By: Rob Reilley, Senior Developer
As companies grow, so should their CMS. Some CMS software can handle smaller sites, but as your organization's site grows, your CMS will need to be able to keep up. CMS software, such as Sitecore, can be used to design a variety of sizes of sites and has the capacity to grow with your organization. The initial investment will be worth it in the long run and won't cause you to incur future costs if you want to expand.
Some things to keep in mind for customization:
So you chose a CMS, but who is going to implement it? You may have some developers on hand or have a company in mind that says that they can do it. There are companies though that specialize in specific CMS implementations. Paragon Consulting, for example, is one such company that happens to be an expert in Sitecore implementations. Paragon Consulting can provide the guidance, knowledge and staff to make sure your CMS project is an overwhelming success. Having an experienced CMS consulting company in your corner will help alleviate common issues, anticipate requirements and provide a clear vision for your website.
Things to consider when finding a CMS consulting firm:
One of the biggest features of a CMS is the actual ease of use. Especially when it comes to content editing. A CMS site should be setup so that a variety of users with different skill levels can update the content. One of the tools that should be made available for a user is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Sitecore, for instance, has such a tool ands it's called the Experience Editor. It lets users with little technical knowledge edit website content by using a WYSIWYG editor. For the more advanced users, a CMS should have an easy to use content editing mechanism. It should have things grouped in such a way that you can easily get to and update content items. Sitecore has this content editing feature built-in as well. Going back to Experienced Professionals, this is something that consultants who have had previous experience with architecting CMS sites can make user friendly.
As sites grow and multiple departments are responsible for approving content on a site, a workflow system is critical to make sure the right content is approved and published. Custom security roles used with workflow steps should be created to allow certain users to edit, approve, reject and publish various content items. For instance, let's say you have a marketing department who wants to come up with a new marketing ad to put on the site. After they submit their draft, someone from sales and then legal could approve it. After that, it can be published. If it is rejected by sales and/or legal, the marketing department will then have an opportunity to make changes and resubmit it for approval. This assures that content that is not allowed on the site never gets published. An experienced professional CMS consulting firm can help you set this up, as well as architect the workflow steps and custom security rules.
To go along with Workflow and Security is content versioning. If you ever need to roll back to a previous version of a content item, the CMS software should allow you to do that seamlessly. Sitecore has this feature built-in as well.
Any CMS software worthy of consideration should allow multiple site support. Currently, you may not have a need for multiple sites, but as your business grows, you more than likely will. Having the ability to have a main site, but also able to create a mini-site to target a specific audience is very useful. Sitecore, for instance, will allow you to have multiple sites and makes it easy for you to edit/publish the content separately for each one.
All these features are important, but you should consider cost, licensing and training as well. Most of all consider CMS software backed by an organization that will be around for the long haul.