SEO). When they do find it, it is not a visually pleasant experience.
Think of your CMS as an online magazine that is an appealing experience to those searching online. It should be a pleasant experience that is styled to fit the unique preferences and interests of your target audience. If your CMS is well-designed and well-used it can become a favorite destination for your target audience. It should combine a branded and positive online experience that delivers the information that consumers are searching to discover.
Key Characteristics You Need to Look for in a CMS
- Easy to Update - your team can easily add new content.
- Visually Appealing - your customers are engaged with photos, graphics and video that keeps them interested and tells your brand story
- Easy for Customers to Browse - prospects can easily find what they need when they search and when they arrive at your site
- Clean Code and Fast Load - your CMS is not based upon dozens of patchwork pieces of code, and loads quickly when people click
- Essential marketing and SEO Tools Included - an effective CMS will provide you with on-board SEO tools, easy to implement call to actions and multiple response methods, plus tracking so that you which content is doing the best.
- Secure - your CMS is highly secure to assure your customers that their data and computer is safe when they visit your website and click your links.