Content Management Systems: which features matter most?

12 April 2018

More than a thousand Content Management Systems (CMS)to choose from. Which one is right for you? Ensuring your business runs more smoothly and efficiently. With a consistent brand image. And improving conversion at the same time. We, at info.nl, asked our clients and relations, ranging from technical experts to marketeers, which features were essential to them. Enabling us to better understand their needs when developing or improving their websites.

First of all, we divided 18 key CMS features into three main categories, highlighting those areas that matter most when building and maintaining a website: flexibility, Usability and Security & Implementation.

Flexibility

How easy is it to add features, content, etc. to your current content management system, and how important is this to you and your company? To ensure your website stays up-to-date at all times. These are the features that were discussed and ranked amongst our panellists:

  • Content reuse / editing
  • Multi-lingual content
  • Multi-site deployment
  • Third party plug-ins & integrations
  • Built-in SEO tools
  • User profiles

Not surprisingly, all panellists, whether a technical guru, a digital strategist or marketing wizard, ranked a content editing feature as most essential.

Regardless of the sector they are working in. As well as being able to integrate third party plug-ins, adding specific functionality to the site. Plug-ins and integrations are used by most companies.

CMS feature: Flexibility
Features rated based on 1 - 5 rating scale (1 - not important at all; 5 - very important).

An interesting fact: although most content management systems offer a multi-lingual content feature, this feature is ranked depending on how many regions a company operates in. If your company is active in a market dominated by a single language, the need for a multi-lingual site might not be at the top of your list. However, if your audience is all over the world, this could be an essential feature. To enable you to address all of your customers in their own language, wherever they are.

Usability

How fast is your CMS? Are you often frustrated by how slow your system responds? Do you find it easy to navigate around? Is it simple to use and understand? Here are some of the usability features that could determine whether you would prefer one CMS over another:

  • Speed of the CMS
  • Ease of use
  • Categorising & tagging of content
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Customisable workflow

CMS feature: Usability
Features rated based on 1 - 5 rating scale (1 - not important at all; 5 - very important).

Speed of the overall CMS and ease of use are features generally demanded by its users. In a world that is fast moving, ensuring that your website stays up-to-date, with the most current features and content. Therefore, it is no surprise that CMS vendors are keen to ensure that their system is the fastest and most user-friendly.

However, to further facilitate speed and consistency, the ‘What You See Is What You Get’ (WYSIWYG) editor is becoming a feature more and more popular with users, especially with content creators and editors. This feature enables you to preview content, whilst editing, as it will look in the final product. Enabling content to be updated quickly and consistently.

The other two features are ranked depending on the type of industry. Whether an approval system and, therefore, a workflow is required prior to features or content going live. Or categorising and tagging of large amounts of content, to find specific features and content quickly.

Security & Implementation

Is it important to you that your CMS vendor offers compatible security solutions? Helps you from start to finish? Is available 24/7 to support you whenever needed? In a world where cybercrime is more and more common, and systems are hacked on a daily basis, having a CMS that is both secure and safe to install and use, is critical. We had a look, together with our panellists, at a selection of security and implementation features:

  • Vendor Security Solutions
  • Vendor Support
  • Ease of Installation
  • Audit Trail
  • Granular Permission
  • SSL Compatibility
  • Implementation costs

CMS features: Security & Implementation
Features rated based on 1 - 5 rating scale (1 - not important at all; 5 - very important).

With the increase in cybercrime, it comes as no surprise that most companies will be looking for a CMS that offers SSL compatibility, ensuring a secure link between server and client. As well as a solid security solution offered by the vendor. Reducing the risk of hacking and other major intrusions. If such an event might occur after all, most companies, our panellists being no exception, will insist on a good support offering, ideally available 24/7.

Features like low implementation costs and ease of installation are, of course, nice-to-haves but not necessarily at the top of a company’s CMS needs. And features like audit trail and granular permission are, again, dependent on the needs and requirements of the industry. For example, financial institutions, who deal with sensitive data, are more likely to value a feature where changes and edits are being tracked. Or a feature where permissions are granted as to which features and content can be edited by certain users only.

Choosing the right CMS feature

CMS features required by companies strongly depend on the type, size and geographical location of a company. However, those features that are commonly ranked at the top, are those that are needed to run a business more smoothly, efficiently and, above all, securely. In a fast-moving world where speed is of the essence.

Flexibility is key as technology changes all the time. Therefore, the perfect CMS needs to be flexible and able to seamlessly integrate with new software packages, machine-learning, artificial intelligence and other products. Ensuring that your company is always at the forefront of what’s happening within your industry.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

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