It's been interesting ride watching the development and evolution of content management systems over the past 20 years. When we first started building websites and our clients wanted the ability to update them themselves, it seemed pretty simple. We used a database to store the content, and simply built our clients a simple interface to update that content. Boy have those expectations changed over the years! It's no longer enough to just maintain content, now we expect a CMS to be a platform that allows us to manage our web content, our brand, maybe even our social media properties. It is our belief that there is no out of the box CMS that can do all those things well. However with the right experience behind them, they can be very powerful. We have truly built hundreds of websites on all sorts of content management systems over the years. We've got true web developers with experience to help you achieve your goals.
Top Content Management Systems We Recommend:
Each of these systems has their pros and cons. It's our responsibility to help our clients understand the benefits and weaknesses of each and select the CMS that best suits their needs. Then we create a plan to leverage our development skills to close the gaps so our client has a solution that works.
- HubSpot CMS: great for lead gen websites and clients with few in house technical resources
- WordPress: It's almost half of the internet because its free and powerful
- Umbraco: It's a solid .NET solution for sites with robust needs
- Kentico: A good headless CMS that suits the needs of many enterprise level organizations
- Drupal: Another good php option in addition to WordPress for larger websites and organizations
Top Reasons to Leverage a Content Management System:
- Ease of updating your website without technical skills
- Reduce the costs associated with paying an agency
- Ability to deliver targeted content based on user segmentation and buyer's journey
- All content is stored in a database making website redesigns less painful
Common Challenges with Content Management Systems
- Duplicate content, some platforms build product pages wrong (WordPress is notorious for this).
- Keeping up to date. Most CMSs use plugins or widgets. They basically mix code from multiple developers, making updates challenging at times.
- Understanding renting vs owning. Some CMSs are SaaS, which means you don't "own" the infrastructure. HubSpot for instance works this way. It has it's benefits, but be sure your agency makes ownership clear.
- Technical "glitches" because an agency that is not a true development agency "designed" the website. We see this all the time. Free tools like WordPress make it very easy to launch a website without really understanding the code. That can lead to trouble.
Top Content Management System Questions:
How do you overcome weaknesses of modern content management systems?
For over 23 years we have been building, managing and fixing content management systems. Because we have had a long term commitment to having true web developers on our team, we have the ability to get "under the hood" of these systems and do the hard work of actually correcting the programming challenges they have. The most common issues we come across with today's most popular content management systems still revolve around search engine optimization. It's almost as of the people programming these systems don't care about marketing. Well because SEO is such a strong part of our business, we do. So our web developers know how to make the adjustments needed to keep content management systems from creating things like blocked content sections or duplicate content.
Which is the best content management system?
Like our dads told us, make sure you use the right tool for the job. The right CMS depends on a handful of variables that are specific to your business. In our discovery process we will ask you questions like; Do you have an ERP we are integrating with? Does your team have familiarity with a current CMS? Do we have HIPPA or other compliance concerns? Of course this isn't an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. Our job is to bring best in breed content management systems to the table and guide you to selecting the right one.
What about proprietary code and homegrown content management systems?
The reality is that no CMS is truly ready to go out of the box. So whether your web developer is going to use plugins and widgets to make the website fit your needs, or they are going to custom code adjustments; your website is going to have proprietary code in it. There is no getting around that, and we won't sugar coat that reality for you. We will do our part to improve the CMS in a professional way and back it up with the same customer service we have provided our clients for over 23 years.
Will I own my website?
That depends. You will absolutely own the content, but some content management systems are offered in a SaaS platform. HubSpot CMS is this way. You don't own the underlying architecture, but you do own the content. With other platforms like Drupal or WordPress, yes you do own the website and it is portable from one host to another.
Is WordPress safe?
If you set it and forget it, no. WordPress is great because it is free. But because it is free and everyone can access the source code, it is highly susceptible security issues if it is neglected. In our WordPress hosting environment we pay close attention to each one and we will not allow clients to remain in our environment if they choose to neglect their website. That puts our other clients at risk. Of course we offer turnkey WordPress web hosting so our clients can trust that we've got them covered.
Contact us to learn more about building your website.