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The rainy day that never arrives

By IMA on Feb 05, 2016

Being prepared is all well and good, but could choosing Content Management System features ‘just in case’ leave you with an expensive unused system?

There are many content management systems (CMSs) out there. Some are simple with straightforward features and some are all-singing, all-dancing workflow and marketing platforms. However, the biggest and flashiest isn’t always the best fit.

Here are some of the features that could tempt you into parting with lots of cash – but never actually using them – or finding that they don’t meet your needs:

Online marketing platforms

A number of CMSs boast digital marketing platforms. These platforms allow you to analyse usage of each page, block and button. If you have a large marketing department, or plenty of time on your hands, you can delve into this data and improve customer experience and user journeys. Yet, often many of these features are left unused as companies are left with data overload. Some of these tools are also integrated page-by-page, which is great for targeted improvements, but they don’t necessarily allow you to pull out data for your whole website.

Many of the features are also available on Google Analytics, which is much more cost-effective, easy to set up and platform neutral. Granted it is not as convenient to log into a completely different system to view your analytics. You would also have to make sure that they have been set up in a clear manner and that you know which page relates to which line in Analytics.

There is also a third half way house option to consider where Google Analytics is integrated into your CMS, which can be less expensive than the full blown digital marketing platforms and mean that you aren’t doubling up with the marketing platform’s analytics and the data from Google. This can happen if you used analytics on a legacy web platform and need to directly compare then and now.


Workflows within a CMS can be absolutely brilliant on a large website. They can revolutionise the way that your web content is published allowing people who aren’t technical – or in the marketing department – to produce content themselves. This shares the content-producing and publishing load, with checking and approval in place to maintain quality.

But on a smaller website, with less devolved content-adding, they can become cumbersome and get in the way of fast updates of content. And if someone is in the marketing department and has the authority to publish in hard copy why make them wait for approval on the web?

The last thing you want is to pay the price of a CMS with workflow to either end up wasting valuable man hours jumping through hoops that are unneeded or end up becoming so frustrated with the workflow that you end up handing approval rights at anyone’s behest.

Large e-commerce CMSs

Large e-commerce-focused CMSs can push shopping experiences to the next level. If you are selling a large number of products there is nothing better than having proper product filtering, optimised product pages and honed account features.

However, when considering an e-commerce specialised CMS you need to think about what the focus of your website is. Are sales your main raison d’être or are you a company with another purpose that just so happens to sell a small amount of products?

For example, you could be a professional body that primarily serves a particular profession but sells a small number of publications. In this kind of instance, you could be limiting your other content needs by choosing a system that is designed for retail and not for other richer types of content. And it is worth bearing in mind that an ordinary CMS can handle listings, filtering and login areas to allow you to sell a smaller amount of products. And your payment system will be integrated anyway.


Personalised web experiences are all the rage at the moment. They can allow you to provide web experiences targeted to a particular customer type, customers in a particular location or respond to what a user is doing on your website.

The only downside to personalisation is when it is left unused. You need to seriously ask yourself questions like whether you actually have different content for all the audiences you want to serve. And do you know how your audience is segmented and what content is going to work for them?

And even if you do, could this backfire so that you can’t cross-sell different services and products– as you have targeted down to a particular selection because the user has shown an interest in that type of product?

And more importantly, does your audience want a different/targeted experience? If they visit your website regularly for the same document, or purpose, could personalised content disorientate them or could it speed up that journey for them because you know who they are?

You also have to be careful how you brief in personalisation. It could be based around a user login which is easier to build, but could you miss out on delivering personalisation straight away until the person logs in? And if you brief in personalisation from the onset are you being careful not to inadvertently break the privacy of users by working out who they are (by linking a cookie/IP address to a person entering private data – if you don’t wish to collect and maintain this). A bit of thought can make sure that your audience is at the centre of the user experience rather than being subjected to the latest fad just for the sake of it

As you can see, choosing a CMS takes some thought. Yet if you choose an agency that is willing to build using more than one CMS – and recommend the best for your needs – or if you do your research and understand your business and customers you can find the perfect fit!