Now that you understand what a content management system is, what are the benefits of having one built or installed for your site? Are they really worth all the money that people are spending on them? According to Gartner Dataquest, $10.5 billion will be spent in 2003 on content management systems. Is that just a waste of money, or are there compelling reasons for making an investment in your business?
In no particular order, here are 10 reasons you might want to consider.
YOU are in control. No one knows your business better than you do, and no one knows what you want to say, or how you want things to look, more than you. A CMS gives you direct control over the content on your web site.
Because content is like produce — it’s much better when it’s fresh. Sites that change and update their content on a regular basis not only give your business the appearance of being alive and more active, but search engines give higher emphasis on new and fresh content.
It’s easier to hit the broad side of a barn. Once you have a content management system set up, you’re much more likely to add more content to your site because it’s now so much easier. The result is a much more robust site with more pages than you had before. Each of these new pages is likely to be cataloged by the search engines resulting in higher rankings as well as more opportunities to draw more traffic to your site.
Increased ways to communicate. Whether you’re a retailer with an on-line catalog, a small business looking to grow, a writer looking for exposure, or any business or organization seeking to maximize chances for success, a CMS opens up new ways to communicate with your audience. Especially as e-mail systems become more and more clogged with useless junk mail, your customers will increasingly come to rely on the quality of information they can get directly from your web site without the worry of viruses, etc.
Security. Many content management systems store your information in a database system where access control mechanisms can more easily restrict access to your content. Done correctly, the information is only accessible via the CMS thereby providing better protection for your site’s content from many common and standard web site attacks.
Collaboration. A content management systems can also incorporate a work flow engine and facilitate the collaborative efforts of your staff in creating, editing, and approving content before it gets published.
You can tune a piano, but you can’t tune a fish. A CMS allows you to make changes to your site in real time if you wish, and these changes will be reflected in your search engine rankings. You can more easily stay on top of your success and make quick adjustments when needed to continually improve your site’s effectiveness.
Better customer service. Your CMS might have a public component that allows your customers to contact you directly through your web site as opposed to e-mail. This provides an opportunity to integrate customer requests directly into you customer service systems where they can be handled more quickly and bypass e-mail systems.
It’s a win-win solution … and you win both times. Unlike when you use a solution like Front Page®, you still benefit from having a professional designer produce the look and feel of your site and it’s overall presentation. At the same time, you reserve the role of producing the content for yourself (or any other business expert you choose). This allows you to use the proper expertise for each of the aspects of successful web site development.
Bottom line: you save money. Plain and simple, in the long run you’ll save money versus paying someone, whether they’re a member of your staff or an outside consultant or service, to make all your changes and updates by hand. Chances are, this other person will use a CMS anyway, just to make their own lives easier, but still charge you the cost of doing it manually. Whether you buy a system, have one built, or subscribe to a CMS service, they’re a more cost-effective solution versus the alternative.