Content management system: 6 features to look for in a CMS

Content Management System: 6 must-haves for selecting the right CMS

In today’s competitive digital ecosystem, most businesses either operate digitally or have embarked some form of digital transformation. Central to this transformation is the adoption of a robust content management system to efficiently create, manage, and deliver digital content, supporting KPIs of enhanced digital presence and customer engagement. 

A content management system (CMS) is not just how an enterprise manages their digital content, it is the backbone of the website, affecting everything from user experience to SEO performance. With several content management systems available in the market, ranging from open-source platforms to proprietary solutions, finding the right CMS can be overwhelming. 

For marketing or IT leaders still evaluating a CMS for their business, this guide highlights the six must-have critical capabilities of a CMS to assist in making an informed decision.

What is a content management system (CMS)?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that enables creators, designers, and administrators to build, author, publish, manage, and modify digital content on the website. Its user-friendly interface simplifies the process of building and maintaining websites, allowing non-technical users to handle content updates, page creation, and other administrative tasks.

Key content management system features include:

  • A centralized dashboard to gain a complete view of all your projects
  • What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor
  • Editable templates and core components, such as headers and footers, with adjustable styling
  • Responsive layout
  • Low-code setup
  • Example code to show what’s possible in the platform
  • Open source
  • Cloud service
  • Omnichannel content delivery
  • Visual media conversion

How to choose a CMS: The six capabilities to look for in a content management system

#1: Better site performance to boost conversions

Web performance is a critical factor that influences SEO rankings, page views, site engagement, and conversion rates. Even small delays in page load times can have significant negative impacts. 

47% of users won’t wait longer than two seconds for a website to load, leading to billions in lost sales annually for brands
Improving load times by just 0.1 seconds can boost conversion rates by 8-10%

Key capabilities in a CMS to deliver superior site performance

To ensure superior site performance, your CMS must be designed to optimize for fast load times and responsiveness. This involves leveraging an Edge architecture, which facilitates data processing at the outermost edges of the network, closest to where the user experiences the content. This setup contributes to maintaining healthy Core Web Vitals and achieving high Google Lighthouse scores, both of which are essential for maximizing site performance and boosting conversions.

A CMS with built-in performance optimization features ensures that your digital properties provide a fast and responsive experience, keeping users engaged and reducing bounce rates. 

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
Fast website: Essential for lower bounce rates and improved SEO rankings, ensuring a positive user experience.Phased rendering: Ensures that the most critical parts of each page load first, optimizing user experience and reducing bounce rates.
Minimal delays: Maintains rapid content loading, even during updates to design or code, to prevent user frustration and abandonment.Persistent caching: Speeds up access to frequently used elements by storing them locally, minimizing delays even with design or code updates.
Real-time insights: Provides continuous monitoring to verify pages are loading correctly, allowing for immediate action on performance issues.Real-user monitoring (RUM): Tracks page load times and user interactions in real-time, providing insights into performance issues and enabling proactive optimization.

#2: Make content creation fast and scalable

Efficient content creation lies at the heart of every successful digital strategy. A robust CMS enables seamless content creation, editing, and publishing, ensuring agility and scalability in marketing efforts. This also helps non-technical marketers and team members to easily manage content and pages across multiple locations. 

Key capabilities in a CMS to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time and across the right channel 

An optimal CMS must come with easy-to-use authoring to assist in the quick creation, editing, and publishing of the content. Also, it must allow seamless content scalability across teams, channels, and regions.

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
The power to create, edit, publish, and manage web content with relevant toolsCreate and edit web content using familiar tools like Microsoft Word and Google Docs with document-based authoring
Non-technical users to create web content without any developer helpUse drag-and-drop templates and a visual editor to build and edit web content, with live previews to see changes in real-time
A centralized way to manage all regional and language-specific sites Manage region-specific mobile and web properties from a single platform
The ability to translate content to different languages for different regions to deliver localized experiences in a few clicksAutomatically translate text and image metadata into different languages integrated within the CMS

How to select the right Content Management System

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#3: Quick experimentation optimization process

An agile content management system empowers non-technical content creators to build and run experiments for content optimization without requiring extensive team or cross-department collaboration or dependence on third-party systems. 

A/B testing is an important activity for eCommerce sites and those that invest in it see a 50% increase in revenue per unique visitor

Key capabilities in a CMS to support content experimentation optimization

A/B testing for specific components on a webpage or the entire page provides performance insights, which when further leveraged boosts conversions, engagement, and maximizes return on investment on content efforts. 

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
The ability to test and optimize specific parts or the entire web page without requiring specialized supportBuilt-in A/B testing feature that is easy to set up and use
The ability to identify best performing content experiences to maximize ROIFeatures that allow full-page experimentation and testing of functionalities, design, content against attributes like user location, device type, new/returning visitors, unique interactions
A detailed analysis of underperforming and successful content campaigns to refine future strategies and optimize content performanceReal-time user monitoring and analytics that provide both page and component-level insights, easy for teams to access and further optimize

#4: Seamless content delivery and management across all channels

An enterprise content management system must support omnichannel content delivery. They must empower marketing teams to easily create, manage, and distribute content seamlessly across all channels and touchpoints. The best content management system should also ensure that the content is delivered consistently without demanding any extensive IT support. 

