Here at iMedia, quite often our clients, as well as potential customers, look to us to help guide them on selecting the best CMS. While we have several favorites that we implement, it is important to understand the specific needs of the organization before making a selection.
Whether you are embarking on a brand-new website or looking to re-platform (perhaps from Ektron to a new CMS), iMedia recommends that you carefully plan your selection based on the top 5 critical factors:
A typical approach to re-platforming is to compare your existing licenses (i.e., number of domains, production servers, testing/staging environments, etc.) with other available platforms in an “apples to apples” manner. However, a better approach is to more closely evaluate your web properties and site traffic to determine the licensing you really need instead of focusing solely on what you currently have. As few as four or five years ago, many strategies would have included centralizing of content and brands in a way that may perform better if they are segmented and have their own unique domains. However, today, that is not necessarily the most effective strategy. So, before you evaluate licensing – evaluate your brand strategy. This will offer better insight into the number of domains and the complete hosting architecture necessary for the type of licensing you need.
Focused, compelling content is still of great importance, yet we still see many websites that become bloated with unnecessary pages resulting in a confusing, overly-complex information architecture. Contrary to popular belief, conducting a content audit is not difficult. Unfortunately many organizations put it off because they can be time consuming, tedious, and in some cases, political. While this can be the case, it is best not to wait until the CMS replacement project is kicked off to do a content audit. Here are a few strategic steps to take to help you move in the right direction:
- Evaluate your analytics. They will provide strategic insight and guidance into how often content is being accessed and help guide your content auditing process.
- Be realistic about which content to keep and what needs to be “archived”. In many organizations a large percentage of archived content could be deleted. Often, recommending a content archive is a better strategy politically rather than arguing about content’s viability, regardless of analytics.
- Accommodate new content that is needed for the site. Your marketing team will play an important role in determining specific topics that are trending in your industry.
Usability is not just a buzzword, it’s an essential fundamental. Creating a successful, usable experience for your site visitors is as important as the CMS you decide upon. Insist upon including testing, observing and applying usability best practices to ensure your site’s user experience is optimum.
You will have a list of things you want to do as part of your CMS replacement project. Think about usability as an ongoing observation and optimization effort. While your new website may deliver initial positive results, greater levels of user engagement and associated conversions can be realized over time through the process of constant measuring and refinement.
There are many options organizations can take regarding marketing capabilities for their website. The majority of companies utilize either an “All in One” or “Best of Breed” solution:
- All in One – The majority of modern CMS’s either come with marketing functionality included or as an option. This streamlined approach allows you to perform both your content and marketing tasks all in one tool.
- Best of Breed – Standalone Marketing automation tools can be integrated fairly easily with most websites regardless of the CMS being used. This option allows you to separately pick the best CMS and Marketing automation tools to meet your needs.
As part of your greater website strategy, ensuring relevance and needed functionality, your team will need to evaluate what expectations you have and need from Marketing Automation tools.
- Web Accessibility
According to the Web Accessibility Initiative (http://www.w3.org), “When websites and web tools are properly designed and coded, people with disabilities can use them. However, currently many sites and tools are developed with accessibility barriers that make them difficult or impossible for some people to use.”
Failure to understand and embrace web accessibility requirements and best practices not only presents a missed opportunity to attract and retain a larger audience, it may even result in legal problems for your organization. While it is imperative to ensure both your design team and development team have a solid understanding of how to adhere to accessibility standards, selecting a CMS platform with built-in accessibility validation should also be part of your checklist.
In addition, it is important to keep up with emerging issues and how they can impact a CMS selection– see GDPR for instance. Talk to iMedia today to learn more about making the right selection – based on knowledge and data. We will gladly assist you with a comprehensive perspective of your business needs as well as how to support the tool(s) in your organization.