Buying considerations for Web Content Management Systems

By CIOReview | Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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Web Content Management (WCM) systems allow users to create, edit and publish digital content such as embedded audio and video files and internet graphics for websites. These systems make the process of uploading and writing content simple for users who lack in coding skills by offering theme-oriented templates for unique design. WCM systems is a set of tools that provides an organization with a way to manage digital information on a website through creating and maintaining content without prior knowledge of web programming or markup languages.

For an effective WCMS, enterprises may consider the following factors:

Technical Knowledge of Web Design

Determining which WCMS is apt for the content development projects and understanding how much technical know-how one will need to work on that software is the most important thing. With years of experience in web designing and fluency in HTML and CSS, a solution that gives total control over the code of the website would be an apt solution. Platforms like ExpressionEngine or Drupal would fit these requirements. For some flexibility in the solution, Wordpress would be the right choice to fill the needs. No technical knowledge is required to change the themes; one can easily get started with the platform. If one wants to customize a site, Wordpress even gives that liberty.

There are only a few examples of different WCMS platforms and the technical knowledge that is required of it to utilize the platform effectively. Whether one goes with any of these platforms or chooses any other solution that is best for the needs, understanding how much or how little technical knowledge is required will be an important factor in which choice makes the most sense.

Review Available Features

Another valuable aspect of WCMS platforms is the key features that many of these solutions come with “out of the box” ideas and can be added through the addition of a plug-in or add-on. For any specific features that are important for the website, one will have to ensure that, the chosen WCMS includes those features.

For example, if a site needs E-commerce capabilities; one will have to find a solution that allows for this.  If the feature is too critical for the website, one may even begin searching for the apt platforms that are centered on that specific need or feature.

Eliminate Departmental Silos

Creating a more holistic view for audiences and consumers and incorporating data from multiple departments is part of the power of these WCM platforms. A good way of giving departmental silos greater responsibility for data quality is to consider ways in which the foundational platform can consolidate the data and centralize information. According to Osterfield, having a central repository for back-end systems related to its product lines contributes to having better data, being more efficient, and departments having more ownership of that data.

Understand which Technologies are Foundational to Digital Customer

Some platform can provide a bulk of functionality that one needs for Web Content Management or e-commerce. That’s why determining which WCM platform can serve as the foundation of the site on which other capabilities are built is very important. One must ensure that the platform provides at least 80 percent of the critical functionality and does not require any add-ons.

Compare Pricing

There is a wide variety of pricing options for WCMS platforms available. Some platforms are free while others require a purchase. Other software solutions require a subscription to use, but also come with other benefits, like website hosting or automatic upgrades of the software. It is pertinent to say that pricing should not be the only actor to be considered, but it still plays a role into whatever decision one takes. Additionally, if one is reviewing WCMS options as a part of the site that is being created for the client, the price one pays for the WCMS also impacts how much the website costs for the clients.

Get Feedback

Just like one asks for references on an employee before hiring, it makes sense to speak to other web professionals to take advice on the various features and their experiences with those features. Looking for professionals who have the same skills as you would prove to be fruitful in understanding how they use the solution and what pitfalls can be avoided. This information will certainly help one in figuring out what to expect if one decides to go forward with the particular WCMS.

When evaluating WCM platforms, there may be some additional factors that may influence this eventful decision. Every project is different, but the factors covered above should help one quickly narrow down the seemingly daunting number of choices to a select group of solutions that fits the specific needs.