When deployed successfully, a content management system (CMS) allows non-technical people to easily create and manage their own web content. This lends itself to publishing new or personalized content quickly and efficiently to meet the demands for dynamic and personalized digital experiences. But this only works if a firm foundation is set with an effective CMS deployment.
So, let’s talk about some things that make a successful CMS deployment.
Ultimately, success is measured by how effective your site is at its designed function. A site focused on e-commerce should have an easy-to-use shopping cart. A website that desires to act as an information hub for its clients should have content categorized and arranged in a way that is easy to navigate.
How well a website accomplishes these functions and more determine if it was a successful investment or not. A website that doesn’t accomplish its goal ultimately works against you.
Today if your site is not fast, users lose interest in less than three seconds! Users are also turned off if they have to hunt for information, so the content must be relevant and easy to get to. Huge mega menus, while really cool, cause users to get turned off by the information overload that is presented.
I have personally seen companies spend millions on their CMS and site to find out after the fact, no one knows how to make the changes management wants to see. This is a huge problem. While these sites look fantastic, they are usually one-trick ponies unless you want to pay a lot of money each time you want to change the site. Your content creators should be able to easily add, modify, delete content to make the experience for the target persona timely and relevant.
In many cases, your IT staff maintains the site availability and performance, while your marketing group maintains the content. This can produce animosity between the groups because while the IT is knowledgeable, they don’t fully understand the mission of the site in the first place. Sometimes, the site is outsourced to a provider that can maintain it for you; this could be costly.
Having proper workflows, and defined roles will ease this pressure and allow for a smooth transition from IT to Marketing.
Management oftentimes thinks that the website, while important, takes too much in the way of time and dollars. This usually means that they have not seen the return spelled out for them with metrics that outline success. It is important to define the success criterion and keep showing the investment versus the benefits for management. Because once everyone is on board, that’s when you will see the best results. These metrics can be tied to leads, then opportunities, and ultimately revenue. Other metrics can be used for marketing to see how effective their campaigns are and if they understand the personas they have defined. Finally, metrics on uptime, response time, and page switching will be valuable to the IT department so they can tune the site to see the best possible returns.
If your site is working great but requires manual steps in getting content and data from internal systems, the site will be perceived as outdated and incorrect. This is a fatal flaw in many sites. Integration with the proper data and applications so that timely updates will make the site function much better and the users happier.
Without clearly defined goals and strategies for the site, you are just wasting money. The site must have goals. Increase Market Awareness? Increase Sales? Allow users to see pertinent information?
The goals need to be defined at the management, marketing, and IT levels so that the site will deliver business benefits to your company. Each of these groups has differing ideas about how to accomplish the goals, but if everyone is on the same page achieving the targets will be much easier. Additionally, these goals and targets should be reviewed often.
Managing the expectations of management and utilizing the content capabilities of marketing while simultaneously leveraging your IT for the best technology is very difficult without complete buy-in from all parties. Strong expectations must be defined and those responsible should be held accountable. Often times I have seen disconnects that cause content to become old and stale. It leads to a message that is different from the company culture, which causes confusion to the customers. The CMS is the tool, but the machine will only work with the procedures and culture to make it all come together.
The best deployments have teams that communicate and work together to make the overall goals of the site come into focus. The site itself needs to be effective and tested for effectiveness regularly. Remember, your users want it fast and do not want to hunt around for anything, consider the attention span of a gnat. The ability to change the site quickly and without error is important, governance should be built-in as much as possible. Management buy-in is critical so they understand the pressures of keeping the site running smoothly and achieving business goals. Prepare your metrics so you can show the results of your site.
If your enterprise website is already using a content management system, but you can’t seem to get it to work for you instead of against you, our web professionals can help simplify your world through a proven, time-tested process that optimizes your software, leading to clarity and measurable improvements in team efficiencies and business growth.
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