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Written by Oscar

The CMS Conundrum

When you embark on a new web design and build project it’s easy to get swept along in the process and fixate on the final product that will showcase your content to world. However, choosing the right CMS (content management system) is an important initial step in the build to ensure you have an effective and efficient product in the end.

Different types of CMS

The right choice of CMS for you will depend on your business, content, and budget. The good news is there is something out there for everyone. From simple no-code solutions which create templated websites for one-person-band-businesses through to complex infrastructures to house meaty multi-site digital entities.

The importance of a good CMS

Not only is your CMS the foundation on which your site is built but it is also how content editors and creators will interact with the back end. By choosing a CMS that is easy to use, your editors are more likely to engage with it and will have more flexibility and functionality to produce engaging content when the site is up and running.

"A solid CMS is critical for businesses with content heavy sites."

A good CMS will allow you to curate content effectively which will in turn increase efficiencies in the long run when using various components, plug-ins, templates, and media across the site.

Matching the weight of your site with the right CMS

A solid CMS is even more critical for businesses with content heavy sites. Websites that require lengthy content to serve multiple and varied audiences can quickly become unwieldly and for both the teams updating them and end users.

If you have a complex site structure, we always advise choosing a CMS which will allow you to create relationships between content because this will reduce content duplication throughout your website. We also recommend this approach for large service-based businesses that find it tricky to decide whether to lead with their sector or service experience.

Implementing good content relationships on the CMS enables you to present your capabilities and sector experience to different audience groups, supported by a strong SEO strategy that funnels users towards the content most relevant to them.

We achieved this for Morgan Lovell who had ten years of rich web content that needed to be decluttered when we redesigned their site. Thanks to implementing a flexible CMS along with multiple content templates to house their case studies, videos, checklists, opinion pieces, news and service pages we were able to retain the high-ranking content and present it in a more streamlined, user friendly way.

Reflecting your business in your CMS

Corporate clients that centrally manage a group of websites for standalone brands, subsidiaries, or divisions with unique identities, must ensure that their CMS can be built to mirror their organisational structure and adapt well to complexities. A robust CMS will allow sharing of templates and functionalities while preserving each brand or subsidiary’s own unique look and feel.

"A robust CMS will allow content, functionality, and form to be managed in one place, with each brand or subsidiary maintaining its own unique look and feel."

We did just this for U+I when we developed a re-usable platform allowing them to consult with prospective residents, canvas opinion, communicate with government, councils, funders, and local people. You can see how the same CMS has been utilised across multiple developments at Mayfield Manchester and Caxton Works.

Privacy and security for complex multi-site web entities is also paramount. Multi-site managers need a CMS that will allow them to restrict user access and define authorisation levels to reduce the risk of content loss.

A need for digital agility

Your CMS will, in part, dictate your site’s performance, speed and security therefore take time to choose the best solution for your business and get it set up for success.

Onboard your content editors with thorough training on the functionality of the CMS, and establish a content creation process. Guide them to create social and SEO information along with the body of their content. Your CMS should ensure they can seamlessly add this to aide sharing your pages across multiple platforms for maximum engagement and amplification.

Think about the practicalities of editing your site in the real-world. If it is likely that editors will need to update on the hoof, choose a CMS that is responsive to mobile and tablets so edits can be made on the go.

For the LBMA we created a single CMS implementation that allowed the editorial team to manage news, events, publications, membership content and searchable databases across five separate websites. This ensured an unprecedented volume of content could be shared across sites and reduced complexity as only one platform needed to be maintained. We delivered training to empower the internal client teams to manage content creation and upload making it easy for them to quickly refresh campaigns, saving considerable external costs.

Pepper Digital’s go to CMS

We love to build sites on Craft CMS and recently became certified partners. Most of our clients have complex site structures and are content heavy. Craft CMS is user friendly for content editors but can also deftly handle dense multi-sites and intricate design challenges. It can scale as your content, site and business grows.

If you are at the start of a design and build project and are considering your approach, we would love to help you untangle your content, get in touch.