Before talking about how to buy a web content management system, let’s take a quick look at two important questions.
What is a WCM solution and how does it differ from a CMS? A WCM is a solution that makes it easy for your employees to make changes to your website, while offering templates and other features to maintain consistency.
There are fine points of difference between a WCM and CMS, but most solution providers offer a combination of both: every CMS has most of the features that you’d find in any WCM product.
Another important question: do you really need a WCM? Let’s take a quick look at the features and facilities offered by most WCM solutions to try and answer this question.
- WYSIWYG editor
- Drag-and-drop editing
- Authoring templates
- Collaboration capability
- Scheduled publishing
- Security and workflow controls
- Site navigation and URL customization
- Previewing and pre-rendering
- Staging for separating content locally
- Access control and permission for different users
Digital marketing and web analytics features
If you feel that these features will help you better manage your ecommerce store or business website, you need a WCM solution. The core function of a web CMS is to enable users with little technical knowledge to administer websites. Most WCM products have templates that simplify this task.
For example, Microsoft’s Sitecore or Sitefinity CMS come equipped with all the features that you’d find in a WCM solutions and a CMS.
Now, let’s take a look at what points you must consider while shopping for a WCMS (web content management system).
# 1. Central Features and Functionality
Let the choice of the WCMS be dictated by your wants. For instance, if you have a nice ecommerce website selling only a dozen types of products, you may not require too much customization with text or images. In such a case, a simple WordPress solution may be more than enough for your needs.
On the other hand, if you are managing a website with thousands of service or product pages – where you have different structure for different kinds of pages – you may have to invest in a high-end WCMS that offers more features. Other features like digital marketing, versioning, multi-website support and support for different languages also come into play in case of complex websites.
# 2. Communication and Collaboration
For large business organizations that have a large number of stakeholders, the following questions are significant:
- Will your employees use the WCMS to collaborate and create documents?
- Do you need a feature that enables a number of people to work on a document at the same time or at different times?
- Do your sales people need a feature that allows them to communicate with different departments, employees and customers?
- Will you be using it for email marketing? Do you need a feature that allows you to segment recoupments?
If you need all these facilities, you will have to shop for a system that provides modules for in-depth collaboration and communication.
# 3. Asset Management
While most web CMSes will have fantastic features of editing information, many of them do not offer enough facility for managing assets. If you are running a website that has a large number of images and other files, you need powerful asset management features. If the system is not designed to handle large quantity of web assets, it can lead to a lot of time waste and heartburn. Check what features a web CMS has for managing and displaying PDFs, images and other kinds of files.
#4. Access Control, Roles and Permissions
For smaller business, where just a couple of people are in charge of implementing web changes, there is no need for access control, but if dozens of people contribute to the website and make changes, you need to set up clear roles and permissions. So, it becomes imperative to choose a web content management system that simplifies the process of assigning roles and permissions to different sets of users.
#5. What kind of web content management system do I need?
The answer to this question will be clear after you have found an answer to the above questions. The most popular open-source systems –WordPress, Joomla, Drupal – pack a lot of punch, and these are good enough for most small business. However, if you are running a large ecommerce website, or require an enterprise-level solution, you may need to give it a little more thought.
You have two broad options 1) customize an open-source software and make sure that it is capable of fulfilling all your needs, or 2) Choose a propriety solutions that is most suitable to your existing website and your specific requirements (you may need customization here too). For instance, if you have an ASP.NET website and most of your employees are conversant only with MS tools and technologies, you might choose to go for Sitecore or Sitefinity CMS that offer a gentler learning curve.
As you can see by looking at the above points, your choice of web CMS will be dictated by what your website and your employees need. If you are unsure of what is the right choice, it may be a good idea to consult your IT manager, or take advice from a friend whose business is already using a WCMS. After you have all the information in hand, it will be easier for your decide whether you want a simple a proprietary off-the-shelf web CMS, an open-source solution or a customized solution.
About the author:
Kinjal is working as a digital marketer and blogger with 5 years of experience. She is full time employee with Cygnet Infotech expert in delivering complete ecommerce solution. She is always happy to share her passion for ecommerce and mobile technologies. Follow Kinjal on Twitter @adeshara_kinjal or connect with her on Google+, Facebook or Linkedin
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