How to maximize the output of your CMS
Take these steps to use your chosen CMS to its fullest potential.
Written by Vegard Ottervig on
No matter what CMS you have chosen for your organization, there are certain principles common to them all when it comes to achieving the best results possible.
Most KPIs revolve around your digital experiences being found, visitors being able to solve their tasks, leads being generated, internal users being happy with their tool, and the ability of being future-proof.
Now let's see how you can maximize these kinds of desired results with your CMS.
Find out if you have the right CMS for your digital experiences:
First and foremost, have a plan, an idea, a purpose of what you're doing with your digital experiences. What are you trying to achieve, and how can you support this goal with your websites, apps, intranet, and more through the CMS?
When these fundamental questions are answered, the next step is equally crucial: how you efficiently create content to support your goals. This step can perhaps best be solved by the principle of content operations—ContentOps.
In short, this principle aligns your people, process, and technology in order to create as streamlined and scalable content production as possible.
In practice, this can mean finding the right people for different editorial roles and creating correspondent user roles in your CMS. Process wise, ContentOps and your CMS can mean discovering ways the CMS can support production of content, handling of images and other media, scheduling, workflow, and issues management. As for technology, this means integrating third-party tools like marketing automation and email with your CMS for the best follow-up and distribution of your content.
As mentioned above, adding the right people to your CMS project is crucial for reaching your goals and purpose. Whether they are content editors, copywriters, proofreaders, subject matter experts, publishers, legal experts, or senior stakeholders—your CMS shouldn't stand in the way for letting them contribute.
Thus, make sure your CMS has a system to handle access rights, as this will make it easier to e.g. assign copywriters to have access to write, but not publish, and editors having all permissions within their project.
Furthermore, your CMS should feature responsive and intuitive functionality, making it easy to train new users and to distribute tasks. Finally, the CMS should have a nature that lets developers build upon the solution smoothly.
Think quality over quantity when it comes to SEO strategies—reuse and republish old content that has been through a refreshment makeover, include relevant images, and link to other relevant articles within your CMS. Also, make sure that your CMS supports meta fields to fine-tune that SEO for search engines and social platforms.
Keep the clutter away from both your website and your CMS, thereby making the daily operations and more long term strategy clearer to your digital project and your mind, as well as more user friendly and accessible.
And speaking of accessibility, your CMS should be easy to use for everyone, with features like good contrast for readability, large icons and texts, keyboard navigation, no mandatory markup, flexible front-ends, and integrations.
See also: Enonic is headless »
In order to get the max out of your CMS, you should not only focus on great content operations, user collaboration, and SEO, but also being future-proof by adhering to the present and future state of omnichannel.
This concept denotes the fragmented development of digital experiences. There's no longer just a web browser on a desktop computer to have in mind when building a great customer journey. Instead, we have multiple form factors, screen sizes, channels, platforms, and media—in the guise of e.g. smartphones, wearables, IoT, beacons, digital signage, augmented reality, and so on.
Being where your customers and audiences are and at the right time is essential to keep growing and maintaining your business, so if a CMS is supposed to push its and your organization's potential, it better be able to utilize omnichannel.
A CMS can do this by supporting a headless API, which can reuse your content across any required channel. For example if you have, not only websites, but also applications served to your customers and employees.
A CMS nearing its maximal potential also features great navigation, with e.g. a neat tree structure instantly highlighting your content hierarchy. A powerful, fast, and faceted search should also be a given, as well as the ability to easily duplicate content structures and see dependencies.
Integrated image handling, like cropping and assigning a focal point, further helps you deliver a friction-free experience, and the same can be said of familiar keyboard shortcuts, responsive design, and efficient collaboration through an intuitive issues management system.
Most of us still want to build websites, so a great CMS should also sport a landing page builder, but complete with macros to embed extra functionality like social media or videos, and third-party integrations to expand your features even more.
If you follow these general advices, you will have come a long way in successfully managing and using your CMS to its fullest potential. Remember to look for a CMS that are both flexible and robust—flexible in serving your concrete, specific needs and robust in delivering a stable and future-proof operations environment.
First published 26 September 2018, updated 2 June 2021.
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