The benefits of an omnichannel content management system are immense, the most important being scalability, empowering enterprises to scale their content across regions, languages, and locations. Also, omnichannel content delivery engages your audience in a cohesive and personalized experience across all channels, catered towards their needs and interests. 

89% of companies that focus on omnichannel content delivery retain 89% of their customers
On the other hand, companies without an omnichannel strategy retain only 33% of their customers.

Key capabilities in a CMS to support omnichannel content delivery

With cross-channel content strategy playing a pivotal role in customer retention and experience management, the right content management system must include reusable content components, responsive design tools, consistent design system, and easy access to assets. This empowers creators, authors, and distributors in building connected experiences once and distributing it across all digital channels. 

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
The ability to optimize and publish content on any channel with repeating tasksEditable drag-and-drop components in a WYSIWYG interface, with live preview
The ability to ensure compliance across all content formats and touchpoints Pre-built components such as text, images, grid columns to easily create and manage brand guidelines and template
Fast ways of creating and publishing content across channels without having to create from scratch A complete library of assets and templates available globally
The tools to optimize and reuse content to save time while accelerating content deliveryThe availability of reusable components that can be added to multiple pages. When changes are made in the master component, they are automatically updated to all referencing pages

#5: Flexible content delivery across traditional, hybrid, or headless models

When it comes to headless, legacy or hybrid content delivery, the best enterprise CMS platforms should stay flexible and provide a seamless platform for publishing content to any front-end. Legacy content management systems often result in isolated content repositories for each channel. They also demand manual content creation for every channel, slowing content delivery, hampering team productivity, and delivering inconsistent content experiences. 

A hybrid approach to content delivery serves a two-faceted purpose. First, it provides developers with a flexible system to focus on innovation. Second, it results in an intuitive interface for marketers to manage, optimize, and scale content delivery across channels. This further results in cross-channel and consistent content delivery across all touchpoints. 

59% of marketers believe that the lack of content reusability in a CMS slows them down. 
79% of people rate an organization’s digital maturity with whether or not they employ a hybrid CMS.

Key capabilities in a CMS to flexible and hybrid content delivery

One of the foremost content management requirements is its ability to cater to headlines, traditional or hybrid content delivery approaches. It should support fast cross-channel content publishing and management. A robust content management system must allow teams to easily publish content across all front-ends - website, SPAs, mobile apps, etc. 

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
The ability to draft and preview content across all frontends in real-timeReal-time content editing and preview for all frontend frameworks
The tools to reuse and publish content quick across all digital touchpointsCreate once, publish anywhere features to support seamless content delivery
Seamless integration with internal and external apps without any infrastructure overheadsPre-configured API endpoints, easy to customize and scale

#6: Develop and scale web and app experiences faster

An agile content management system must allow the development of web and app content experiences without sacrificing on performance. It must provide an optimized starting point and be compatible with relevant internal frameworks. An outdated CMS makes it challenging and time-consuming for developers to launch new web functionalities, sites, or pages. A scalable CMS streamlines this process, empowering both developers and marketers to build, manage, and deliver new content-led experiences faster into the market. 

54% of marketers and developers state the lack of required skills and specialists as one of the top three pain points in launching new content experiences..

Key capabilities in a CMS to allow faster web and app experiences

An enterprise content management system must allow content authoring, design, publishing, and coding to take place parallely, unlike the traditional linear development process that occurs sequentially. This allows both developers and marketers to work together towards launching new web and app experiences at speed. 

Team NeedsKey CMS Capabilities 
Faster content development and launch cycles with fewer dependencies.A flexible development approach allows content, development, and design to work simultaneously without dependencies on each other
The ability for cross-department teams to validate code changes and production content in parallel during the development processAutomatically generated code previews enable developers to view environments for each source code branch
Tools to edit and manage SPAs (single-page applications) without any extensive codingA drag-and-drop layout editor with live preview features empowers marketers to make changes independently

Deliver content experiences faster with Adobe Experience Manager

The best content management system for an organization is the one that allows both developers and marketers to together work towards creating high-performing and scalable content for all touchpoints. 

Adobe Experience Manager is a trusted CMS that achieves this goal. It allows marketers to quickly build, author, and deliver content across devices and channels, maintaining pace with current trends and market dynamics. Know more on how Adobe Experience Managers helps dramatically improve web performance here. 

As a leading Digital Transformation Company and Adobe Solution Partner, Ranosys has been assisting several enterprises across verticals in improving their digital content delivery with successful Adobe Experience Manager consulting, implementation training, integration, critical support, and managed services. Talk to our AEM experts to bottom line how this industry-leading CMS can accomplish your goals for fast content delivery, scalability, and reusability. 

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