By Dana Grennier | Account Director & Amy Kant | Account Director
In the early days of the internet, websites were built from scratch using HTML. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a content management system, or CMS, to power your website.
CMS software is built to streamline the management of your website, offering an interface for content managers and webmasters to edit, modify, and then publish content to their site. Content management systems offer great functionality for everything from blogging to e-commerce and everything in-between.
It’s important to know how to maximize use of your CMS to effectively maintain your website. Even if you have a good CMS, if you’re not using it properly, your digital presence will suffer.
10 Tips for CMS Success
1. Organize Your Site Strategically
Your site is only as good as its implementation. No matter how good your CMS is, if your site is not set up to accommodate growth and change, it will suffer long-term. A content and site strategy will go a long way to improve your site’s search engine ranking and user experience. Make sure you work with your website implementation and strategy team to gather stakeholder input for the best content organization possible. A solid digital strategy will set your site up for success and will optimize opportunities for conversions.
2. Don’t Over-Engineer
Keep your CMS configuration as simple as possible. Let the software do the heavy lifting. It may sound great to be able to customize your site from head to toe whenever you want to, but that can hinder your site’s performance if it’s not done right.
3. Ask Questions
Having a beautifully built and designed site and a powerful CMS tool handed to you does not mean you know everything about it. Tap into the experts and resources available to you. Read the documentation. Your CMS partners are experts for a reason and can probably help save you time and money.
4. Budget for Ongoing Support and Upgrades
Plan and budget for ongoing support so that your web content management system can change or upgrade as new features and functionality are released. Budget to support your content managers, train new users and customize the CMS as needed.
5. Login Often
You know that saying – use it or lose it? A website is a living ecosystem. Help it breathe by giving it new content, update existing content and refresh images. Aside from refreshing content, logging in often will help ensure you don’t forget how to use it!
6. Leverage SEO Functionality to Boost Performance
At a minimum, you should know how to manage these SEO elements in your CMS:
- Page Title
- Meta Keywords
- Meta Description
- Anchor Texts
- URL Management
These elements are important for on-page SEO because they help search engines understand your website and its content.
7. Know that It Takes a Village
Divide content management responsibilities across your team so that the work isn’t falling on just one person. Give everyone their own login so that you can more easily track content changes.
8. Understand its Essential Features
While every CMS is unique, there are essential features that most content management systems share, including:
- Flexibility and extensibility
- Permission control
- Multilingual support
- Open API
Although most CMS platforms share these features, some offer more options than others. For example, WordPress offers plugins that expand its core functionality; Titan CMS offers content filtering, custom designs, managing multiple websites from one interface, and much more.
9. Make Sure Your Content Complies with ADA Guidelines
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design sets guidelines to ensure websites are accessible to those with disabilities. Your site’s compliance is directly proportional to your legal obligations under ADA. Your website must be compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Some organizations are subject to legal penalties if a site fails to be ADA compliant. Learn more about web accessibility.
10. Don’t Lose Sight of Security
To prevent hackers from attacking your site, it is critical to have a CMS with reliable security features. Don’t skip software updates or upgrades if they are available. If your software is out of date, your data are at risk. Having a secure content management system will safeguard your data, customer information, and integrated third-party systems.
Make Your CMS Work for You
Coding a website by hand is a lot of work. Using a content management system instead saves a lot of time. Just make sure you choose the right CMS for your needs and understand how to leverage its features.
If you’re looking for a new CMS, developing a new website, or have any questions, we’re here to help. Contact us today!
Originally Published: Wed, December 16, 2020