Pros & Cons of Content Management Systems – Chumps or Champs?
Yes, we have experience using Content Management Systems, both good and bad. As you can imagine, I am having a bit of a bad experience at the moment which has driven me to look at the pros and cons of using a CMS at all! You got it, fight or flight time!
Let’s start at the beginning, what is a content management system (CMS)? – A content management system is a system used to manage and publish web content, ie the content of a website, without having to manually edit HTML code. A CMS can be a custom built system, template sites, site builder sites, or blogs. Wikipedia is a good example of a site that uses a content management system.
- Allow for multiple users
- Ability to easily add/edit web content
- Allows for frequent updates
- Users do not need to be able to write code
- Allows user to easily learn the basics of html
- Web-based CMS can be free or very low cost
- Provides a central hub so all users can keep up to date on site changes
- Sets the stage for uniform pages, so multiple users don’t stray from the overall design
- Some provide attractive templates and imaging.
- Limited SEO functionality
- Restricted HTML editing
- Design limitations
- Not keeping up to date with new web standards & innovation
- Difficult to switch web hosts
- Website can look dated
- Website can look like a ‘CMS website’
- Price – Can be very expensive if building a custom system
Let’s focus on the limited SEO functionality, which has obviously got me up in a dither. CMS’s were originally developed as a quick and easy way to build websites. Search engine optmisation and other search engine marketing techniques like pay per click and social media were not considered.
Not even that long ago, let’s say before quality score, the idea was, the more websites/pages you could get live, the more money you’d make (spoken like a true arbitrager). So speed and ease was an overall motivator.
Today, things are a lot different.
Big Brother Google is watching you! Your site needs to have the correct business authenticators, oodles of relevant content, ability to A/B test landing pages, easy to follow navigation, the ability to keep up with search engine algorithm changes and anything else that improves the ‘user experience’. Many of these things are still not as accessible to change as they should be using a CMS.
Where does this leave the user? Am I still going to battle through, using the CMS, or am I going to desert it for greener pastures in Dreamweaver? Both, right? What we can’t do in the CMS, we’ll build ourselves because it really isn’t up to us. SEO is the name of the game and without it our websites wouldn’t be worth the time I’ve spent contemplating these pros and cons.
Anyone else Champing or Chumping their CMS?
Here are some great links if you’d like to read more:
Which of the following CMS Systems are SEO friendly? – SEM 2.0 Google Group
The Pros and Cons of Content Management - Hochman Consultants (very informative)