Do You Really Need a Content Management System?

It’s a question many website design agencies will be asked: “Is a content management system really necessary for our company?” The answer isn’t always a simple yes or no. It requires a lot of thought, consideration and planning to see if a CMS really is going to be valuable for a business.

It all depends on website usage, how much time your organisation will be spending updating content and just how much flexibility you want to give your website agency with the design of your site. A content management system has advantages and disadvantages, just like any other software you may utilise within your company.

The main benefits of a trusty CMS is that you can use it whenever you like – you can manage your content. With a website that isn't built using a CMS you may end up paying more than necessary to have a professional update your website for you. Your CMS can be reused to post relevant content without having to create new templates each time, saving time and money.

On the other hand, if you don't need to constantly refresh your content, then it might be a waste of money and one that reduces the creativity you can have with your site. Paying a web design agency to just upload bits of content as and when required may be far more cost-effective, and it allows you to play around with different designs right from the start.

Before you decide whether a CMS is for you, consider these points.

Do You Have the Budget to Pay for This Upfront?

Implementing a CMS into your website is going to require a considerable investment, both financially and time-wise. Everything needs to be carefully integrated, and any data that can be edited will add more time to the project.

You also need to consider the fact that everyone on your team can access this system, which means more potential hiccups and broken designs when someone ignores the rules set in place. Allowing for things like this adds even more time to the project, as your website agency will have to consider which content may go in there – not just what has been designed to go in there to start with.

However, a CMS system could be exactly what you need to operate your business effectively. Being able to upload fresh news, recent images and new blog posts are all great for SEO, and will therefore help you in the ranking results over time. 

How Often Will You Update Your Content?

If you’re heavily involved in posting videos, press releases and blog posts to your site, you’re going to want a system that makes adding these as easy as possible. However, if this is all you’re doing, it may not require a CMS system that has all the added extras – just something that allows you to add content as and when you wish.

If you don’t need a site that constantly requires updated content, leaving the minor edits and changes to your developer may be far more beneficial. On the other hand, if you do want to update page titles, meta descriptions and so on, a CMS will help you do this without the need for a developer who’s knee-deep in code all the time.

How Much Control Do You Want Over Your Website?

One of the downsides of a content management system is how finite a structure it creates. It limits your options, as it needs to be able to adapt to differing amounts of copy which will require a certain structure – and one that cannot be deviated from.

However, if you have a fixed piece of content that you want on your website from the get-go, you can then surround this with engaging elements and visually attractive features. This helps you to break away from a standardised page and gives you better design ability.

If you incorporate a CMS, everything will look good and structured until you want to add something a little bit more quirky. Then time and effort will be needed to try to redesign the structure of the website without affecting how content is added through the CMS.

When you install a CMS system at your organisation, the idea is that this reduces the amount of time needed to develop your website. When you want to start changing this and adding custom work, it’s going against the whole reason why you installed a CMS to start with.

Can You Afford the Ongoing Maintenance?

While an integrated content management system reduces the time and money spent designing and implementing content, it can mean additional costs, particularly when you want to change something. Your entire website is now being run by a system, so you need to run everything in line with this, utilising the features and templates it offers to meet your everyday needs.

If you want to start adding to the existing toolkit or bringing new features to your site, you’re going to need to enlist the help of a developer again, once again adding to the costs.

If you have a CMS system installed, the online maintenance is up to you. You have the freedom to upload content – why not dedicate a specific member of your team to take on the role of uploading? 

Choose Something That Suits Your Business Model

In short, you’re going to need to evaluate each aspect of your business to see if a content management system is right for you.

A CMS is ideal if you’re regularly posting content, have a large editorial team, need to use multiple languages, need to use localisation on your site (such as web design Hampshire, for example) or want to have a search feature.

If you want to continue to redesign your site, you don’t need to post regular content, you want your content to be highly customised and you have small amounts of content on your website, let your design agency do things behind the scenes for you.

Alternatively, if you want to carry on posting a few blog posts but still want flexibility with your website design, opt for a hybrid that gives you the best of both worlds. As you can see, opting for one or the other isn’t a straightforward yes or no – you need to fully understand what implications a CMS has, and you will need to weigh up the pros and cons with the people doing the work for you.

A CMS means flexibility and time-saving project management when updating your website regularly. 

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