Harnessing the Power of your Content Management System: Simplifying your website updates
You’d be surprised how often we hear from new clients that reasons they want a new website is that they can’t update the one they’ve got and often find themselves paying a web developer every time they want to make a change! We think this is crazy! Editing your website content should be as easy as editing a Word document – something anyone should feel confident and comfortable with. Even more, we think it should be a creative process – you shouldn’t have to spend time thinking about HOW to do something – you should be able to concentrate on WHAT to do.
So, we’ve put together a few tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your content management system. This way, you can put your effort into creativity and growing your business rather than figuring out how to use a complicated bit of software!
Choose the right platform.
There are many different CMSs to choose from. Some are commercial products (these usually cost lots of money), some are custom-built (these can cost anything from quite a lot to a vast amount) and some are free and open source. The choice of CMS depends on your specific requirements. Our advice would be to start with something open source like WordPress, our preferred CMS and only explore other options if your requirements are complex enough to need something custom built.
Think about how you’ll look after the site.
Very few of us are lucky enough to have a team of editors available to handle our website updates. In our experience, most companies have small marketing teams who always have much too much to do. However your teams are structured it’s important to think about who will be looking after the site, their level of skill and experience, the amount of time they’ll be able to spend and how often you’ll need to update your site. With a good knowledge of who will be updating the site, your agency will be able to tailor the content management system to suit their needs. For example, there’s no point in having a hugely powerful and flexible CMS if you update your site once every couple of years – there’s no way your editor will remember what to do. In a situation like this, it’d be much better to simplify the CMS – removing the features you don’t need to optimising the workflow to make life easier for you and your team.
The heart of a good website is a good process.
Everyone gets excited about design and whizzy technology, but the most important part of getting a good site and keeping a good site is to define a good process for keeping it up to date. The best websites are protected and nurtured. They’re regularly fed with good content and defended against the random actions of the team member who “just wants this document put on the site”. A website has a purpose (maybe marketing, maybe sales, maybe something else) – it isn’t usually a filing cabinet or a company noticeboard. Every site is different and every process is different, but making sure you think about how you’ll keep the site fed, watered and protected is an important part of any web project.
Don’t build something that already exists.
One of the massive advantages of using popular content management systems like WordPress is their vast ecosystem availability of plugins and extensions. These are additional software components that enhance the functionality of your CMS and enable you or your agency to add new features and capabilities to your website. Whether you need a contact form, social media integration, search engine optimisation tools or e-commerce functionality there’s likely a plugin or extension available to fulfil your requirements. Explore the vast library of plugins and extensions compatible with your CMS and choose the ones that best align with your business objectives. By doing this, you can enhance the performance, usability, and overall effectiveness of your website without continually re-inventing the wheel.
It’s your site.
You should feel a sense of ownership and confidence in your new site. You should be able to edit the things you need to edit whenever you like and you’ll only be able to do this with the right CMS, tailored and implemented by the right agency. Your site shouldn’t be something you’re scared of – indeed we think you should look forward to editing your site.
Your website is just a tool for speaking to your audience. It should help you speak clearly and confidently and should be an open road, not a brick wall.