How to choose the right content management system

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) can be a frustrating experience. Which one is the best fit for your business and why?

Many people stick to what they know, which is why WordPress is now said to power over 30% of all websites. Others opt for expensive systems, such as Sitecore, that can seemingly do everything - from managing content, to updating design templates or even building out marketing and social campaigns.

WordPress and Sitecore, alongside platforms like Drupal or Umbraco, are what are often referred to as ‘traditional’ CMS solutions. These systems have multiple roles and, as a result, we believe that they become less focused on the primary CMS purpose of managing content.

At Anything, we have long been advocates of Content as a Service (CaaS) solutions. With CaaS solutions, also referred to as a ‘headless’ approach, the content is stored in an API-first, cloud-based platform that sits separate to the main web application. This allows maximum flexibility because, unlike a traditional content management system, it only stores content and does not dictate how the website looks or functions. Content editors are free to create, edit, and publish pages regardless of their technical background and without having to rely on rigid templates.

CaaS also allows businesses to take advantage of a ‘modern stack’ architecture. One of the main benefits of a ‘headless’ approach to Content Management, is the ability to hook into leading leading technologies, to utilise the functionality and benefit from them rapidly - without a huge outlay. Often, the chosen CMS platform controls many of the features available to a business and therefore, it has a direct impact on the feature roadmap. It can be very frustrating seeing something working well for a competitor but not being able to roll it out because your platform does not yet support it!

CaaS solutions take away this rigidity, their APIs provide the tools to allow developers to integrate with cutting edge technology. This includes things like Smart Search, Personalisation, Optimisation, eCommerce and Community-based services. CaaS is a platform that facilitates the development of highly engaging digital products: websites, apps, devices and everything in between.

Only pure content is stored in a CaaS platform, this means that the same content can be output to multiple places - not just a website. For example, it could be pushed out to Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, or even a mobile App further down the line. CaaS future-proofs your content, so that when a website refresh is required the same content can be edited in the same CMS and pulled into a brand new website front-end. Content editors can therefore continue to work with a system that they are familiar with and there is no need to go through the process of choosing a new platform, or the often painful process of migrating content.

Another huge benefit of CaaS solutions is that content can be input well before designs have been finalised. Rather than waiting for final approval on templates, content editors can get straight to work, meaning that project timelines can often be shortened as a result. This approach allowed our client, Quorn Foods, to add and edit content prior to sign off on the new brand and was fundamental in Anything being able to launch 22 international websites in less than four months. Read more about it here.

There are a number of CaaS solutions out there, all with something different to offer. At Anything, we begin each project with a ‘Discovery’ phase, including a workshop, to really get to the crux of the core project requirements. As we are not tied into a particular platform, we are free to provide impartial advice and to define a technical approach that meets short-term requirements with the ability to scale up and adapt to changing business objectives. Read more about our Discovery process here.

Interested in learning more about Content as a Service? Get in touch.

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