In this post, we flag up eight of the most important criteria you should be using to assess a CMS, and to compare different software providers.

Digital Doughnut’s CMS Vendor Selection Pack is full of practical guidance to help you find the right Web CMS platform for your business.

The pack, which is free to download, highlights 13 of the most important requirements for a modern CMS to make it fit for purpose.

#1 Overall UX

An intuitive user interface is probably the most important selection criterion for any business choosing a content management system, given the amount of time that can be wasted – and frustration caused – by platforms that are not user-friendly. Heavy internal users of the CMS should be consulted on the attributes they would like to see in a new platform, but obvious ones include ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) functionality and straightforward image editing and uploading.

#2 Digital asset management (DAM)

Digital asset management (DAM) can be regarded as a discrete and adjacent area of marketing technology, but is something that many vendors have incorporated as part of their web CMS platforms. As the name suggests, DAM functionality enables CMS users to store, organise, surface and share digital content across a variety of formats, such as images, video, audio and documents.

#3 Personalisation

The ability to serve personalised and relevant content is becoming increasingly important to companies, as consumers become less tolerant of a blanket approach that doesn’t take into account their own specific interests and behaviour. A modern CMS must be able to facilitate personalisation through the creation of user personas and the ability to segment users based on a plethora of data sources, ranging from purchase history and CRM data to referral and search keyword information.

#4 Mobile-friendliness

Website visitors are more likely to be viewing your content from a mobile device than from a desktop PC. Mobile-friendliness is a hygiene factor, with mobile-responsive websites and the ability to preview content across devices now being an important part of the wider CMS offering.

#5 Support and training

Support and training are essential if you want your chosen CMS platform to run as efficiently as possible. It is important to know that there is someone you can pick up the phone and speak to at short notice when things haven’t quite gone to plan. The more customisation of your platform, the more likely you are to need support, either directly from the vendor or from an agency partner you are working with. When booking the demo or pitch, insist that your account manager should attend it, as they will keep the salesperson from over-promising.

#6 Vendor vision

You need to be certain that your vendor is going to evolve quickly in response to fast-changing consumer behaviour and other technological innovations such as the rise of artificial intelligence. Machine learning is already being harnessed for marketing optimisation and content creation. Make sure that your chosen vendor is committed to innovation and has a roadmap that resonates with your business.

#7 Internationalisation

Whether you are a global organisation or a small business with aspirations for more cross-border business, the ability of your CMS to function across different markets and languages could be critical. Multiple-language support, translation management and time zone functionality are all important features that need to be considered.

#8 Integration

The ability to integrate with other marketing and wider business technologies is likely to be a key success factor. Find out how easily you can connect with other technologies, for example CRM, marketing automation and ecommerce platforms, and whether there are standard APIs or more complicated customisation requirements. Again, it makes sense for your CTO or CIO to be heavily involved in defining your needs.

 

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