Content Management Systems: Different Options for Your Business

Publishing digital content on your website using a content management system (CMS) increases your search engine optimization (SEO) results, boosts brand awareness and educates your target audience. Pick a CMS that’s customizable and meets your business’ needs. This article covers what a CMS is, its benefits and top content management systems for your business.

 

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What is a CMS and how does it work?

A content management system is an online website platform small businesses use to create, organize, edit and publish their digital content. It requires little to no coding expertise, so it’s convenient for small businesses to access and navigate. Many of these site builders include drag-and-drop functions that make it easy for you to design, add content and optimize your website.

Common features of a CMS include:

  • Templates and themes: Choose from templates made for different industries including healthcare, hospitality, financial services or ecommerce. Some templates have filler content and pre-made navigation menus to easily edit to your preferences.
  • SEO: Increase your website’s likelihood of ranking high on search engines with SEO features like meta tag creation, sitemap generation, content description placeholders and other SEO-optimization suggestions.
  • Plugins and integrations: Add tools that enhance your site’s functionality or design. Integrate tools like analytic tracking, social media, SEO, payment processing, additional design elements and accounting software.
  • Content management: Organize and store content pieces, including images and videos. Easily locate, place, edit and publish content from the CMS.
  • Website builder: With no coding needed, simply drag your menu items where desired, place images on certain pages and edit a full page.
  • User dashboard: Learn how well your website’s performing by viewing analytics reports on your visitors’ site activity, including information about how they discovered your site and the search terms they used to find it. Install templates, manage plugins, add and delete pages and more with the dashboard.
  • Publishing capabilities: After building and formatting your content, the CMS lets you instantly publish or schedule it to publish at a specific date.

 

Benefits of a CMS

Having a CMS to build and publish your website increases efficiency for both you and your employees. Common benefits of a CMS include:

  • Easy to publish: For businesses that regularly publish content and follow a content calendar, a CMS’ publishing tool makes it easy to write content ahead of time and schedule it for future dates.
  • Controlled access to your site: Protect your site’s data and security by giving control to certain areas. For example, give writers control of the content editing portion without allowing access to the site’s back-end.
  • Cost-effective: Since you can create and post most of the website’s content yourself, there’s no need to hire developers or other third-parties to design and track analytics.
  • All business sizes use it: Small businesses typically use a CMS to build content and optimize their website to attract more users. They’ll continue utilizing it as their business grows and as they start selling more products on it.

Top content management systems available for small businesses

You can find a CMS well-suited for your business’ specific services, needs, size and budget. The most impressive content management systems recommended for small businesses include:

 

WordPress

The basic functions of this CMS, like theme selections and a menu-based editor, are free. There are additional costs to upgrade to hosting plans, use its advanced editing capabilities and build an online store. It includes other features like a large variety of plugins and SEO tools. SEO plugins work alongside WordPress to provide suggestions to better optimize your website to reach a wider audience. It’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, but doesn’t have a built-in drag and drop website builder.

Many customers typically view websites on their cell phones, so it’s beneficial that WordPress is mobile-friendly. Preview your site’s mobile version as you build to know how it’ll look on a mobile device. You’re also able to make changes when needed from your phone or tablet. Edit, add and delete content when needed from anywhere. Integrate it with social media network plug-ins as well to easily access accounts straight from the WordPress platform.

There are many customization themes and plugins available with WordPress that make your website more user-friendly and visually appealing. Most of these come at additional costs, which all add up over time. Additionally, since WordPress is a popular site for small businesses, it’s targeted by more cybercriminals. Consider hiring a data or software security analyst if you use WordPress.

Cost per month:

  • Personal: $4
  • Premium: $8
  • Business: $25
  • eCommerce: $45

Related: How to Hire a WordPress Developer

 

Squarespace

This CMS offers unlimited storage, analytical tracking and ecommerce portal features. Using this CMS to design is more challenging than most as its drag-and-drop function uses a grid-structured template to add items, leaving little room for extra design and customization. This grid-structure is usually beneficial for those who want an organized and clean-looking site.

You have over 100 themes and templates to choose from with customizable elements like fonts, images, and sizes. Easily add content and blogs as you assign multiple authors and editors to different pieces. Your posts can be published or scheduled when needed.

They have a strong support team and live chat system to help you find answers to any CMS questions right away. Rather than use an autosave feature, the site regularly interrupts and asks if you want to save, which might be distracting as you work.

Cost per month:

  • Personal: $12
  • Business: $18
  • Basic commerce: $26
  • Advanced commerce: $40

 

Wix

Both a CMS and website builder, this platform provides a free domain and uses drag-and-drop functionalities to easily design your webpage. It’s great for businesses that want to create a more design-heavy site. Move your content or images almost anywhere on the page to make it visually appealing to users. Because you can customize as much as needed, it typically takes longer to add content and images to pages. The design element of your site may also cause visitors to focus less on your content.

