By Julienne Broad, 17 August 2011.
Invariably as a website redesign project happens, often businesses will need to consider the suitability of their existing Content Management System (CMS) to support and deliver the requirements and vision of the new website.
In a previous work-life I was an Online Marketing Manager and experienced this first-hand. The best result is using a CMS that meets your company administration and functionality requirements – ensuring an easily updated and growing website. The worst result is releasing the new website, with a new workflow of content owners and schedules, only to be faced with the challenges of a complex and inflexible CMS, deterring staff use and ultimately affecting the success of your website.
So before you start planning and building you need to ask yourselves:
Do we need to keep, upgrade or replace our CMS as part of this web redesign project?
Ask yourselves the following:
History and system support
To help you ascertain the history of the service and what support it provides your business
1. How long has the CMS been used in the business?
2. Who originally chose and recommended the CMS – the people who use the CMS or another area of your business?
3. Do you automatically receive version updates of the CMS or are these an additional cost? How easy are these to implement?
4. What kind of customer support and technical assistance does your CMS provide?
Using the system
To evaluate its ease of use for your content owners
5. How easy is it for someone new to learn the CMS?
6. Is it easy for the content owners to update and manage content through the system? Can they just enter plain text or do they have to code/enter html, etc?
7. If it is not easy to enter and manage content, is this impacting your business adoption of content updating throughout the business areas?
8. How easy it is via the CMS to: add new pages, remove pages, do a “change all” text across the site, and add new sections of the site? Can these changes be managed by Marketing/Online or do you need Technologies assistance?
9. How easy is it to tag the pages within the CMS for Search Engine Optimisation?
Functionality of CMS
To evaluate the suitability of the CMS for your business and website objectives
10. Can the CMS handle emerging technologies and media requirements? i.e. embedded multi-media windows
11. Can the CMS release updated content at a future time and date – or does it just publish live?
p; Can the CMS manage archiving previous versions of content on the site? Can this be also managed by a different system?
13. Does the CMS support specialist requirements for different delivery formats; PC, mobile, tablet?
14. Does the CMS handle transactional functionality well? If not, what are the key issues?
15. How will the CMS work with a new site redesign? Does it have the ability to manage all the functional and design requirements you have?
The answers to these questions will provide you with an initial critique of your current CMS and its suitability to the new website redesign and technical requirements.
With these questions make sure you are asking the areas of the business who use the CMS – the content owners, Online Marketing Managers and Marketing Coordinators who use the service everyday.
If there are real issues identified look at how these can be addressed. Can a CMS version upgrade assist? Do the issues relate to a loss of knowledge through staff turnover (something that training can address), or do we have the funding and resourcing available to add a new CMS implementation to the website redesign project.
The best time to consider implementation of the new CMS is during a website redesign. Discuss this with the project team and Senior Stakeholders to highlight this consideration early on in your project planning.
If you see real issues with your current CMS don’t be afraid to question and look at replacing your service. It will serve your business much better in the long run! A better CMS experience will result in a stronger online customer experience.