When it comes to choosing a content management system (CMS) for your company website, the stakes couldn’t be much higher. Although many of the popular content management systems share a lot of similarities in terms of functionality and design, the devil is really in the details.
You want to choose a CMS that will cater to the most important aspects of your digital strategy, and allow you to cover your bases without too much further investment. The CMS that you choose has to be the one that best suits your organizational goals.
There are a few key considerations that you should take into account as you evaluate which CMS will be the best fit your digital marketing efforts:
The importance of the different traits and features of the top CMS and marketing platforms will vary from one organization to another.
However, there are a few key traits that you should look for when evaluating the top CMS platforms for your company:
At different times, you’ll likely have a good number of people accessing and using your content management system. You want it to be easy to use and require minimal training for your staff. If the average person finds it difficult to use the basic functions within your CMS without going through a tutorial, you’re probably going to run into problems.
To get a feel for the different platforms, start by having the main stakeholders in the decision try them out to get a feel for them.
Most CMS platforms have free versions, or offer demos so you can get a feel for them before committing. Sometimes, it might be a smart idea to choose a CMS that is less of a perfect fit, but easier for your team to use.
As a business, your goal is to grow. For that reason, you shouldn’t choose your platform based only on your current needs.
If you do and find that the platform that you chose is unable to meet your needs at a later date, the cost and effort required to move to a new platform can be huge.
Plan for the future. Create realistic projections for your digital marketing and content growth, and make your decision with those projections in mind. Your CMS needs to be able to handle the volume of traffic, content, and integrations that you need to effectively market your company online.
Content management systems have become incredibly customizable.
WordPress, for instance, allows you to extend the functionality of the platform with plugins, covering almost any feature that you could conceivably dream up. Before you choose your platform, consider what kind of customizations you will absolutely need, both now and in the future. Will those custom changes be possible on your chosen platform?
As your company’s digital footprint grows, you’ll need your tech teams to be able to go in and tweak things to get the exact feature-set that you are looking for. For this reason, you may want to consider an open-source solution that can be crafted to your specifications.
Before choosing a CMS, you should have your digital strategy down pat. You want to make sure that the CMS that you choose is capable of everything that you need it to do.
Having a well-developed digital marketing plan in advance of choosing your CMS ensures that you have an outline of required features on hand.
Some of the CMS platforms on this list are built for specific types of companies, and you may find after getting set up that specific strategies are not a good fit within the platform that you chose. This could set you back months, and force your team to go through a costly migration.
With these considerations in mind let’s take a look at some of the more popular solutions for companies that are shopping for the top CMS platforms for digital marketing teams:
In this list, we’ll focus on content management systems that are specifically designed for digital marketing teams. As you look for the best CMS to bolster your digital presence, consider these platforms:
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS currently on the market. According to BuiltWith, the platform powers more than 25 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world. In fact, 5 percent of the internet as a whole is built on the WordPress platform.
There are a few reasons why WordPress has been able to become a staple in web development over the last decade. To start, the platform is 100 percent open-source.
You can alter any of the platform’s code to create a completely customized solution for your business. It’s also incredibly easy to use, and as the most popular CMS available today a higher percentage of your team should have experience working within it.
Digging into customization options, WordPress also offers a number of community-developed plugins that you can connect to WordPress to extend functionality.
Today there are more than 50,000 plugins available for the platform. While they range in quality (quite a few were developed for older versions of WordPress), many are actively maintained by the developer or offer pro versions that include support.
While there are some legitimate complaints about the WordPress platform becoming too bloated with features, the barrier to entry for the platform is low. It’s dead-simple to use, making it easy to train those without experience how to get around within the system.
The huge number of plugins make it easy to extend the functionality and find the right combination to complement your marketing strategies. However, there are a handful of WordPress alternatives that are even more turnkey as far as website builders go.
HubSpot’s Website Platform is another excellent CMS option built specifically for digital marketers and content campaigns.
The learning curve for HubSpot is slightly steeper than that of WordPress but should be fairly simple for technically-savvy teams to pick up and use. It does feature a wide range of advanced options that should probably be left to more experienced administrators.
Unlike WordPress, which is installed on your own server, HubSpot’s website platform is hosted by them. This means it is incredibly scalable, so you won’t have to worry about the number of users you need to access the backend. Their plans also allow you to scale as needed.
This, combined with the other HubSpot Products, give you access to a complete suite of digital marketing tools that can cover your entire digital operations. Their all-in-one approach makes them an excellent choice for companies with the budget.
Sitefinity is a lesser-known enterprise solution that offers a wealth of features to digital marketing teams. The platform is used to power websites for huge brands like Dannon and Gatorade.
Sitefinity is known for its excellent design and user-friendly experience. Nearly every menu system within Sitefinity uses an intuitive drag-and-drop design that makes it easy for your team to understand and use.
Sitefinity offers a complete suite of marketing tools, with in-depth features for SEO, A/B testing, eCommerce, and the ability to manage multiple brands under the same account. It includes a number of direct integrations with popular tools including Salesforce, Marketo, and Sharepoint.
Overall, Sitefinity is a bit more expensive than other solutions — but provides a professional content management system that is suitable for enterprise teams and growing mid-sized businesses. However, it isn’t perfect.
Some of the common complaints that you will hear about the platform include a lack of available templates and difficulty finding developers with Sitefinity experience. The company requires that you take a demo of the product before buying, so you can give it a try for yourself and see if it will be a good fit.
Drupal is an excellent open-source CMS system that was built with developers in mind. One of the biggest issues with the platform is that because it was built for a more technical audience, it can be a little bit intimidating for those with less web development experience. However, it does offer excellent scalability and a huge list of features that can make it the perfect choice for the right company.
Drupal currently powers about 6 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world, according to BuiltWith:
Drupal is designed to be extended and added to. This means that you if you want to custom code new features for your users, Drupal is likely going to be a better choice than the other top CMS platforms on this list.
Like WordPress, Drupal offers a number of downloadable extensions that add new features, which are referred to as “modules.” Many of these modules offer digital marketing features that may be useful to your teams.
Additionally, a thriving community has sprung up around Drupal, making it easier to find developers that have a lot of experience in the system.
While Drupal certainly isn’t the best choice for every organization, companies that are looking to build software tools and features on top of a CMS will find Drupal to be an excellent choice.
Kentico is an enterprise content management system that is currently used by companies like Starbucks, Mazda, and Gibson Guitars. They tout themselves as the only ASP.NET CMS on the market today.
Like HubSpot and Sitefinity, Kentico is designed to be a complete solution for all of your digital marketing needs. The system allows you to manage your website, content, eCommerce, and marketing campaigns directly from their platform.
Kentico is designed to be clean and easy to use. The platform also offers a number of advanced features that include message boards, user groups, eCommerce features, and deep multilingual functionality.
Although Kentico is a more advanced enterprise solution, its pricing and ease-of-use make it suitable for companies of all sizes. The platform currently powers more than 25,000 websites. One big bonus that comes with choosing Kentico is that they offer 24/7 support to clients, ensuring that you can always get help when you need it.
Choosing a content management system is a long-term choice for your business.
While there are many options available, there is likely to be a small list that offers all of the features that you will need for your digital marketing campaigns. Depending on your needs and budget, the CMS options listed in this article are a good place to start your research.
About the Author — Greg Roth is the Head of Marketing at UniTel Voice and the Managing Editor of the blog, Startup Stockpile. As a marketer and an entrepreneur, he loves to help businesses use technology to grow.