The pre-made templates are available for a variety of industries and are customizable according to your preferences. It’s challenging to switch to a new template, as much of your content has trouble moving over with it. It’s simple to change the design within the template, though. Embrace your design abilities by animating text and other elements of your website. As your business grows, add more apps to make the website user-friendly like live chat software, online booking features, a newsletter tool and more.

Cost per month:

  • Combo: $13
  • Unlimited: $17
  • Pro: $22
  • VIP: $39

 

Joomla

For small businesses that want their site optimized by developers, Joomla is an open-source CMS that gives you extensive storage and design options. Some of their website templates require coding to build them, while a few don’t require this. The templates that require coding can increase the look of your website significantly if you learn code or hire a website developer.

To increase the functionality of your website, Joomla grants you access to 800 extensions and integrations. Your employees can use their advanced coding skills to enhance your site with this CMS. A wide variety of content can be created in this CMS. Not only does it easily hold your blog content, but you can feature different articles, menus and modules. Grant access to several users at once to write and edit content.

Cost per month:

  • Personal: $99
  • Business: $199
  • Agency: $399

 

Weebly

Many sole proprietors and small businesses use Weebly’s free version to build their website. It comes with a sub-domain, 500MB of storage and an SSL certificate. Once your business becomes more established, you have the option to upgrade and connect your domain. Its user-friendly design lets you easily navigate and drag-and-drop items. It has 300 apps available to enhance the site’s functionality and design. Add new sections to your site like social media feeds, popups, FAQ sections, calendars and price charts.

It’s easy for those who don’t use code, but this site makes it challenging for those who want more design flexibility. Objects and images are more difficult to move around the page, and it lacks in customization abilities.

Cost per month:

  • Basic: Free
  • Personal: $6
  • Professional: $12
  • Performance: $26

 

Shopify

This CMS is great for small business owners selling their retail items online. It offers customer support tools like live chat to help you easily interact with customers and enhance their buying experience. It’s a great service for beginners as it provides guides and instructions to easily understand how to operate it. There’s a wide variety of themes and templates to choose from, and you can even create your own. Easily add product descriptions, blogs or other content on each page to increase traffic to your site.

Shopify offers several apps to feature on your website and in marketing material, like email marketing. Their 24-hour support team is also available to assist and guide you when needed. Shopify charges transaction fees as you add more items and apps to your website. Some blog content can be challenging to fit your desired format. As you work with the system over time, it should be easier to make your content look as visually pleasing as needed.

Cost per month:

  • Basic Shopify: $29
  • Shopify: $79
  • Advanced Shopify: $299

 

Roles that typically use a CMS

There are many employees in your company who may use your CMS occasionally, or it could be a significant portion of their job. Common roles that use a CMS include:

  • Copywriter: They may regularly use your CMS to create and publish content. Copywriters create blogs, white papers, eBooks, articles and other material featured on your website. They’ll return to the CMS regularly to add edit changes to their copy or to update older content.
  • Copy editor: When a copywriter finishes their work, it’s reviewed by a copywriter. They’ll check the content for any style, factual or grammatical errors. Copy editors typically edit content directly within the CMS and may request edits for copywriters to address.
  • Content strategist: This role entails planning out content to publish on the website. Content strategists typically decide what type of content should be written and when to publish it. They’ll often use the CMS to schedule content for publishing in accordance with their schedule.
  • Content manager: While copywriters and editors are creating content, the content manager oversees this work to ensure it’s valuable and free of errors. They often collaborate with the marketing team to ensure it’s achieving the marketing team’s goals. Content managers usually assign articles to the respective writers and edit content in the CMS.
  • Proofreader: Their job relies on checking the copywriter’s spelling, formatting, grammatical errors and word choice. They’ll often proofread the piece in the CMS, edit and leave comments for the copywriter, editor and content manager to review.
  • Web developer: They use the CMS to build and update the website to meet their supervisors’ needs. Web developer’s help format the content and images on the site to be more visually pleasing and user-friendly for visitors to navigate.
  • SEO strategist: To boost website visitors, the SEO strategist reviews the content to ensure it’s ranking high on search engines. They might use the CMS to track website analytics to see who’s viewing the content and give notes to the writers and editors to help them edit the content so more people will view it.

By finding the best CMS to support your budget, employees and the content you’re publishing, you’ll build a user-friendly and well-optimized site. Be sure to consider factors like your company’s content goals and the number of employees using the CMS at once when researching content management systems.

 

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