5 Features to Look for in a Great CMS

Posted / 22 October, 2013

Author / Enginess

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Your customers expect reliability and consistency – and that's where a content management system (CMS) can help. Here are five features every good CMS should include.

There's no getting around it – we're now living in a content-driven world.

That means if you want to connect with your customers, you have to regularly deliver fresh information. Your blog and website are a key part of your content delivery efforts.

Basically, a blog and site that you control is your best marketing tool. But managing a business site is different from running a hobby blog. Your customers expect reliability and consistency – and that's where a content management system (CMS) can help.

Here are five features every good CMS should include.


1. Easy Administration

The admin dashboard is the hear of any CMS and it should make it easy to manage all the tasks involved in content production. That means:

  • managing roles for editors, contributors and others.
  • including notifications to files.
  • administering multiple sites if necessary.
  • adding functionality through modules and plugins.
  • keeping track of scheduled content and related assets.

Let's face it, it's far easier to handle the content workflow within a single piece of software that gives everyone the appropriate access for their level of responsibility. That streamlines content production and reduces complexity.

2. Great Publishing Tools

Just as the content you publish is the backbone of your interaction with your key customers and audience, publishing tools are the core of any CMS. A good CMS will adapt to the type of content you want to publish – everything from short news items to longer articles – and integrate this into an overall publication workflow. It will also handle SEO, tag content, add images and multimedia and more from within the publishing interface and be easy to understand, even for novice users.

When working with content, it's also essential to be able to move articles around when needed. For example, you may need to unpublish a seasonal promotion, while keeping the content handy to be refreshed the following year. Any move should automatically update links to create a seamless experience for website users.

3. Built-In SEO Tools

Google is always tweaking its search algorithms, most recently with the Hummingbird semantic search update. However, technical search engine optimization isn't going away. A great CMS will have built in SEO tools to help you automatically create URLs that work for both readers and search engines. Your CMS will also help you add keywords and tags, format headings properly, make sure you have alt tags for images and comply with accessibility guidelines and avoid duplicate content. It should also help your search engine results look better by supporting microdata and structured data.

4. Social Media Integration

Social media sites remain hugely popular. That's why any modern CMS must take account of social tools. This means making it easy to add social media sharing buttons for the most important sites to any page or piece of content to encourage people to share your content with their audiences. Think about whether your CMS automatically appends your Twitter username to any piece of shared content and if it uses Open Graph tags to optimize the display of shared content on social sights. These are two more important social features for a CMS.

5. Analytics

Tracking what's happening with your content in terms of views, shares and navigating your site is an essential part of carrying out your content strategy. Your CMS should integrate with the most popular analytics tools, especially Google Analytics, so that you can track information right from the dashboard. Every site administrator needs to know where the key audience is based, what technology they are using, how they are interacting with content and which pieces of content are most popular, in order to further refine the content strategy. Any good CMS should be able to enable this.

If your CMS includes these five features, then you're on the right track for a great content management experience. And if your CMS also allows you to cater for your mobile visitors, then your site is sure to be a winner with that growing segment of your key audience.

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